Jesus said, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. – Matthew 10:16
Pastor Wingert was away on a fishing trip and I was in the office alone when the phone rang.
When I answered, a voice that sounded more contrived than genuine asked, “Are you Pastor Wingert?”
I told him the pastor was out of town.
“Well, didn’t he run for City Council?”
“Yes,” I replied. “He ran, but he was not elected.”
“But he must surely have ties to the city? Hey, I live over here on Ludell Street and I have a couple of rabbits. I’ve had them for several years and now the animal control people are trying to kidnap them and I need Pastor Wingert to come over and help me do something about it.”
“Like I said, he’s out-of-town,” I told him. But by now I was almost certain I was talking to Pastor Wingert. This had to be a practical joke. The voice was phony … it was highly unlikely that the animal control people cared whether or not he had rabbits, and Pastor Wingert was not above pulling something like that.
Just to be safe, I told him that I would drive over and check his story out.
I hung up, fully expecting Pastor Wingert to enter the office as soon as he could leave the parsonage next door. I sat there waiting, but Pastor Wingert did not come. I walked outside to see if his car was in the carport. It wasn’t.
I had no choice but to fall for it, so I hopped in my car and drove over to Ludell Street and the man was standing on the curb waiting to talk to me. He was dead serious.
I don’t remember how we resolved the rabbit issue, but it was real.
Trying to sort out the pranksters, the con artists and the hackers is tricky business, and nobody wants to be taken advantage of, especially if they are trying to get something for nothing.
In the book, The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, the pastor is faced with two situations. The first is a phone call requesting enough money to get across the state to get to his new job. The second is simply a man asking for enough gas to get from one town to another.
In both cases, Pastor Preechet offers assistance, but prudently.
In the case of the man with the rabbits, even though every indication seemed to point to deception, I made the right decision to act upon the request.
With God’s guidance, He often gives us discernment to the various requests and supposed grand opportunities that come our way. God’s warning sign: “Proceed with caution,” or sometimes, “Don’t fall for it!”