I heard on the
radio a story that happened several decades ago. In those days,
dynamite could still be purchased at big city lumber yards for
construction purposes. An ambitious young man who was somewhat
deceitful purchased some with a plan to make money removing
stumps from fields for farmers. He had no training with dynamite,
but thought it might be a fast way to make some big money. He
apparently convinced the lumber yard that he was legitimate,
then loaded his pickup truck with the dynamite and launched
out for the country. After selling his scheme successfully to
the first farmer to give him approval, the young man set about
preparing the charge. Having never actually used dynamite before,
the young man was not sure how much to use for any given stump.
But not wanting to look like he didn't know what he was doing,
he confidently went about his business making sure he put enough
dynamite under the stump to guarantee its removal.
The old farmer
watched with interest as the young man lit the fuse and had
them both move a good distance away to watch the results. There
was a huge explosion causing the big old stump to literally
fly through the air. Up, up, and away arched the big projectile
as the young man realized he had used too much dynamite. The
stump was heading in the direction of his parked pickup truck.
Down the stump came right on top of the cab of the young man's
truck, crushing it in all the way down to the seat. The old
farmer, somewhat amused at his realization of the young man's
lack of expertise, said, "Don't worry son. With a little
more practice, you'll be able to drop those stumps right into
the bed of your pickup."
My wife went to
a Christian university in the 1970's. There was a quiet saying
among the ambitious students there that, "if you can't
make it, fake it." And there was a lot of "faking
it" on that campus. I feel that there is way too much falseness
and pretension in the Body of Christ. Even some ministers have
yielded to the temptation to be fake. Some have swelled up reports
of their ministry results to impress their potential donors.
I once investigated
the testimony of two "financial miracles" from a faithful
follower of a well-known television evangelist who raises millions
of dollars. I was at that particular meeting, and wrote down
detailed information from the follower's "testimony."
I independently made phone calls to see what I found out, and
discovered the story was not true. I was concerned for the reputation
of the evangelist, and personally communicated the results of
my investigation to him. Instead of the truth being appreciated
by this evangelist, I found myself being rebuked for investigating
the facts! I discovered that this evangelist was more concerned
with looking good to his TV audience than whether every "testimony"
was valid. The Bible says that God "desires
truth in the innermost being" (Psalm
51:6). Furthermore, the Bible says there will be "men
of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that
godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself."
Timothy 6:5). And there will be some "who
have strayed concerning the truth... and they overthrow the
faith of some." (2nd
Timothy 2:18). "And many will follow their
destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed."
That last verse
says, "many will follow their destructive ways."
Sadly, those who slightly bend and polish "the truth"
many times end up with larger numbers of followers and donors.
That's because you can promise anything and please anyone if
you are not limited by sticking to the truth! The apostle Paul
was obviously highly favored by God, yet people gave him all
kinds of trouble. In Galatians
4:16, Paul lamented, "Have I therefore become
your enemy because I tell you the truth?"
God included in
the Bible a huge number of scriptures addressing the importance
of the truth in our lives. Just a few examples include the following:
We need to be people
that diligently seek the truth, both to know it and to practice
it. We have to be on guard against deception which can so easily
overtake a person. We have to guard against receiving deception,
and also guard against deceiving others (which causes us to
reap deception). We also need to financially support those that
are totally committed to the truth, because speaking and teaching
the truth is an uphill battle for those who engage in it. We
need all the help we can get to continue proclaiming the truth!
Thank you for your prayers and financial offerings which enable
our ministry to continue changing our nation and the people
we communicate with.