by: Rich Vaughan
The first time I realized a preacher could get in trouble for a sermon was when I was in Seminary. I was serving as a Youth/Associate Pastor at a large church in Columbus, Ohio. It was a good church with a lot of wonderful people. It was a church of 1300 members, a lot like Holland’s UMC since we are closing in on 1500 members. But even though this church in Ohio had a lot of wonderful members, the Senior Pastor preached a sermon about horoscopes and the occult one Sunday, and it did not sit well. A lot of people did not like his points. He had stepped on their toes. It was the first time I had ever seen a STANDING Altar Call after the service, and it had nothing to do with renewing a walk with Jesus, but everything to do with getting ahold of that senior pastor!
Are you superstitious? Many people are. Most of you know I played baseball through my college years. Baseball players can be a very superstitious lot. When Babe Ruth ran in from the outfield, he always stepped on second base for luck. Willie Mays kicked it for the same reason. Some players will not change their bat after 2 strikes or they will only use the same bat if they are on a hitting streak. Others will not change uniforms during a winning streak. Batters will often tap home plate 3 times with the bat for good luck and a lot of baseball players will not step on the foul line when coming in off of the playing field. I can’t say much. I have worn the same Pittsburgh Steeler jersey all season and since they are 10-0, I keep wearing it (of course, this is the same jersey I wore last year when they finished 9-7). Do I think the Steeler players know that Richard C. Vaughan is sitting in Raleigh, NC and has his #39 game Jersey on so we will win this game? Of course not. Do I believe the Lord is looking down to see if I have the right jersey on or if I had tapped the plate 3 times when I was younger and batting so it is fine to let the Steelers win or me to get a hit? No, I don’t believe that. So why do I do it? Why tempt fate? That is the wrong answer for me or any Christian. It really was the point of that sermon preached in Columbus, Ohio a long time ago.
Superstitions reveal something about the object of our trust, and in some cases they are tied into occult practices. The Bible warns us about trusting “unknown forces” that work behind the scenes. We who believe in Jesus and trust in Him must reject the idea of luck or chance. The Lord is all-knowing and sovereign over the events in our life and his great desire is for us to trust Him AND HIM ALONE. If this upsets you, I am sorry and I guess I need to tell you the line forms right outside my office. J
Amen & Amen.