Soren was named after Kierkegaard, and was now rising in popularity among Christians like the philosopher had. He was a young pastor who spoke with compassionate conviction, calling the nation to account, but with tender empathy.
But one day a picture appeared on social media, with him and a rising candidate for governor of Texas. But this candidate was known for his fiery insults and warlike campaigning despite siding with the religious right. And then they saw a picture with him posted by a well-known lawyer, hated for winning against a black man who was unjustly shot by police.
And the blogs that had been the biggest proponents of the rising star began to criticize him for giving into the allure of power and influence. Thousands of hopeful social media followers dropped him like it was hot.
"If he wants to take a picture with you again today, what will you do?" Sorens wife asked him.
"I'll let him. It's not my responsibility what he does with it." Soren looked out the window of their breakfast nook with his wife. "I'm reminding myself it's not for the reputation or followers."
Suddenly his phone rang, the politician's name crawled across the screen. His wife motioned for him to take it.
"Good morning, John. How are you?" It was loud enough for Soren's wife to hear.
"Hi Soren. Hey um... I was thinking about something you had said when you were over here."
"Oh man, I hope it was one of the couple good things I said."
"Ha yeah. I think so. About trusting too much in my money. Hey so we're doing pretty well with campaign money. I've decided to donate to your ministry. We're about to do a press release and wanted to know how you'd like us to refer to your organization. Is it a non-profit or a church?"
"John, I really appreciate that, but God has provided for us enough too. I would encourage you to give it to a cause that more directly helps the people you serve. Like, I know you've talked about affordable housing a bit. But even more important, try not to tell the public."
"What? I mean it's just protocol. We have to tell where our funds are going."
"That's fine. But can I challenge you a little bit more?"
"Yes... okay, I thought this would, uh, make you pretty happy."
"It does, very much, brother. I'd just challenge you to ask yourself if you're doing it to help you win, or to authentically benefit the people you serve."
There was silence on the other side of the line. "You speak a hard truth to me. You're one of the few that does..." John's tone dropped the show for a moment. But then picked it back up again, "I guess that's why I like you. I'll think about it, and I hope to see you soon, Soren. Even if you're still busting my balls."
Soren laughed, "Well, I expect friends like you to do the same for me when I need it. Take care." Soren hung up.
Soren's wife said, cupping her coffee with her hands, "I wish your critics could hear the conversations like these." But still you could be ministering to your fan base, who would listen to you even more, and just avoid all this bad press.
"That would avoid the bad press indeed, Hunny. But if I'm reading Jesus correctly, he means that it's the sick that need a doctor."
Luke 19:1-11 Tells of Zacchaeus who was infamous as a tax collector, like some of our modern day politicians or lawyers might be. But Jesus told Zacchaeus, I want to hang out with you. And when accused of going to be seen with the rich and powerful corrupt, Jesus said, it is the sick that need a doctor.