The name of the church doesn’t matter… let’s say it’s your church.
And let’s imagine that back in the day – just as the church was beginning – there was a miraculous pregnancy and a child was born. I don’t mean miraculous as in a virgin birth or anything, maybe a difficult pregnancy that turns out OK, perhaps a healthy child is born in spite of concern on the part of the medical professionals.
The family are consistent, devoted, passionate disciples and so regularly show up at church. They are faithful in giving and service and so their child – indeed all their children – grow up as regular, joyful, energetic parts of your church family.
Maybe you look after this child during their early days in the nursery. Or maybe you listened to them recite verses in Bible Quizzing. Maybe you were one of the drivers for a youth event or would see them as you dropped of snacks for youth events. Perhaps you saw them greeting, or ushering, or singing on the music team from time to time maybe they even had opportunity to preach the odd time on a Sunday. So, let’s say this child graduates high school, leaves home for higher education and after a year or two stories begin to trickle back about miraculous happenings that seem to follow them around.
Let’s say the trickle becomes a flood and news reports, newspapers, blogs, youTube videos all give accounts of the most amazing things that God is doing through this “home-town phenom”.
Then one day s/he returns home for a visit and (as is their custom) shows up for church on Sunday. The pastor invites them up to share and as s/he speaks the power of God becomes tangibly present.
“Amens” and “Hallelujahs” are raining down like never before, some folks are weeping quietly in their pews – everyone can sense it! Something is about to happen!
There is a pause in speaking that seems to be lasting a little longer than the norm and in a few seconds everyone has their eyes open and is staring at the young home-grown prophet.
S/he stands there quietly with head bowed for what seems to be far too long. Then leaning forward into the microphone you hear them say,
“No doubt you’re all anxious to see a sign… well… you’re not going to get one. You know why? Because you are disobedient, faithless and self centred. You think I don’t know that the only reason you’ve given me any hearing is because of the reports you’ve heard from others. You think I don’t know that you’re looking for entertainment? Wanting me to do something to impress you and prove God’s anointing on my life? Well… you’re not going to get it.
The message… the miracles are reserved for the folks out there people who haven’t been stuffing their faces at the religious feeding trough while living in faithless disobedience.”
How would you react?
We’re not much different are we?