Charles drove to the Church, parked by the building, and waited. He sat in the car as he always did three times a week, waiting to pick up his wife from choir practice.
He sent her a message that he had arrived and remained in the car. He never left his vehicle’s protection, too tired to greet the choir group’s numerous members. In truth, Charles didn’t want the leading Church Pastor to see or engage him in any way.
He liked attending Church sometimes, especially when other pastors preached, but whenever it was the leading Pastor’s day, Charles seemed to lose all understanding of the English language.
He leaned back and lowered his car seat as he thought about this dilemma for the first time. What made scripture confusing whenever the leading Pastor stood to preach. In his experience, he would turn off once the Pastor said something that didn’t make sense. Yes, that’s it. The Pastor preached about existence on another planet, not the earth.
“Hello Charles, how are you?”
Charles stiffened and turned slowly to look right at the Pastor. He got out of the car and greeted the man, shaking the hand he proffered.
“It’s good to see you. Walk with me. Are you here to pick Nneka?”
“Yes, sir,” Charles said as he walked beside the Pastor, head bowed in respect.
“So, how is work?”
“Well, we are pushing as best as we can, sir.”
“Hmm, pushing suggests struggle. Is work a struggle for you?”
Charles burped out a short laugh. “Well, it’s a struggle for everybody. I mean to make it, one needs to hustle.”
The Pastor stopped and turned to him. “Let me get this straight. You are struggling to make it?”
Charles looked away and scratched his head as he wondered the bad luck that knocked on his door that day.
“What I mean, sir is that life is a struggle, and we all have to push hard to get to where we want to be,” Charles said, gesticulating with his hands, hoping the matter would end there and that he could excuse himself from the presence of confusion as fast as possible.
“What are you pushing for?”
“Well, we all want to be able to take care of our families and children. To support the Church, and people who need help.”
“You mean you are struggling to make money for your family, the Church, and the people who need your support? Is that an accurate summary of your words?”
“Yes, sir, sure,” Charles said, smiling as he looked down.
He wasn’t sure what was holding up his wife. She should have been out of the church building a while ago. He needed her out of there.
“Look at me, Charles.”
Charles looked at the Pastor with a sober expression.
“There is light, and there is darkness. The life Jesus offers gives light, while the devil offers only darkness and death. Do you understand?”
Charles nodded. “Yes, Pastor.”
“Good. In the light is everything required to live and thrive in God. On the other hand, the darkness distracts you from it and ensures you stay tuned to what is happening here, so all you think about is how to survive on earth. Here, people struggle to live a life of comfort, am I correct?”
“And there are different levels of comfort. Comfort might include building houses, buying cars, ensuring your family is taking care of, and the Church is settled, am I right?”
Charles smiled. “Well, I wouldn’t use the word settle.”
“But that’s what it is. You settle your family, the Church or its Pastor, and the Supporters club, and life goes on. That’s what people are doing and living their lives as they please. Charles, what if that’s not what God created you to do?”
“I know we are to do more as Christians. We should always pray and understand the will of God for our lives.” Charles said, at least he knew that much.
“Good, so how far down that path have you gone?”
Charles scratched his head. “Well, we are still getting there?”
“Does that mean that you’ve started a journey with God?”
Charles nodded. “Oh, yes, sir, I pray and talk to God about everything.”
“Very good. So, why are you struggling? Don’t you pray about that?”
“Everybody struggles, sir. My bible says that the apostles had to work hard as well.”
“Yes, in the work God called them to do, and they didn’t struggle. They were enabled by grace to achieve God’s will. That’s why they were able to accomplish supernatural feats. Are you struggling with the work God has given you?”
Charles burst into a nervous laugh. “Pastor, it’s a long story. I have to come and see you some other time for it.”
Charles stopped seeing any humor in the situation, real or fake. The Pastor wasn’t laughing either.
“My job is God’s will, and though I struggle, I know his grace is available,” Charles said with an edge in his voice.
“Forgive me, Charles, for the questions, but I need to know whether the people that fellowship in the Church know and believe God. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you another question?”
Charles shook his head, looking down again.
“How do you know your job is in line with God’s will? Did he give you specific scripture verses, and does he speak to you about it from time to time?”
Charles shook his head again, angry at his wife and the Pastor. He was in the hot soup because of one, and the other was too blind to see that he was coming from work and exhausted.
“I spoke to you earlier about light and darkness. Light provides enablement, grace, ability to live and thrive, while darkness distracts you and keeps you struggling for an illusion.
I have people here in Church who have gained great wealth or been rewarded with it, without a struggle. I have people who own houses they don’t need and cars they can’t drive, and what happens, decay and rust.
My point here, Charles, is don’t get swept away by the illusion of wealth and the struggle for it. It’s never what it seems, even for the rich. Submit to God, and remain under his shade of protection. Let him sustain you because he has promised never to leave or forsake you.
“You are not meant to be struggling, son, no matter the job you are doing. Focus on the grace in Christ. Be intentional about living out every day for God and not for yourself. Take life a day at a time.”
“Good evening, pastor,” Nneka said from behind them.
The Pastor turned to her. Charles didn’t lift his face from the ground; neither did he acknowledge her.
“Nneka, are you done?” The Pastor asked.
He turned to Charles and gestured to their car.
“Take her home, and think about what we’ve discussed.”
“Yes, sir, God bless you,” Charles said, forcing a smile, as he shook the older man’s hand and turned to his car.
“Charles, good evening,” Nneka said from behind him as they reached the car.
“Next time, take a taxi home. I’m not coming back here during the week for any reason.” He said as he opened the car, slid into the driver’s seat, and shut it with force.
Till next time, be transformed!!