Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NRSV)CBS News anchor Dan Rather tells about attending a revival as a boy in his home town of Bloomington, Texas. It was a spectacular extravaganza the whole town attended. The tent was open, the floor was sawdust. The build-up of the preacher's message came at a slow pace, but his point was unmistakable and highly personal. He wanted them to worry about their status in the next life. The preacher questioned the strength of each person's faith.
One night during the revival while Dan was sitting on a wooden bench with his grandparents, the preacher had worked himself up to a furious pitch about their shaky loyalty to the Lord. At the height of emotion the preacher reached behind him into a chest, grabbed two snakes and tossed them into the crowd. Apparently the preacher thought the snakes would be the perfect object lesson.
People in the crowd couldn't tell if the snakes were poisonous or not by just looking at them. There was screaming and a mass exodus out of the revival tent. Dan says it was a sight to behold. "You see," thundered the preacher triumphantly, "your faith is fragile."
That was the last time Dan's grandmother would ever attend a revival. She just didn't see the point of the snakes. Dan couldn't figure out what the snakes were supposed to have to do with his religious faith, which was and is in fine shape, he thinks.
What are you looking for... a show or genuine faith?
Loving God, I want to be genuine in my faith. Amen.