Only a Test

Only a Test

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Have you ever had your television watching interrupted by a crude noise and an announcement declaring, “This is a test, only a test, of the Emergency Broadcast System?” I wonder if we need the same kind of announcement. “This coronavirus is a test, only a test, of the Church and its faith and preparedness for the next move of God.”

Before God delivered Israel from the Midianites, He gathered an army of willing fighters. Then tested them to reveal both their faith and their aptitude. Days like the ones we are going through right now, though not sent by God, will do the same for us — they will reveal our true motives, our true faith in God, and our preparedness for the coming victory.

The selfish pastor quickly fires his staff, even before the money really runs out, because his real concern is himself. His thoughts are about his own house. How will I make it? His actions say, “Every man for himself.” He will be disqualified! And, as his faith is, so be it unto him.

Then there is the “my-church”-centered pastor. He drops the missionaries just in case the money doesn’t keep coming in. He huddles the church into a fortress, behind locked doors, hoping to wait out the storm unaffected. He too will be disqualified from carrying the lamp and trumpet into battle because he drank with his head down.

Then there is the “others-centered” Christlike pastor who cares for his staff even if it cost him something. He pays the missionaries because he knows they deserve a pay day just as much as he does. He leads the church into the new opportunities of ministry created by this interruption. He believes God is still a miracle-working God and that his call is still to win the city and the world. He believes that it’s not the size of the army, but the size of God. He believes that it’s God’s power not the offering, or the kinds of weapons, or the skill of the warriors. He believes completely in the working of the Holy Spirit and His anointing. He believes God alone will supply all our needs and therefore that giving is more important than hoarding.

Before the test, all the warriors looked the same, but after the test we could clearly see the differences.

He or she who passes the test will be given a trumpet and lamp. They will be placed in the right place around the enemy’s camp, and when the time of the Lord comes, they will break the pitcher and all the other barriers that conceal the light of truth and declare, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

Pray you don’t fail the test, because the best is yet to come!

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