Once there was a shepherd boy who tended his boss’s sheep near a dark forest not far from a village. Soon he found life tending sheep very boring, so he devised a plan to amuse himself. His boss told him to call for help if a wolf attacked the flock, and the villagers would drive it away. So one day, though he had not seen anything that looked like a wolf, he ran toward the village shouting "wolf! wolf!" at the top of his lungs.
As he expected, the villagers heard his cry, stopped working, and ran to the pasture. But when they arrived, instead of a wolf they found the boy laughing at the trick he had played. A few days later, the boy played the trick a second time. He shouted, "wolf! wolf!" and the villagers ran to help, only to be laughed at again.
Then one evening, a wolf really did begin attacking the sheep. In terror, the boy ran toward the village shouting "wolf! wolf!" But though the villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. "He will not trick us again," they said. Before the wolf slipped away into the forest, he killed the boy and most of the flock.[i]
This much is certain: nobody wants to be the boy who cried wolf. And yet, that’s exactly what many have accused American Christians of being. There is a growing chorus of Christians in our country crying out, not “wolf,” but “persecution!” Are American Christians just another boy crying wolf? Are we guilty of crying out, “persecution! persecution!” when there is no persecution?
Thankfully we don’t have to figure these things out on our own. God’s Word is replete with examples of persecution, and Christians who rightly responded to it. Join us this Sunday at Poquoson Baptist Church to consider one such story from Paul’s life. Read Acts 23-24 to prepare in advance. We hope to see you then!
[i] Adapted from The Aesop for Children, http://www.read.gov/aesop/043.html. Accessed June 22, 2020.