Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Leadership (03/14/05)
- TITLE: The Holy Spirit or the Police?
By Angie Almarode
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Cathy watched as Pastor Jake struggled for words. His whole countenance changed when she mentioned his responsibility to the church.
"I agree with you, but I cannot do it," Jake told her, "you don't understand."
Cathy adjusted her glasses down on her nose and glared over the rim.
"Jake, I can assure you that I understand one thing. You are our leader. You are responsible. I'll say it again, call the police."
He paced in front of his desk. Yes, he thought, I have a responsiblity to do the right thing regarding the church, but I also have a responsibility to the flock. He sat down and rubbed his eyes.
"Cathy, have you ever been in a position where two things seem like the right thing to do but you can only do one?"
She folded her glasses and laid them on the desk.
"Probably, but I don't remember. If you don't report this, you will be enabling the behavior and it will backfire on you."
Jake thought about the day he heard the news. The couple came to his office in tears.
They told a story about Ralph, a member that joined their evangelic ministry group late in the fall. He took over the group and demanded that they do several fund raisers so they could finance themselves when traveling. The group raised over two-thousand dolllars the first month. At the end of the fourth month, they had raised well over ten thousand dollars. Ralph insisted on handling the bank account.
The first attempt to use the funds created strife in the group. Ralph made them all feel guilty for asking for the money. He felt they could personally finance the local trip and save the money for another time. The group realized something was wrong, so the couple decided to ask the Pastor to check on the funds.
"Cathy, When I couldn't find a single bank in this area that had an account for the ministry, or for Ralph, I felt only sorrow for his soul. We can look at this as a thief in our midst - and that is true - but we also have a lost soul pretending to be an evangelist in this ministry group. As the leader I have to look at this another way. Do I approach him with the Holy Spirit, or the police?"
Jake would fast and pray and get direction from the Lord concerning all matters in the church. He never made a move without spending time with Jesus.
"Do what you are led to do," Cathy replied. She grabbed her sweater and quietly closed the office door.
Pastor Jake fasted and prayed the remainder of the week. On Saturday, he called Ralph and asked him to come to his office.
"Ralph, I have some ideas for your group and I would like to discuss them with you."
Pastor Jake planned to strike up a conversation and allow the Lord to lead him through the rest. He was surprised at Ralph's sudden reaction. The Holy Spirit was working hard on Ralph's heart.
"Before we discuss the group, I have something to tell you," Ralph said.
A tear rolled down his cheek. His face went into his hands and he began to sob. Pastor Jake put his arm around Ralph's shoulder.
Through sobs, Ralph told him that he had spent funds that belonged to the ministry. He explained that his father was in the hospital waiting on a kidney transplant and his insurance coverage for the long hospital stay had been terminated. The hospital demanded payment to keep him from being sent home.
"Why didn't you come to me with this in the beginning? I could have helped you, and your ministry group would have set up fund raisers for your father, you know that don't you?"
"No. Why would they do that for me? Why would you? I don't understand. People don't do things like that."
"We are the body of Christ. We are your family. I am the leader of the flock, so to speak. When one sheep is hurting or lost, I leave those that are fine and help the one. I have to tell you that I don't believe you have met the one true Leader, Jesus. I believe your experience is with the world and it's ways. It is time to get to know your Lord and His people. Would you like to pray with me now?"
Ralph gladly prayed with Pastor Jake. He devoted his life to the Lord and served Him with joy. He planned out how to pay back the funds he had taken from the group. The group forgave the ten thousand dollar debt and along with the other church members, raised enough money to keep his father in the hospital until a donor was found.
Ralph's church had an obedient leader. He approached the problem by seeking the Lord first. The answer is always found in the true Leader, Jesus Christ.
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