Pastor Bill decided he needed a break. He called the assistant pastor on Saturday evening and said with a hoarse whisper, “Jim, this is Bill. I’m not feeling very good at all. I think you are going to have to preach for me tomorrow morning at church.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” Pastor Jim replied. “I will certainly try to cover for you. I hope you feel better soon.” The next morning Pastor Bill woke up feeling unusually refreshed. He quickly dressed, got into his car, and headed for a town about 30 miles from his home. After about half an hour he arrived at the golf course. Pastor Bill was relieved that there was no one in the club house whom he recognized and soon he was setting his ball on the first tee. “This is going to be a wonderful time,” he thought.
After a couple of practice swings, Pastor Bill lined up along side the ball, swung, and watched the ball lift into the air and head straight down the fairway. It was a magnificent 250 yard shot. It landed on the green and rolled toward the flag. When Pastor Bill got up to the green he was delighted to find that the ball was in the cup. This was his first hole-in-one ever! He looked toward heaven and shouted, “Thank you Lord!”
Suddenly, a deep voice from heaven responded. “You’re welcome! But this was your punishment for skipping church today. Remember: Who are you going to tell about this shot you made on Sunday morning?”
This obviously fictional story reminds us that we derive a lot of pleasure from being able to share our accomplishments with others. More importantly, this reminds us that we can never hide our actions from God. In Numbers 32:23 we read, if “you have sinned against the Lord, be sure your sin will find you out.” No matter how skillful and successful we are in keeping other people from knowing about our misdeeds, we can never deceive God. To borrow from Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool God any of the time.” Not only is God aware when we do things which are wrong, He even knows our attitudes and thoughts. The people around me may not know about the pride, greed, selfishness and lust that at times seeps into my heart, but the Lord certainly knows it is there.
Friends, it is foolish to try and fool God. We “can be sure our sin will find us out.” Whatever our sin may be, it is certain that at some point we will get caught. That is why confessing our sin is much better way to deal with it than trying to cover it up. When we realize that our actions or attitudes are not what they should be, it is futile to try to hide that fact. Rather we need to turn to the Lord Jesus, counting on the promise that he gives us in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Yours’ grateful for God’s gracious forgiveness,
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church