(An edited and expanded version of a post from September 2011.)
A well-to-do family hired a maid to keep the house and laundry clean. All the first day the new maid wore her hat, the family thought that in the excitement of a new job and wanting to get right to work she had simply forgotten to take off her hat. This habit of keeping her hat on continued into the following week. Curiosity finally overcame the lady of the house and she asked the maid why she always wore her hat when she worked. “Well,” replied the maid, “I want to be ready to quit any time you say something that hurts my feelings.”
The story is ridiculous, the maid needs some help. Yet I wonder, “How many Christians keep their hats on?” How many of us wear our feelings on our shoulders waiting for an excuse to leave the church? Many times when church leaders talk with those who no longer attends worship, those choosing not to attend say they do so because someone said something offensive to them. I talked with someone a number of years ago, who left because someone insulted her choice of dress. Yes, what that other person said was offensive and out of line, but we should not let people get in the way of our relationship to God.
I wonder what hope we would have if Jesus had quit because His feelings were hurt? People mocked Him. Religious leaders taunted Him. His disciples and even His family doubted Him. The Sanhedrin falsely accused Him. Roman soldiers slapped Him and spit in His face. The Jews called His teachings into question and that is just the beginning.. Yet He persisted in the mission before Him enduring the shame and suffering (Heb 12:2ff).
When many people quit following Jesus because what He said offended them, he turned to the disciples and asked, “Will you go away also?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of life.” (Jn 6:67-68).
Where could we go if we leave Christ? Where else is there salvation? What is more important to me? My feelings or my soul? Are you still wearing your hat? Take it off and get to work!