The following is an update of an old article I wrote back in 1997. Please forgive me for sharing old stuff. I realized a long time ago that I can’t re-preach a previously proclaimed message. I have a hard enough time preaching them the first time. But old newsletter articles are not a problem to re-submit if they are “good ‘uns.” Also, I was more creative and insightful in my earlier days. So here’s a reheated one for you:
I thought about calling Kim and telling her to clear my closet and contact Goodwill….I’d died and gone to heaven! That was the day Max McSwain took me on a tour of his “barn shaped antique warehouses.” What a day it was browsing at all the old stuff and “junque” (a dignified word for another’s trash as another’s treasure). The tour took hours with Max offering samples of his merchandise whenever my excitement threatened my mental and physical health.
Toward the end of our trek, Max and I climbed a ladder to a loft to explore the bounty there when I noticed a “different” rather interesting rock. It was lightweight and cloudy but, with a little help, I felt the stone was a potential crystal. Max noticed my enthusiasm and said, “Andy, take it with you!” Of course I insincerely protested, “Oh no, Max, I couldn’t!” Max replied, “Ok, don’t!” I responded, “Well, since you insist!”
The Oliver boys were excited about the new addition to their rock collection. They displayed it proudly in their room. Eventually, I decided there was a better place for this gem and I placed it in our aquarium. It was an impressive addition tucked amongst the colored gravel and assorted plastic aquatic plants. The fish liked it and I liked it. Life was good!
The next day I was astonished to find the stone had disappeared. All that remained was a small dent in the gravel amongst the false aquatic greenery. I was rather disturbed as I personally accused each family member and finally decided that someone had entered our home and taken my rock!
As I prepared to leave our home to apply for a permit to purchase a weapon, I took one final look at the violated aquarium. Our hearty orange and black swordtail was doing the backstroke and our bottom feeder was top feeding (sort of) — soon the entire population followed suit. I also noticed that the deceased all had a thick white film over their bodies and my fake green plants were white. It was then that I realized my precious rock was salt. It hadn’t been stolen, it simply dissolved and poisoned my tank!
I believe there is a lesson for the church here. There are attitudes and actions that can be introduced into our midst that may seem noble, beautiful, and constructive but, in fact, may be rather toxic. As Christians, we have to be careful (unlike the careless aquarium keeper).
We may have to deal with:
* Gossip disguised as prayer requests
* Judgment masked as spirituality
* Negativity and a critical spirit conveyed as genuine concern, among other things
Deceptive attitudes can poison a church just as the mysterious disappearing rock destroyed our little aquatic wonderland.
How pleasant it is here at PSBC. It is a wonderful place to serve. I’m thankful for your loving and cooperative spirit. Things are going well. I just hope we don’t find any curious rocks lying around anywhere!
Andy O. (704) 300-0062