Many years ago, a District Superintendent told one of his young preachers that he would come to that novice’s church to preach on a particular Sunday. When he arrived on the appointed day, there were very few people in the pews.
“Apparently you did not tell them I was coming,” the DS huffed.
“No, sir, I didn’t,” the young preacher replied, “but they found out anyway.”
So the DS in his sermon excoriated those who were there because there were so few of them. He scolded the faithful about the faithless, which is both disrespectful and counter-productive.
I’ve heard that done throughout my years—teachers scolding present students and parents for those who were absent, politicians scolding present voters, retailers scolding present shoppers… and the list goes on.
Recently I was thinking about the attendees at my funeral. Most of the people I want to be there won’t be. They have a good reason. They are dead. I won’t be there, either, so I can’t even scold those who do attend about those who are absent. Life is so unfair…
John Robert McFarland