The Life of Pastor Harry (A parable)

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Pastor Harry died and went to heaven. Upon entering, he saw Jim, a successful businessman and leader of his church. They hugged warmly. Behind Jim was a dilapidated shack.

Jim said, “On earth, I lived in a mansion by the beach. Now, I live in this small house.”

“How is that possible?” Pastor Harry scratched his head. “You did so many good things while on earth.”

“The Man at the pearly gates said they were out of wrong motives,” Jim said. “It all came out from pride, even in the church. My works were futile.”

Pastor Harry wondered what his house would be like. He rubbed his hands in glee. He’d given up everything for God’s work and expected a great reward. He walked down the Golden Street and saw a huge mansion. He saw a familiar face emerging from it. It was David, another congregation member like Jim. But Pastor Harry never really talked to David much while on earth. David was only a poor man and didn’t hold any high position in church.

David waved to the pastor, a bright smile on his face. “Great to see you here pastor.”

Pastor Harry was at a loss for words and at last blurted out, “Your house is huge!”

David smiled. “It’s the Lord’s grace. I never expected this.”

The pastor never knew David was a spiritual giant. David went on mission trips at his own expense and that’s about it. An angel appeared and ushered the shocked pastor away.

They walked for some ways into a side lane and stopped at a small rundown shack. “That’s my house? You got to be kidding!” The pastor said. “It’s even worse than Jim’s house.”

The angel said, “As a shepherd of God’s flock, more is expected of you. Doesn’t James say that teachers are judged more sternly?”

James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

“Of course I know my Bible.” Pastor Harry was red like a lobster.

“Then you should know the previous chapter too.” The angel waved his hand and the words appeared in the sky:

James 2:1-4

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

“Remember how you treated Jim and David? You put Jim into high positions because he bought you good lunches and dinners. You listened to his opinions during board meetings to curry favour.”

The pastor wiped the sweat off his fat face. The angel continued:

“You ignored David who was a much more spiritual person. You chose not to talk to him since he had nothing to offer you. You ignored it when he wrote you an email to give you good advice on your sermons. Your sin is favouritism!”

As guilt ripped into Pator Harry, a verse flashed in his mind:

James 2:5

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

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