I wanted to let you know why I’m not at church this Sunday. It’s not because I have other obligations, because my schedule is free. It’s not because I’m ill, because I’m healthy. I’m not going to be at church because I don’t agree with the organization that has sponsored the special speaker that will be giving a presentation at my church.
“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.” – Judges 7:2-3
I’ve heard the speech before anyway: “We are here collecting money to commission the construction of Bibles and buy Bibles to be placed in hotel rooms, hospital rooms, and given to anyone anywhere in any language who does not have access to their own Bible. We’re also asking good young men to step up and join with us as a member to be the next generation of leaders to carry on the task.”
“But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”” – Judges 7:4
But they take after their namesake very seriously, only a certain kind of person, who has a certain amount of wealth, and who meets certain obligations are permitted to join. There are are a whole lot of people – too many – that just don’t meet these conditions. Even more concerning, is that many of those that did are elders whose time will come much more quickly than replacements can be found. In times of crisis the one thing that cannot be permitted is change – how terrible it would be if anybody and everybody was a member who shared the word with everyone they met! Sort of like:
Venkman: Or you can accept the fact that this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff!
Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!
Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes!
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Venkman: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!
“The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”” – Judges 7:7
Since their organization is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission, it seems odd that they’d be far picker than even Jesus was. If the goal is the important thing, then it really wouldn’t matter who would be fulfilling it – because it would be a sort of ‘all hands on deck’ sort of thing. You’d need everybody to finish the goal. But if the goal does not matter, then one can greatly prevent the likelihood of meeting it by keeping people from helping, by disqualifying them if they don’t believe the right things, look the right way, act the right way, or say the right things. In this way, the ‘image’ will be intact, but the ‘goal’ will never be reached.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” – Matthew 28:18-20
Who cannot fulfill the Great Commission, in accordance with the tradition of this organization? The poor as they cannot afford to fulfill the obligation to support the organization financially, anyone who has not owned a business, and women who are not married to a member of the organization; those that are may fulfill the role of an auxiliary helper. Which is why it’s odd that a speaker would come to my church to ask a building full of people ineligible to support their organization financially. “No, you can’t join us, but yes, you can pay for us to continue our work.”
Perhaps they re-wrote the story?
One day, God spoke to that guy over there and said: “If only my word would reach all the world! But who can be found to share it?”
“Look Lord! Here are a thousand people, all of them ready and willing!”
“No, that’s too many. They might think that they don’t need me. Send the poor away, but ask them to donate however much they can before they leave.”
“Look Lord! here are five hundred rich people, all of them ready and willing!”
“No, that’s still too many. I’ll tell you what, send away the single women and the widows, as well as any man who does not own a business, but instruct them to pay for the materials before they go.”
“Look Lord! Here are two hundred and fifty rich businessmen and their wives, but they don’t count. Will they do?”
“Perfect! Everybody knows that if poor people who don’t know how to run or operate a business and women were to spread my word, then I would be a laughingstock. But because these respected wealthy businessmen have stepped up, everybody will pay attention to them and know that I am God. Therefore go and spread the word to all the world, and as often as possible ask for donations from those that are ineligible to join.”
So that’s why I won’t be at church. Don’t take it personally. I figure if I’m ineligible to to be a member because I’m a single woman, that makes me ineligible to support your ministry. Let me know if you ever change your minds, I’d love to use my knowledge of foreign languages to do some good around the world, if only you would let me.