Monday, April 22, 2013

Just a little courtesy

Something happened yesterday that got under my skin, so let me start with this analogy.

Our kids get candy at worship services sometimes. I get a little annoyed at times with the sticky, chocolate-y mess, but at the same time, I consider the source. I know the people. They love the children, and love to see their face light up when they get a little piece of candy.

So I push my instinct of wanting a clean kid with clean clothes aside, and let them enjoy their childhood - the grown-ups, that is.

However, I don't want people that I don't know giving candy to my kids. It may be good candy, but if I don't know you, I just don't trust you. And at the very least, I think it a reasonable courtesy to ask first. Wouldn't you agree?

Recently at a worship service, a husband and wife, passing through from one place to another, stopped in to worship with us. Pleasant, unassuming couple.

Or so it seemed.

I realized after Bible study that they had given something to one of our members who greeted them. A pamphlet. And a personal "business" card. And it was a preacher.

I am always grateful to have preachers visit our assembly. We preachers don't have as many occasions as the common person to hear good preaching, and while I was sorry for his luck on this occasion, I know how refreshing it might otherwise be. But I digress.

That afternoon, when I returned to the building for study before evening worship, I walked by the seat our visiting preacher had occupied. There sat a stack of pamphlets, all written by this individual.

At this point, I was disturbed. I grabbed them all and took them to my office.

I noticed that they all had the same title (at least, this is what I first recognized. Later, I realized that there was another subject among them).

Long story short, the materials were no in error, so far as I can tell. Fortunately. I have no idea who may have gotten them, nor did our elders.

I am disturbed by someone dropping materials on our people without permission. This, in my opinion, is a violation of sacred trust. It takes a long time to develop trust in the realm of preaching and teaching the Bible, and it must be earned.

At best, this is a nuisance. At worst, it is contrary to God's will. The feeding of the flock is the elders' responsibility (cf. Acts 20:28-32), which includes all teachers and teachings, both spoken and written, that make their way into hearts and hands of our congregation.

If you come into an assembly with which you are not familiar and drop literature without seeking permission, then you will likely be viewed with suspicion, and your material will be dismissed, regardless of the content.

This careless act could undo years of diligent and prayerful work. A visitor could pick up something that is not approved and be misled by it. A weak or newer member could be led into error unknowingly.

By the way, one of the pamphlets involved the misgivings of Bible translations. I find it ironic that someone so seemingly concerned for the intricacies of biblical language would not concern himself in the least with an act of common courtesy.

Isn't it biblical to ask the parents first before giving the kids some candy? 

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