When I was a young lad, I was told a story about George Washington that I believed to be the absolute truth. I am sure you heard the story as well. When Washington was six years old, his father gave him a hatchet. Washington immediately went out and used the hatchet to cut down one of his father’s prize cherry trees. When the elder Washington confronted young George, the boy admitted to the deed saying, “I cannot tell a lie, I did it.” The elder Washington embraced young George exclaiming that his son’s honesty was worth the loss of a thousand cherry trees. The message of the story? Honesty is a great virtue and George Washington was honest. Here is the problem. The story is entirely made up. It simply did not happen. It was invented by Washington’s first biographer, an itinerant minister and bookseller named Mason Locke Weems, who said this: “Washington you know is gone! Millions are gaping to read something about him…My plan! I give his history, sufficiently minute…I then go on to show that his unparalleled rise and elevation were due to his Great Virtues.” In other words, make up interesting stories. When I first realized that the cherry tree story was not true, I was irritated. I loved that story and did not want to give it up! So, I just didn’t. I held on to it as truth as long as I could because I liked it and it was a great morality tale. Do you know stories like that? A story that you assume to be the absolute truth only to late find out that the story is fiction. It can be very disheartening.
This is also what happens when you are taught something that “the Bible says” but later find out that the Bible does not say it. Such a thing can be painful. You have believed that the Bible says something that is the basis of one of your life’s important lessons, and then find out it is not in the Bible at all. What do you do with that? Come Sunday September 8, to John McMillan Presbyterian Church and learn about things you might have thought the Bible says but doesn’t. First up? God won’t give you more than you can handle. The Bible does not say that. So, what does the Bible say about such things? Come Sunday at 8:30 and 11 and Pastor Jeff will tell you. See you then.