A dejected church pastor questions his purpose in a treacherous world.
|Pastor Rick Burns sat in his office with his hands folded and was hunched over his desk staring dolefully into an abyss of sadness. Then there was knock at the door. He sighed before he answered the knock.
“Come in,” he said as he poised himself and put his palms flat on his desk. A woman in a casual purple sweater and a skirt down to her knees entered with a smile.
“Good morning Pastor Rick.”
“Hello Dorothy.” He put on a peaceful complacency so she wouldn’t see his dejection.
Dorothy put a wooden box with slit on its top and a keyhole before him. “Here are last week’s tithes and offerings. The people were very generous.”
Rick pulled a key from his desk and unlocked it revealing the money inside. Behind him was a small safe where he put the collections then locked it up. He turned around and nodded at Dorothy the deaconess.
“I’m looking forward to you sermon. Last week you were fantastic. The Lord is really using you.”
Rick spoke under his breath. “Heh, where’s the proof.”
The apathetic man stood and followed Dorothy out into the rear of the sanctuary where she stood at the side of the chair isles. Rick walked between the rows of seats full of people and stepped onto the stage and swung behind the pulpit.
“Well good morning.”
“Good morning,” replied the audience in unison.
“Today I will be talking about the temptation of greed. The Bible says ‘The love of money is the root to all evil.’ ” Likewise it is mentioned that you cannot serve God and money.”
Rick went through his typical style of giving examples out of real life and quoting scriptures that were relevant to the subject. His teaching lasted the regular thirty minute amount of time. At the end he closed in prayer. “May God richly bless us and affect our life. May we go in peace and help us to do your work. Guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus and protect us from evil. Amen.”
The People filed out slowly and stopped to converse with each other. When Pastor Rick made his way down off the pulpit and through the crowds, he overheard a group of men discussing an X-rated film. Rick did not react at all to the coarse subject and once again questioned his job in his thoughts. Why am I not surprised? I just wish I could reach people but they’re all hypocrites. Oh, Lord what is the use?”
As he walked to his blue Honda, he was shocked to find one of the church regulars in hand cuffs as he was being shoved into the back seat of a police car. Rick walked to the officer handling him. People were starting to gather and stare.
“Officer, what has this man done?” Rick asked with a flushed, pale face.”
“Pastor Rick Burns. I’m sorry to say, but this man has charges of assault and battery on his wife. It has been occurring for over six months.”
The words of the policeman took hold of Rick’s very heart was crushed with grief. He broke out in tears and sprinted to his car. When all the windows were closed he shouted in agony. “Ahhhh! This is the last straw! It’s useless; I give up!” He put his forehead on the top of the steering wheel and continued crying.
“I can’t live like this. I need a break from all this sin and grief. Is there anyone who truly cares? I have to get out of here.” With those words he drove to Sun Valley park. When he arrived, he walked to the middle of a bridge and looked down at the water. He stared deeply until a man approached the opposite side of the bridge. Rick heard the man cry clenching his scalp. Rick had never beheld such anguish and took it upon himself to walk over to him in order to comfort the distraught soul. When Rick came to his side he saw that the man had a switchblade being held over his wrist.
Rick spoke freely and straightforward to the suicidal sufferer. “Sir whatever it is, it is not worth taking your life.”
The man replied in sobs. “You… don’t know what my life is like. All the things that are happening to me and what…I’ve done.”
Rick put his fist to his lips and tilted his head downward and then spoke. “Do you know that God loves you sir?”
The man raised his voice in slight anger. “Don’t throw that at me. I’ve heard it all. If God loves me why are things so terrible in my life? Who are you?-some kind of preacher?”
“I’m a pastor.” Rick paused before going on. “I know how you feel.”
“Yeah right, you can’t possibly relate to me.”
“Do you ever feel like all life is a lie and useless? Do you look at circumstances and question why you even try and why they are so bad?”
The man wiped his eyes on his sleeve and looked at Rick with amazement. “You’ve felt that way?”
“I’ve felt that way for a while.” Rick lowered his head again. “Something traumatic just happened and I came here to be alone with my thoughts and I met you. Don’t you see?-everything has a purpose. Mine was to stop you from making a very big mistake.” He put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Give me the knife.”
The man clenched the knife then relaxed his hand and gave it to Rick then embraced him. After that, he gave the man a beaming smile. “Would you like to attend the church I pastor? It’s on Thicket Street.”
The man smiled back and gave a big nod. “I’d love to. What’s your name?”
“I’m Nick. Thank you.”
“You deserve thanks as well. Today we have both been blessed.” With those last words, they walked off and in time became close friends.