A sight seeing bus was traveling around London and the driver was pointing out places of interest. As they passed St Paul’s Cathedral he explained that it took years to build and was considered Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. An old woman at the back piped up – “In Doncaster we could have built it a lot cheaper and quicker!”
The next place of interest on the tour was the Millennium Dome. The driver explained that it cost millions and took two years to complete. The criticism was the same. The woman said – “We could have done it for less in Doncaster and finished it much sooner!”
The final place of interest visited was Trafalgar Square. But the driver drove by and said nothing. “Hey!” shouted the old woman, “What is that tall column surrounded by fountains and stone lions?” “Don’t know,” replied the bus driver, “It wasn’t there yesterday.” It was a good answer to a boaster and took the wind out of her sails.
Of course, every one has, at one time or another, boasted or exaggerated. Some even employ exaggeration as a sales technique. But if there’s one thing worse than the ploys of a marketer it must be the ploys of religious salesmen – and there’s plenty of them around!
Charles Taze Russell was one. The founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses once advertised in “the Watchtower” a “miracle wheat” which it was claimed would grow five times faster than normal. He later lost a libel law-suit over the issue.
Still today there are those who think they know how to do things bigger and better and are prepared to boast about what they can do for others. Certain charismatics, when they advertise their services, assert that “some will see miracles for the first time.” They could be trusted if their healings could be verified, as Christ’s always were. But they aren’t, yet these men gain a rich living.
The greatest tragedy is that worldly men take this as an opportunity to make light of Christianity, as was illustrated by the Steve Martin film “Leap of Faith”, in which he plays a traveling preacher who, through high-tech razzmatazz, convinces many that he can save them from sickness and disability.
However, the empty boasts of religious counterfeits, and the mockery they encourage, are answered by God’s Word. The gain of boasters is only momentary, but their loss is eternal. Jude V.12 pronounces a “Woe” on those who look for reward from false religion.