True Church Stories - #6
I've directed the choir in most churches we have pastored, at least at one point or another. Years ago there was a man we pastored, we'll call him "Jake" for the sake of anonymity. Jake was a choir member, always faithful, and sometimes also a thorn in my side. I wasn't the only one who had this issue. I've heard the statistic that one in 13 people in our churches has a "severe" problem with authority. Jake would qualify. It wasn't just me he had a problem with. Over the time we pastored him, Jake had more jobs than you could imagine. He was always walking off the job and quitting in anger, or getting fired. Turmoil always surrounded Jake because he didn't like to be told what to do, by anybody. He would go to a new job and it would be just wonderful, and he would brag about how these people were much better than the previous "losers" he worked with and the boss was so much better than the last "tyrant" he worked for. But in a matter of months, or sometimes just a few weeks, the new people would suddenly turn into monsters and he couldn't wait to get out of that job and go somewhere else.
Each week Jake came to choir armed with several prayer requests. He always blamed the devil for what was happening in his life. He would go on and on about how the devil just wouldn't leave him alone, never thinking that perhaps God was trying to get his attention. His weekly prayer request rant would go something like this:
"I need you folks to really pray for me. The devil's on the prowl in my life in a serious way. I've been under attack like never before all week. Satan's out to get me big time. If you guys only knew what I've been going through at work, well, you just wouldn't believe it! Satan's got ahold of these people and he's using them to get to me, and I'm just miserable and I don't know how much more I can take. I need to you to rebuke the enemy and pray that Satan would be defeated in my life and all the situations he's using to come against me."
I listened to this spiel every week in choir practice (during prayer request time) for over two years. Yep, two years. And then finally I got sick of it.
At the end of his prayer request rant that week I said, "You know Jake, you and God would get along a lot better if you just quit calling him Satan!"
[The whole choir thought it was hysterical and bursted out laughing. I said out loud what all of them had been thinking for years. Probably shouldn't have said it, though. That was pretty much the beginning of the end between Jake and me, although it felt good to say it, like most pastors who say something like this I paid a price for it. Jake and his family, and his extended family left the church.]