Recently a good friend of mine was supply preaching at a church about an hour and a half away from where we live. Somehow he got a late start leaving his house for the church that was expecting him to deliver both the morning and evening message. Because he was running late, he drove in a hurry to the small town, drove up to the church, and into the parking lot. He received a call from the kind gentleman who had invited him to come and preach for their church asking him where he was. My friend apologized and assured the man that he was in the parking lot of the church about to walk through the doors. The man was relieved and hung up the phone to wait on the preacher to walk in.
Meanwhile, my friend put on his sport coat, picked up his Bible and headed through the front door. He spoke to the 2 men who were ushering at the front door of the church, assured them he was present and laughed at how he thought he was going to be late. The two ushers let him know he had arrived just in time for the start of the music. My friend asked if someone was going to bring him a microphone and he walked through the doors and into the sanctuary. He greeted members of the church kindly, walked all the way down the center aisle, picked up the bulletin, and sat relieved that he had arrived on the front row of the church.
My friend decided to scan the bulletin to see what all was taking place in the morning service before he preached that day since he had arrived at the start and had no time to talk to anyone about the order of service. When he opened the bulletin he thought it odd that neither his name nor his sermon text appeared in the bulletin, but in fact a passage from Romans was printed along with the name of another preacher. Immediately, he looked on the front of his bulletin to discover than in his hurry, he had gone to the wrong church. He had actually driven right past the church he was supposed to be at to deliver the sermon. Now he sat on the front pew of the wrong church in the wrong place, while the kind gentleman who had invited him from the other church west of town wondered what in the world had happened to that preacher?
Trust me...I laughed and laughed when he told me what he had done. This is a preacher's nightmare, along with losing your Bible, forgetting about a wedding, or going into the wrong hospital room for a visit. However, it is not very funny when you are living your life, traveling down life's road, and all of a sudden you realize your life is not where it is supposed to be and you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. At that moment panic sets in just like it did with my friend. At that moment you feel embarrassed, confused, and just plain silly. You have a choice to make:
1. You can make excuses, try to blame others, or victimize yourself.
2. You can own up to the fact that you are in the wrong place, confess it to the Lord, and take action steps to move back into the center of God's will as you put your life on the right road.
James 4:8 is a great encouragement to us when we read, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people (HCSB)."