True miracles bear good fruit. They also attract persecution. Pastor Naboth found that out the hard way. That’s because his charismatic church was a house of prayer where people stood in awe of God. The gatherings were lively and God’s Word went forth powerfully, resulting in signs, wonders and miracles. Minds were healed, hearts were changed, and many souls were saved. For the deaf to hear and the blind to see was commonplace. But to see the way the rich shared with the poor was a true miracle indeed.
“True miracles are normal when you connect with Jesus, the divine vine,” the pastor liked to say. “For those who question the validity of these miracles, look at the fruit. With God all things are possible.”
Many people rejoiced to see such authentically true miracles, but, as was to be expected, others mocked.
That included old Ahab, a grumpy minister from a glitzy nearby church two blocks down the road. “Yeah, right. Be realistic. That Naboth is a phony through and through,” he grumbled. Ahab did not believe in miracles.
“There’s something fishy about that pastor and his group of wild fanatics,” he muttered as he dipped his hand into a can of stinky sardines. “I don’t trust the holy laughter. I know he pushes those people down. Someone ought to teach them to take God more seriously!”
As rich Reverend Ahab grumbled, his wife Jezebel strode into the room, bearing a pot of nasty tea. Next to it, she set down a plate of soggy sauerkraut which matched her wrinkly face.
“What is it now?” she snapped. “I could hear you whining from all the way down the hall.”
Ahab frowned at her. Then he burst into tears. “I offered Pastor Naboth half my cash stash to lay hands on me and anoint me to do miracles like he does. But he had the nerve to tell me my heart wasn’t right with God. I might have known he’d let me down. It’s probably because I’m pro-choice and he believes in no choice when it comes to matters like abortion.”
Jezebel smacked her lips. “Obviously the doctors are the ones should have the sway – I mean, the final say when it comes to what women do with their bodies. We all know that’s what it really means for a woman to have a choice. It’s between a woman and her doctor and she should trust her doctor, no questions asked. Speaking of doctors, I’m the doctor around here. And don’t you forget it!”
“All right, all right,” growled the Reverend Ahab. “Put down your picket sign for now and let’s get back to the matter at hand which is, I’m right and he’s wrong.”
“She – as in, me – is right too,” said Jezebel.
“Yes, I get it, I get it. But the point is, I didn’t slave and sweat for all those years to put MY church on the map only to lose half of it to him. Attendance has taken a nosedive and no one cares.”
Jezebel groaned. “Stop complaining and let me handle it. I’ll drum up a scandal that’ll bring the pastor and his congregation to their knees.”
The wicked woman set to work immediately. First, she posted rumors about Naboth on numerous social media sites in order to gain support for her unjust cause. Secondly, she found many lying witnesses willing to accuse the pastor of all sorts of abuse. Finally, she hired a very experienced lying law firm to take Pastor Naboth to court. They accused him of pushing people down on purpose and performing false miracles for show. They also made it appear as if he’d visited illicit websites he had never even heard of.
Through poisonous words delivered via pen and untamed tongues, Jezebel and her cohorts dumped tons of dirt on Pastor Naboth.
But even though they buried his reputation, the good fruit of the Holy Spirit still remained. That’s because, despite every attempt to ruin him, no one could deny the true miracles, signs and wonders that took place in his church. For God would not allow the bitter herbs of Jezebel’s wrath to overtake His “vineyard.” He can bring new life out of the deadest circumstance.
As for Pastor Naboth, he praised God amid the fiery trial Jezebel and Ahab put him through. Instead of taking vengeance into his own hands, he died to himself and, in a sense, was resurrected. The bad guys killed him with their words but couldn’t keep him down.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)