Friday, January 24, 2014
Last Monday in the early morning hours our church was broken into and several big ticket audio/visual items were taken. My associate and I spent the morning filling out police and insurance reports…nice way to start the week! After the police left I stopped us to pray for those who had committed the robbery. It was the standard, “Lord forgive them and bless their pointed little heads” type of prayer which as a pastor I felt obligated to offer on their behalf. Later that day at staff meeting I had another opportunity to pray for the thieves and this time I reflected on Psalm 23 and prayed that these folks would not live the rest of their lives only trying to fill their own cups and make them overflow (with other people’s stuff!) and that they would find satisfaction in the blessing and provision of God. At home, later that night,… I got angry. I was angry for having had my day taken down a path I didn’t choose…a major interruption and all the bother. Plus I was upset at the hindrance caused by the loss to the various ministries that were affected. “Dang it people! How thoughtless and self-serving can you be? Don’t you care about the trouble you have caused? And don’t you feel extra guilty stealing from a church for goodness sake? Really people!!!!????” I think my praying from earlier in the day was turning into lamenting…you know, like the psalmist does when he prays things like “Wow Lord! How come the bad guys get to do this stuff? And why are they at home laughin it up while I am here filling out paperwork? Unfair!!” …Deep theology… But the major revelation of my day was realizing that all the praying and lamenting were actually about me. I was the one who needed to pray for things like forgiving the thieves and for God to bless their lives and I suppose I had some Biblical permission to cry out to God about it at the end of the day. But I prayed for them and needed to I think, because I needed God to search my own heart to see how tied to things and convenience and the like I was. Loss always makes you have to decide how empty you are already…how much you have been filling your own cup and not holding it up to the Lord for the blessings God provides. And on church…it seems to me that I want to be pastor of a church which is just as much for those thieves as for the nice people who leave our stuff where we put it. I think if Jesus had been the pastor on call Monday morning and he had known the bad guys were at church, he would have raced over to see if he could offer them anything else they might have missed! …I want our early morning visitors from this week to know that we are happy to have them come back and want to be their church and a blessing to them.