A pastor told me the following story. It seems that in his congregation there was a very rich man who decided to leave the church because the pastor was preaching through Romans and the rich man thought the book was “too difficult.” He didn’t like the pastor preaching on such a “difficult book” and so he decided it was time to leave. Although I didn’t inquire into all the details, I know that it is never easy when someone leaves the church because he doesn’t like what we are preaching. We know we aren’t supposed to take it personally, that sometimes it’s better for people to leave than to stay and be unhappy, and that constant controversy will not be good for the church. The fact that the man was wealthy simply means that his leaving may negatively impact the church’s financial condition.
Where did the man go? “He left and started his own church,” said the pastor. That’s not the first time that’s happened.
It was obviously a painful experience. But the pastor said he had searched his heart and held nothing against the rich man who left. What was done was done.
What do you do in a situation like that? Let the rich man go. And then let go of any lingering feelings in your heart. That’s what the pastor has done, and he is better off for it.
By the way, once the rich man left, the giving actually went up, not down. I love that part of the story. It’s nice when that happens, but even when it doesn’t, let the rich man go.
And let the pastor preach on.