Failing the Meek Test

In my hope, if not zeal, to move forward in the Lord and better prepare to serve, I picked a challenging book from my shelf, ‘Studies in the Sermon on the Mount’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is a lengthy volume, nearly 700 pages, each chapter full of godly wisdom, inspiration, and scriptural insights.

At the same time, I happen to send books out to an elderly Hispanic couple, Pastor Alfred and Edna Fernandez*, relatives of my husband. These are also godly books, written by another beloved Bible teacher, Zac Poonen. Edna’s books I sent from my home however Pastor Alfred’s were ordered through a church as they were Spanish translations.

Ten days later, Edna’s books are lost in the mail and oddly, the PayPal payment for Pastor Alfred’s books remains “pending”, unable to process. It was a $10 purchase, from Fellowship Church, with a memo to payee, “for books ordered for Alfred Fernandez”. PayPal sent me an email indicating that, due to security measures, they cannot forward payment as requested. They required documentation, such as the DOB of Alfred Fernandez.

W H A T ? This must be some computer glitch in their system. I was sure this would be cleared up when PayPal office opened Monday morning.

Meanwhile, I read and reviewed the first chapters of Lloyd-Jones book, “…The meek man likewise does not demand anything for himself. He does not take all his rights as claims. He does not make demands for his position, his privileges, his possessions, his status in life…He is not always on the defensive….” We’re not only to avoid anger, but control our lips and speech. Of course, the chapter was chock full of more and woven into the ‘Poor in Spirit’ and ‘Those Who Mourn’ chapters. Altogether humbling and worthy of much meditation and self examination.

Monday morning, after reviewing my chapters, I called PayPal, and inquired about pending payment and their “required documentation”. “Why does this remain ‘pending’?” The rep replied, “this is a security matter”. A security matter? “I am paying a church ten dollars for books going to an elderly pastor, what’s the security issue here?” When the matter became futile, I asked for a supervisor. Surely this would be cleared up when further reviewed.

“I see from the notes here that you’re calling about a pending payment. It is under investigation for security reasons.”

“This is so bizarre! I am sending ten dollars to a church to pay for books sent to an elderly pastor. I only mentioned it in the payee memo for clarity. How can this be a security issue? And why did PayPal email me, requiring personal information for the name on the memo? How could that be relevant to my purchase?”

“I cannot tell you more, it is a government stipulation.”

A government stipulation? What’s the government stipulation?’

“I’m not at liberty to share that information. If you want further information, you’ll need to contact our legal department with a subpoena.”

“What, I need a lawyer? I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Can you just cancel the payment?”

“No, it can’t be canceled.”

“W A I T one minute here. My payment cannot be cancelled, cannot be processed; it is being investigated for “security reasons” based on a “government stipulation” and I’m not allowed to know what this government stipulation is? I’m required to give personal information on a name noted on the payee memo – what if I wrote ‘books ordered for Joe Biden?'”

If I had any meekness, it surely quickly drained….I went on…

“Let me ask YOU,” I feel the hammer in my voice, “What do you think? Do you personally agree that this is normal and right that…

  • I ordered books from a church for an elderly pastor.  I indicated for payee what the payment was for. 
  • PayPal requires me to send documents with the book recipient’s personal information. 
  • Sending ten dollars to a church started an investigation, based on a “government stipulation” to which I must comply but I am not allowed to know what it is.
  • And, if I want to know what this ‘government stipulation is’ I must get a lawyer and file an subpoena.   
  • I cannot cancel the payment, nor can it be processed.

“Now let me ask you, do you yourself think this is reasonable?  Do you yourself agree with this?”

“Yes,” she replied, “I do”.

“You do? You really agree with this?  Agh, fine!  Keep the pending payment on my account forever, for the rest of my life.  I can easily send a check to this church and pay for these books!”

Even as I was pounding these points, my heart was pressed with these points:  Firstly, just mentioning words like ‘church’, and ‘pastor’ brings a connotation of ‘Christian’.  Am I sounding like a representative of Christ?  Secondly, while this is appears totally unreasonable and unjust, this is nothing at all compared to the ‘government stipulations’ that will come with an antichrist government, especially against the church, pastors, and brethren. 

Dr. Lloyd-Jones also writes, “Meekness is compatible with great strength.  Meekness is compatible with great authority and power…defenders of the truth.  The martyrs were meek, but they were never weak…”

Perhaps my position was right, but my delivery was not meek.  Having failed the meekness test, I suppose I need stay in that class until I pass the next test! 

Oh Lord, help me to prepare for days to come and for Your return!  

