Several voices were raised while the people just looked at me. I wondered if it was something that I had said, or if they had in some way been offended at the message. Up to that point, I had not noticed but Pastor Philemon was looking at me as well. From those who spoke Liberian English, I managed to catch the words “Pastor Mark” but little else. Asking what they had said, Pastor Philemon replied, “They are saying you left more meat on the table!”
My mind was racing trying to understand what this could possibly mean, so Pastor Philemon helped my lack of knowledge by stating, “The people say that you did not speak long enough. There is more meat on the table that you did not share. They want you to preach some more.” I was shocked and caught completely off-guard. To think 55 minutes was not enough for these people sitting there in a growing ever hotter concrete building was mind-boggling. It was obvious they had a hunger for God’s Word, and many of them were even illiterate. They were not able to read the Word for themselves.
This is one of the biggest problems facing Liberia. Churches are in abundance, but they do not preach the Word of God. When the congregation cannot go to the Scriptures and study to be a Berean believer, it is easy for them to be led astray.
Their words stunned me into the realization that such people did exist in Bible-believing churches, but obviously outside of the west where entertainment and feel-good messages dominate the church landscape. However, the blame cannot lie solely at the feet of the average church attendee. The biggest issue is that instead of standing firm and proclaiming “thus says the Lord”, pastors have waffled for far too long. They have chosen the easy path to the point where sermons are mere sermonettes because that is what the people want. All pastors know that if you do not give the people what they want, most will start leaving and will go somewhere else. Praise the Lord for those few who continue to faithfully minister no matter what the cost.
Being quite tired and still ill, my brain was not working well enough to speak extemporaneously, so I deferred to Pastor Philemon who after a few words concluded the service. Now, I know that in many western churches, there is a fair proportion of “drag-race” Christians. They will drag into church one time a week and then race out as soon as service is over. Well, Liberians are not that way. They enjoy fellowship. As I was speaking with several of the folks afterwards, I was unaware the food I smelled being cooked was being prepared to feed those in attendance.