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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

He and wife decided to put a new addition onto their house.

In short, the addition became his god so that he lost out in his soul. It is that easy a slip to happen.

The addition consumed them. It became such an all-encompassing project that the Lord’s Day became shopping day for floor covering, tile, and so on and so on. Lowe’s and Home Depot vied for God’s attention.

“You’re not going to keep having Wednesday evening Bible study,” he pointed adamantly to me one day.

I had never said we were dispensing with the study. But he decided that his word ruled. Of course it didn’t. However, in his head the house addition was more important than
mid-week Bible study. Over and out.

The rest of us continued to gather around the Word weekly. He was missing, House addition supplanted the Word.

The rest of us were kind enough to inquire about the addition—what colors, what tile selections, what floor plans. After all, we wanted to be happy with a friend who was a part of our house church.

However, it was obvious that the addition—wood, nails, paint—were all important in this fellow’s life. It was the beginning signs of spiritual backsliding.

How harmless a matter as an addition onto a house can rob the soul of God’s first place. But it happens all the time, in one form or another for the enemy of our souls never gives up.

Several years prior he and his first wife were sliding
backward in their commitments to the Lord. As pastor I saw it and quaked. There was nothing I could say for they would rebut every caution I would verbalize. That’s the way it is when a Christian starts losing out with God.

It was a snowy Monday morning when his wife’s automobile slid into an accident that cut through in an instant her earthly stay. She was gone. God’s mercy retrieved her soul before she lost out completely with her Lord.

I met with him through all those hours of sorrow. I was there as faithful pastor.

Then he married a second time. The marriage moved along with one happy project and then another. The house addition came to the fore and loomed higher than it should. The fellow lost sight of legitimate spiritual priorities. The rest of us believers witnessed it and wondered what would eventually happen with the man’s test of loyalty.

Sundays became a quick stay for house worship and then off for more house building supplies. Addition. Addition. House addition became his all-in-all.

But God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

With the sour state of his soul, he became critical of everything that happened in worship. That’s what happens when a person begins to pull away from the glory of the Lord. Even that which is nourishing to the faithful believers becomes repulsive to the one backsliding.

One Sunday evening we had a most enriching worship in an elderly woman’s home. The music was uplifting. The testimonies were enlivening. The fellowship was rich and sincere. The Bible opened to fill our waiting spirits with new food.

However, not so with the one who had by now given his allegiance to his own selfish world.

Monday morning he phoned me to complain about everything that occurred the evening before. We sang too many hymns. The sermonic illustrations were not proper. The distance driving to the elderly woman’s home was too long. And on and on.

All I could see in my mind during his tirade was House Addition, House Addition, House Addition equals god. It was truly sad.

He ordered me how to conduct future worships. He ordered us all when we were to meet and how long and where. In short, his phone message was obnoxious—but worse. It was the final sign that he had given into the backslidden soul.

Soon after he decided to exit the house church for his own lonely abode, his second wife slipped while working on the house addition. She broke her leg in multiple locations, pins having to be inserted, two months off the use of the leg and so forth.

I have witnessed this often when persons willfully turn their backs on God. We mortals need do nothing. God then moves in to discipline those He loves, according to His Word.

To this moment, the man has never apologized for the havoc he brought to God and the innocent house church believers.

Instead, he continues his way in the void promised him by the enemy of our souls.