Source: ‘Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.’ James 4:7-8,10
James fumed as he left the Senior Pastor’s office. He flexed his hands into fists as he thought about Njideka. The girl would not ruin all the work he put into building the Church; he wouldn’t allow her try.
He headed for the church reception, the position she manned, swearing she would never leave that position, but stopped, thinking about the move. He could embarrass himself in front of other church members in his state. No, he would go back to his office and call her from there. What he needed to do would remain private. He nodded to himself, and walked back to his office, calling Njideka’s number on his phone.
She knocked and entered his office three minutes later, greeted him, and waited for a response. James couldn’t look at her; he gnashed his teeth to maintain his calm. She greeted him again. It didn’t help.
“Thank you, thank you. I’ve heard.” He said and stood up.
He walked up to her and stood; she took a step backward. The frown etched on his face like thunder readying to strike.
“I want you to listen with care, girl. I will not repeat myself. You see here, in this Church, apart from the Senior Pastor, I am the law. I tolerated all the useless reports you sent to the Pastor in the past, but no more. You must discuss your reports with me before submitting them from today, do you understand?”
Njideka looked at him funny, quiet, and James felt an intense itch to slap her face.
“I asked if you understand what I just said?” He asked.
“I understand, Pastor, but Pastor Obi did not give any such directives when he asked me to do this.” She said, looking him straight in the eye.
“I have made my request, no, my demand, and I don’t want this discussed anywhere. I know you are working with my enemies to ensure I don’t become the senior Pastor here. All of you have failed because I will take that position sooner than later, and where will that leave you?”
Njideka looked down, shaking her head. The bomb went off in James’ head, and he slapped her hard.
“Who do you think you are shaking your head at girl?”
A few seconds later, Pastor Obi, the Senior Pastor, opened the door to the office. James stepped back from the girl, looking down. Pastor Obi hurried to help Njideka and led her out of James’ office. James winced as he watched his pastoring career slide down the gutter.
“O God, help me. What have I done?”
How would he explain this bout of anger? Picked and polished as a boy by Pastor Obi, everyone expected James to take over from the aging pastor. Of course, more godly candidates presented themselves over time, wanting the Senior Pastor’s mentorship. James ran them off one after the other. When Pastor Obi’s strength seemed to wane, and with no other candidate rearing his heads, this girl wanted to destroy him.
He covered his face with his hands as he remembered how hard he worked to prove his mettle, to show the Senior Pastor, no one else could take the position. He crammed the Bible, Genesis to Revelations, mesmerizing people with his word skill. He spent his salary trying to please the pastoral board, with gifts, from way back. He loved the Church and wanted to lead the people of God. How could his daddy in the Lord not see that?
His phone rang, and Pastor Obi’s details showed on the screen. James scratched his head, thinking up his speech as he headed for the Senior Pastor’s office. Once he started apologizing, he knew things were not right. James could tell Pastor Obi didn’t hear a word. He knew the look on his mentor’s face well, a look of sorrow and worse, parting. Would his father in the Lord give him up for the girl?
“Do you understand what you’ve done?” Pastor Obi asked, looking at him for the first time since James walked into his office. “I watched you grow, James, from a street fighter to a believer. I witnessed God’s goodness in your life and hoped one day, you would find your path in God.” Pastor obi sighed, and James knelt before him.
“Pastor, my daddy, don’t give up on me, please. I swear it will never repeat itself.”
Pastor Obi looked at him. “Swear, swear, James? By what, if I may ask?”
James hung his head; he couldn’t answer.
“I didn’t understand the reason for Njideka’s presence, but now I do. I thank God I’m alive to see this. My son, what happened to you?”
With tears in his eyes, James looked at his Pastor. “Nothing, father. I got carried away for a minute. You know me better than any other, tell me you understand.”
“I taught you to submit to God, but you submitted to the desires of self. If you drew near to God from the start, the sky would be your landing platform. Yet, you sought to rule by your foolish wisdom, like King Saul, and became double-minded. Look now, a David has arisen to take the position you sought, and there is no longer room for you here, except if you repent. Go, you are on suspension from the Church for a month without pay.”
Still kneeling, James’s mind raced through the news of a David and his suspension. His end arrived without brakes. He crawled to the Pastor and held his legs. “Daddy, I will die. Don’t do this to me; the Church is my life.”
Pastor Obi extracted his leg with care. “You will not die, my son. Sequester your life in God. I hope you live and learn to trust in God.”
James watched him leave the office until his tears blinded him.
Till next time, be transformed!!