24 thoughts on “Failing the Meek Test

  1. Great post, Lisa Beth. It’s so difficult to put many of the Bible’s commandments into actions. The one that gets me is Philippians 1:27: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in the manner worthy of the gospel Christ.”

    Ugh, that’s a tough one. Well, at least there’s one positive: We can always do better next time.

    Continue forging on, Lisa Beth!

  2. Read his SOM and his meekness chapter, praise God for His grace. I fail the meek test often. As to PayPal, I had my own run in with them as of late. Was a good lesson to remind me that big tech has NO soul and doesn’t care about morals or ethics, only pleases itself and agenda. With that said, Amen to your prayer and Jesus’s preparing His people for the days to come! Praise God that when He deems fit, Jesus will return!

    • You’re such an encouragement Mandy, thank you! I initially thought to write a book review, had it in mind to have a book section on my blog.
      But I guess the book reviewed me instead! 😮

      • “had it in mind to have a book section on my blog.
        But I guess the book reviewed me instead!”
        Funny how those things happen.
        I don’t know of many people who would have passed that test. I think expectations make a huge difference. You probably weren’t expecting a ten dollar issue to be so complex and unreasonable, so it caught you off balance.
        P.S. I mailed one of my books to someone yesterday. She’s mailing me a check.

  3. While I enjoy Pastor MLJ’s sermons, there are times when a G-Dly assertiveness is appropriate. Look at it this way, meek isn’t weak. Yes, I know, it does require a display of respect. Didn’t sound like you swore and threatened and jumped up and down throwing a tantrum. . .

    You’re questions were valid. PayPal is being unreasonable.

    Of the things Jesus said and did, one thing is sure, he didn’t back down from a fight against foolishness. He called out the Pharisees, saying they were white-washed tombs, vipers. He drove sellers and money changers from the Temple plaza–and He used a whip.

    I also understand how after some interchange such as you’ve experience, it just feels as though you could have backed off, not said anything, let it go. There’s a haunting that overtakes. Been there, done that. Let that go, too, in prayer.

    I’m trying to get over being a doormat. We’ve been taught that way. Submission. Don’t say anything. Turn the other cheek. Don’t question “authority.” Yet there has to be a way to also stand firm when things don’t seem to add up. And to do so all while still being “Christian” about it.

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

  4. Dear Beth, thank you for sharing and reminding us of how our Lord faced the atrocities of His day and all so that we may face them in our days. We are dependent on His Holy Spirit that we might walk in His footsteps. Blessings.

  5. Lisa Beth I love the way you write! I had to laugh because I could so relate. Been there recently and have been very upset with myself. I didn’t say anything horrible, but the tone in my voice could have, should have, been gentle. It wasn’t. In retrospect I can “feel the hammer in my voice”. This is after I had previously warned myself to count to ten when dealing with this particularly contentious person. I forgot. Sometimes we think we’re the only one that this happens to. Thank you for being so honest. It ministered to me.

  6. Wonderful post, Lisa Beth, with great Bible teaching complete with illustration. 🙂 Praise the Lord for His grace. The Lord has been using my medical insurance company as my training ground on these types of issues. It is an unpleasant school, indeed. In His wisdom, the Lord seems far more concerned with my character formation than with shielding me from trials or resolving what I perceive as issues, LOL. I’m afraid I am a slow learner and have not yet graduated from meekness school either, but I have come to hold it in esteem and recognize the virtue of its qualities. I’m reminded of Tozer’s little book, “The Pursuit of God”, and his chapter on the blessedness of possessing nothing (much akin to meekness). Anyway, thank you for sharing. It is indeed an encouragement.

    • It’s good to hear from you brother, thank you for sharing your experience. The Lord’s “schools” do seem unpleasant but
      I know He has good, even eternal, reasons to enroll us. I’m sure you’re further along than you think!
      Tozer’s book is such a classic, I think I’ll pull it off the shelf again.
      Thanks again Craig, may the Lord continue to encourage and inspire you.

  7. Unbelievable but believable. Anything that sounds Christian will be attacked. The Lord did say that just as they hated Him, they would hate us also. The American Center for Law and Justice deals a lot with incidents like these. May the Lord fill us each day with the fruits of the Spirit. God bless you Lisa Beth.

  8. Lisa…
    I’ve learned to trust and thank God in alll situations….but…I find your experience chilling.
    Thank you dear friend for your well written blog.

    • Dorothy, it’s so good to hear from you! I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for your encouraging comments. Will be praying for you and your family today.

  9. Answering your question: Weekend went well! Flew back on Home from Colorado on Saturday since I was helping my sister move, prepared finished my study, preached on Sunday, cleaned up the church till late afternoon and slept like a baby Sunday night!

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