As football season comes to a close, many teams, although not moving into good playoff position still have an ardent base of fans. These fans will never bet against their team, even when having a poor performance year. Others may say they are fans, but truly are only fans when the team is having a great year. These are traditionally called the fair-weather fans-true followers in the beginning, but feign true loyalty if the season turns south. Christianity has these fans as well, but they are called foul weather Christians.
What is a foul weather Christian? This is the believer who during great times, times of success, times of lesser strife revel in their own accomplishment. Yet, as the tables turn and strife rises, failures multiply, and life turns bitter, these people turn to, or back to, God as their redeemer from hard times.
The newly born-again Christian has a great feeling of redemption. They know the feeling of forgiveness and understand the teaching from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ” Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Unfortunately, too many new converts think that one time of salvation will absolutely and permanently affix them to their daily, everlasting walk with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
As they move back into the world, their world of family, friends, work, and recreation, slowly they are pulled back into their secular life. They make excuses to themselves about not making it to church this Sunday or missing Bible study this week because they were too tired from the day. Whatever the excuse, without constant replenishment of the soul, they will find it easier to make excuses, further distancing themselves from their daily walk.
Maybe because of piling bills from this paycheck to weekend lifestyle (Yes, a lot of people can no longer say paycheck to paycheck, but only make enough to get through the pay weekend) they choose to work a lot of overtime. Maybe all that extra overtime allowed for a new car, or they were recognized for their extra work and promoted to a higher position with a huge salary increase. This salary increase gave them the opportunity to buy a new house, better toys for the kids, a big diamond for the wife, a new boat: life is good, they have achieved a great level of success in their own eyes.
They take credit for their hard work and perseverance which allowed them to achieve this new standard of lifestyle. They are excited with the changes and happy for the new life and what is to come next. By this time, they have forgotten about their commitment of their soul. They have thanked Him less and less each day for the great blessings, maybe not even acknowledging He had anything to do with their great fortune.
A new position and increased pay also come with an increase in responsibility. Maybe the new expectation will be a 50-60 hour week on salary versus the 40 hours of hourly pay. This new position could have them responsible for not only personal production but that of their employees or team members. The larger the charge, the many more challenges which will need to be addressed.
The challenges seem overwhelming as they move forward, mistakes are made and attitudes change. Some who may have once been friends turn away because somehow they were treated unfairly. Struggles cause friction, causing lower production, which ends this newly promoted person in the manager’s office having a discussion of poor work performance. They really cannot explain what happened, they did not see it coming, but probation with an improvement plan seems to be the best option.
Meanwhile at home, the family has settled in well to the new lifestyle. The new house, the new cars, the vacation home, all the newest, highest rated hi-tech kids games, phones, and computers. There are plans for a family vacation to Hawaii this year, what an awesome life!
Coming home from a disastrous day, only to sit at the desk looking over the bills and check book, once again, they need to find a way to stretch the paycheck beyond the weekend. It is this still time, sitting alone in front of the bills that they realize, “I have strayed from God, and this is my penance for falling away from my walk with Him”. So times have gotten tough, they need to survive the foul weather; gather the family back to church, back to Bible study, and daily prayer. He will see us this this storm. Foul weather Christians many times will repeat this cycle, never seeing the irony of their ways.
I guess one could equate this to the college student who only calls home when in trouble or needs more money. Parents want to hear from their student when things are going right too. They love to hear about the accomplishment. How many parents have the opportunity to hear a sincere “Thank you”.
Our Father wants to be in every part of our life-The great times and the strife. The only thing I can say is since I thank and praise Him daily, when the turmoil starts in my life, it is so much easier to deal with. It actually seems that the turmoil passes more quickly and the great times return more abundantly.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 ”17 Pray without ceasing 18 Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The Lord is my Shepherd
The Pastor my sheepdog
The Shepherd chose me for His herd
And charged the sheepdog tend with ”The Word”
Being imperfect, straying no guarantee
Going astray will mean a hobbling for me.
Hobbled in love at the Shepherd’s hand,
The sheepdog will care for and restore to the band.
Learning through strife
Means growing this life
With the guidance of the sheepdog
Ever closer to the Shepherd.
Stephen D Luckett