Many seemed to think that the events on 9/11 would lead to a large influx of people into our churches. The effect lasted perhaps a month and for many of us who at the time were serving smaller churches it was barely a blip on the screen.
Joe (his real name) often did discounted printing for our church because of a relationship he had with one of our elders. I continued this relationship even after this elder moved on. I saw Joe the week of 9/11 and he said, “I want to hear what you are going to say on Sunday.”
It has never worked, and other pastor can attest, to try to target a message for one person, but the pressure was on. Joe had not responded to a single invitation to church for many years; he was very political and opinionated. What message would he hear?
I wondered how Jesus had handled questions about current events, especially large man-made or natural disasters. I didn’t have to wonder for long when I read Luke 13:1-5:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
This was not the message Joe wanted to hear, but the one we all needed. He wanted to hear me condemn the men who did this to our great country, he wanted to hear how we should avenge these “innocents” deaths. Instead I pointed out that there were no innocents, we are all born in sin and in need of a Savior.
I will be preaching the same text this September 11, with the same message; the same message I will preach each and every Sunday while God gives me breath.
In His Grip,
Pastor Todd Anderson