Once upon a time, St. Peter was going to play golf with God. He told his helper, "Don't call me. I mean it! Don't call me about anything!"
St. Peter's helper stood by the Pearly Gates waiting. Up came a man seeking admittance to heaven. The helper asked him, "What have you done for the poor?"
The man said, "Well, once when I was walking to my office a drunk was leaning against my building. I gave him .50 to go away."
"What else did you do for the poor?", asked the helper.
The man thought long and hard. "I gave .50 cents to a bum once", he said.
The helper thought long and hard. He picked up the heavenly cell phone and called St. Peter.
He told St. Peter the man's story and asked, "What should I do, St. Peter?"
St. Peter said, "Give the man his dollar back and tell him to go to hell!"
Tonight I got a call from a woman in another State. She sends a check to Little Church every month. She's faithful about sending us a check. I don't know how much it is because I'm Presbyterian and we don't look at who gives us what. At least, I don't.
She was enraged by the changes we plan to make at Little Church. We intend to paint the interior of the building, replace the plain glass tall windows in the sanctuary with new wood windows, get new electrical wiring and put in a small kitchen. Enraged.
It's been awhile since I've had someone speak to me as she did today. I speak civilly to adults and children and I'm used to being reponded to in kind.
She asked about the church's finances as though she had a right to know our most intimate arrangements. She didn't agree that any of our repairs and restorations were needed in our old simple wood building.
I explained to her that our repairs are paid for already. We are waiting for workers to do the work. All of the improvements we dream of at Little Church are being done with money donated to us by loving churches around the U.S. They know we've been hard hit by the Hurricane. They know we are a small church. The churches gave with an open hand.
She assumed I was an upstart, with no sense, trying to change "her" church.
(I suppose I should be thrilled that she thinks I'm an upstart!)
She doesn't attend Little Church. I've never met her after 3 plus years as pastor and four years before that as occasional supply there.
It's only because I remember every counseling skill I learned at Seminary and CPE and the fact that I control my temper that I didn't say,
"Here's your $ and go to hell!"
I just thought you should know,