How much would you pay to go to church?

A Bribe for a Church

As we go through Daniel, I am always looking for ways to make things practical. Daniel, in the first chapters, refuses to eat the food of the King. The food is unclean, not because of the type of food, but because of the purpose of the food. To eat the King’s royal food is to eat food that is reserved for those who worship idols. It would be like letting Hitler provide for your needs. Daniel and his friends decide to eat different food as a gentle resistance against the evil.

I then asked, “What is the royal food of today?” What are the ways that we accommodate evil, because it’s the easiest thing? After all, making strong choices doesn’t win friends!

One of my students then told an interesting story.

His church was working on building a new building. They had hundreds of people who had been waiting to move inside a building rather than worship under a tree. The plans were all completed except that the planning commissioner was holding things up. When the student went to the commissioner, it was clear that he wanted a bribe. With the right amount of money, one could get the plans out of his “pending approval” file. How much was the right amount? Around $700. Why did he need that money? Was something wrong with the plans? No. Was there a tax or fee they forgot to pay? No. Was there additional work that needed to be done? No.

Simply put, the kingdom of this world needed a bribe.

And the church had to figure out what to do.

The elders of the church discussed and decided to pray, trusting God instead. They prayed a very simple prayer: “Lord, you know what we need. We trust you to provide for us”. The student recalled that they didn’t have a lot of emotion… no music worship service to start… nothing. Just a simple prayer voiced by one of the elders… and then they waited.

On the next business day, the student went back to the planning office. He was surprised that the planning commissioner had suddenly gotten sick. He was gravely ill and wouldn’t be in for quite some time. So, his assistant asked what they needed. They simply asked if their plan was ready. And, you can guess, the assistant went back, found the plan, came back, and said, “Of course! It’s been ready for quite some time. Thank you for picking it up!”

The lesson was that they could have paid the Planning commissioner a very large price. THey could have exchanged their faith in Christ for the temporary relief a bribe would bring. But, instead, they trusted in God and in his sovereign ability to take care of His people… after all… He paid the ultimate price for them with his life! If he was willing to do that… then he would provide for this need as well.

So, how much are you willing to pay? What will you exchange for the expedient resolution to your problem? The easy way works… but in the long run, it costs us more than we should ever pay! May we trust in the one who paid everything for us!

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