Wise As A Serpent
Several years ago our church was embarking on a major building project and we needed to hook into the city sewage system. There was a question about the fee for a non-profit. Now I don’t like controversy, and I certainly didn’t want to appear before the City Council. But our elders knew better.
We were about to hire a fulltime Middle School pastor to help meet the needs of kids at this crucial age and the fee would handicap our ability to make the new hire. What I needed to remember is that our Savior commanded us to be gentle as a dove, but He also said we needed to be wise as serpents. The Apostle Paul lived out these words when he got beaten and jailed in Philippi.
“When it became daylight, the magistrates sent their police officers to the jail, saying, ‘Release these men!’ And the jailer reported this to Paul saying, ‘The magistrates sent word for you to be released; now therefore, go in peace.’ But Paul sent word to the magistrates, ‘You publicly beat us without due process, and we are Romans. You threw us in prison, and now secretly, you want to release us? No way! You come and personally bring us out.’
When the officers reported back to the magistrates these things, they were afraid, especially that they were Romans. They came and sought to appease the situation, leading them out and asking them to leave their city. So when Paul and Silas came out of the jail, they went back and visited Lydia; and after seeing the brothers and encouraging them, then they departed.” Acts 16:35-40
Because Paul held his ground and made the magistrates of Philippi publicly acknowledge that they were wrong to beat and imprison the missionaries, it meant that in Greece it was officially on record that the open proclamation of the Gospel was not illegal. For a time this cleared away any legal issues inhibiting the growth of the Church.
I did go before the City Council and one of our church members serving on the board called for a vote. The Lord showed me again why He told us to be in the world, to be engaged in the marketplace at all levels—education, courts, medicine, and business. The Council didn’t deliberate long. They publicly acknowledged how much they appreciated the contribution of the churches to our community, and then they waived the fee.
LORD, guide your children serving in all levels of government. Help them to be honest and just and to encourage the good in every area of our society. Give us wisdom to guard religious freedom and to also be able to give evidence that there are strong social benefits when you are respected in the public square.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.