A Fictional Work by The Soapbox Orator
Poach (verb) – take or acquire in an unfair or clandestine way, steal, appropriate, purloin, take, lure away.
The Poacher came forward from the back of the room and glided upon the stage. He whispered a few words into the speaker’s ear and gently placed his hand on the orator’s microphone. Immediately the minister offered the man the platform.
In a soft, smooth voice the Poacher began with a prayer that amazed the congregation. He repeatedly referred to the people as “the remnant,” which made them feel righteous and honorable, instantly endearing them to himself. As he continued on, he spoke at length about building an army, God’s Remnant Army. An army that the LORD our God himself requested of this man to build, he stated. Afterwards, the people’s eyes lovingly watched him as he left the podium. Surely, he is a man of God, they perceived.
He knew these souls needed inspiration and they would surely serve him well. The left corner of the Poachers mouth lifted into a slight smirk and his eyes gleamed as he gracefully left the room. Glancing down at his watch his pace quickened. Another conference was on the schedule and he must get to the airport on time.
After a long flight the Poacher unpacked his suitcase at the hotel and promptly opened his laptop. Thirty-nine more books sold and thirteen additional people had signed up on his website. He regarded the last event rather successful, however his plan to impose on their minister’s graciousness was not finished. Not in the least. The Poacher’s aim was to artfully encourage him over several phone conversations to jointly plan other assemblies in the near future. Even though the minister preferred to correspond by email the Poacher knew that the spoken word always served him better whether in person or on the telephone. That was the only way he could control the conversation. He would be persistent at phoning him until assured he had achieved the minister’s trust. Unbeknownst to him, the Poacher was constantly on alert for things that irritated the minister, things that he could take advantage of in the future. He knew timing was crucial, yet he was patient.
After carefully contemplating the next morning’s conference he determined his best course of action would be to bring into play a certain honorable woman’s name he had recently come in contact with. Her name would surely grant him inclusion into the group he had been courting and become a springboard to open a door that had been locked for a long time. He was correct and within a short period of time that door swung wide open as these people trusted in that woman and her associate’s names. They had no idea he was deceiving them and exploiting hers and other’s names, as he was masterfully skilled as a manipulator.
Public interest and favor grew exponentially for the Poacher as he put to use the names of his most recent contacts to increase the perception of his honorability. He authored and co-authored more books, was invited to be a guest on prominent broadcasts, and together with the fore mentioned minister, prompted a wide-reaching conference be hosted. No one ever suspected he was in fact, a Poacher.
The conference hosts were overjoyed to be of service as they had taken pleasure in being associated with the minister, who had been long tried and true. While attending the minister’s last meeting they accepted the Poacher by association when the minister relinquished the microphone to him. As time went on the hosts invited other prominent people to speak at the upcoming conference and momentum increased with the hope of revival in the air. Sponsors came on board and people began to register and make travel arrangements. The Poacher now had access to new contacts and as he researched the other speakers and plagiarized their works, his followers increased and theirs slightly decreased. But it wasn’t enough. He needed division amongst the people so he could rise to the top.
The Poacher worked tirelessly on his new contacts and continued feeding the egos of his growing group of followers with the assurance that they where indeed “the remnant.” Surely, they wouldn’t be associated with him if they were not. In addition, if for some reason you removed yourself from association with him, your salvation was surely suspect. And all of his followers said, “Amen.”
When the opportunity arose to beat the sheep the Poacher recognized it immediately. Division and strife was finally close at hand, so he submitted a rod of chastisement to his minister friend whom he knew was easily irritated about specific things if they were presented correctly. Although quite ill at the time, he trusted the Poacher and ran to warn the sheep. A line was instantly drawn in the sand over the ambiguous issue and without delay division and strife arose. Eventually, the minister’s proclamation was deemed unjustified by many of the people involved. Damage was done to the relationships of those involved, but foremost to the minister who chose to wield the rod of chastisement, provided by the Poacher. Due to the minister rushing to a hasty conclusion by making a judgment based on insufficient evidence of intent and employing invincible ignorance by insisting on the legitimacy of only one possible interpretation despite contradictory facts, the Poacher had successfully positioned himself one step above the minister on his own ladder of success.
The minister eventually resolved to spending time alone with the Lord for a season did not embrace any telephone calls, not even the incessant ones from the Poacher. Clothed in whatever mask was necessary to further his goals of which he stated, “were of great value to the kingdom of God,” the Poacher continued to work the people on both sides of the fence. He gained more followers as the minister’s flock was in disarray and turning to him for fellowship, revelation and comfort. After all, the Poacher knew people were mostly naïve or disheartened and not eager to check the fruit of anyone, at least for the time being.
The hosts held the conference without either man as a speaker. It achieved distinction and was spoken about fondly by all those in attendance. Although the minister did not attend, the Poacher was there, standing at the back of the room. After a quick glance at his watch he headed for the airport and during the trip home he decided on the title for his next book, “The Fruit of the Spirit.” The left corner of his mouth lifted into a slight smirk and his eyes gleamed as he pondered the future. His work was not yet done.
By the Grace of God, go we.