I read the following story during Friday’s Winter Graduation Ceremony. Since then, several people have requested that I post it to my blog. Here it is…
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek
The New Pastor
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured right) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to his newly assigned church where he was to be introduced as the head pastor that morning.
He walked around this larger church for about 30 minutes while it was filling with people for Sunday morning service… Only 3 people said hello to him.
He asked people for change to buy food… NOT ONE person gave him change. They turned away or said that they didn’t have any change- even though they had more than enough change for the coffee donation bucket.
He went into the sanctuary where he sat down in the front of the church. Shortly thereafter two ushers approached him and asked that he move to the back of the sanctuary.
He obeyed, and as he walked to the back row, he quietly said hello with a warm smile to the people also sitting in the sanctuary. The greeting returned was stares and dirty looks. He felt that uncomfortable feeling of people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, the service began. He listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders walked to the front alter… They were excited to introduce the new pastor. They were advised that the new pastor would be sitting with the congregation.
The only elder who was in on this experiment announced, “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek!
The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up- he began walking down the aisle.
The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him as he walked the altar. The elder who knew what was going on handed the microphone to the new Pastor.
While holding the microphone, the Pastor looked down as he paused for a moment.
Then he looked up and quietly recited, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.” he paused as he looked over the congregation.
The Pastor continued, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Members were shocked, some began to cry- many heads were bowed in shame.
He continued by stating, “Today I see a gathering of people, but I do not see a church that represents the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The world has more than enough people. We need more Christian disciples.
My question to you this morning, when will YOU decide to become a disciple?” He then dismissed the service.
Far too many people do NOT understand that being a Christian is so much more than something you claim… It’s something you live by- it’s compassion… it’s something you kindly share with others.
Food for thought!