September 3, 1929 was the last day of an eight-year gain in the American Stock Market. By October of that same year, a mere four weeks later, the stock market was in a slide from which it would not quickly recover. The whole thing crashed as America plummeted into the Great Depression. A very smart man from Yale University, however, said that everything would return to normal. His name was Irving Fisher. His infamous statements were that investors had nothing to worry about; that the Market would bounce back. Fisher thought the indicators didn’t matter. He said the slide was temporary. By mid-November, Fisher was broke. More stockbrokers and wealthy investors committed suicide than at any other time in the history of the market. Fisher was not alone in his “didn’t matter” speech. The president of the Equitable Trust Company said, “I have no fear of another comparable decline.”
Jeremiah preached to a nation that thought their actions did not matter either. Even while Babylon was bearing down on them, the people lived without constraint. Their own “experts” told them that the Lord was not paying attention; that He was apathetic to their non-compliance. So-called counselors promoted philosophies while mysticism took the place of the Law of Moses. The high places and groves occupied their time and their sacrifices. You can read it in the prophets. Come to find out, it did matter. It all mattered, both then and now.
Holiness matters. Obedience to the Word matters. The investment of our lives matters. How we worship and where we worship matters. Being faithful to the church matters. I know I run the risk of sounding self-serving, but here it goes: Having a pastor matters. A few folks have tried in futility to denounce that fact.
Nevertheless, for all those who say that these things (tithing, the fruit of the Spirit, Spiritual authority, obedience, standards, etc.) are unnecessary, let me say, “I hope for your sake they don’t matter.” I hope that you can invest your life in a human system. I hope that you can say whatever negative thing you want about the church or men of God or biblical doctrines and you won’t be held accountable. I hope, for your sake, that servanthood and the prayer room can be rejected and it won’t work against you. Because if these things do matter… well, there is a crash coming that will make the Great Depression look like a picnic. Peter told us to be sober and live as obedient children. He called us to be holy, 1 Peter 1:16 “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
I say, don’t invest your life in things that will lead you away from the things of God. Be careful not to join yourself to people who lead you away from the church. Sometimes backsliders don’t know they are backslidden. Finally, make your life’s investment in things that lead you closer to the Lord and the operation of the church. Do it because it really does matter.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole