Pottersville and the Church  
By Ron Graham


Many of you will remember a movie that was released some decades ago, but is still viewed every year around Christmas. It deals with a small, sleepy little hamlet in upper New York state, but can be a useful analogy representing our times and the Christian Church today. In this little town there lived a man who ran a building and loan company. This small but functional business was the only barrier standing against the big, bad, greedy, and quite wealthy old ogre living in the town, who, being filled with hatred for his fellow man, was bent on destroying the lives of the town folk by running things his own way. Without George Bailey and the building and loan, old evil Mr. Potter would have corrupted the entire city and turned it into a den of immorality filled with every kind of vice imaginable.


The movie setting begins just before the Great Depression here in the U.S. and ends just after WWII. The small business struggles but through it all does a fine job of keeping the ogre at bay, until one day that little business underwent a serious financial crisis. As the story unfolds, George Bailey, the man running the building and loan, realizes he is unable to save the small business from ruin and collapse, and comes to a place in his seemingly insignificant life where he believes his family and friends would be better off if he had never been born. Of course it would please old Mr. Potter to no end to finally be rid of this little pebble in his shoe once and for all.


Out of nowhere appears an angel named Clarence who, after some hair raising and torturous escapades, convinces this man that his life has value, much more so than he could ever realize on his own. George Bailey was given a gift by God to see what his sleepy little town, Bedford Falls, would be like if he had never been born, and instead it was named Pottersville after the old ogre, Henry F. Potter.


The town George Bailey had grown up in had taken on a completely different characteristic because George wasn’t there. It was now a den of inequity, bustling with all forms of perverse pleasure palaces and seething with greed and malice. His sleepy little hamlet was now completely unrecognizable, and George himself was a non-entity in Pottersville.


As Clarence brings George back to reality he starts to realize that he and his ways, his morals and lifestyle, along with his building and loan business is the only thing that is restraining evil from taking over his city. He was exuberant about being returned to face the music of whatever was to happen to him, and he didn’t even think twice about it. He just knew his place was in that town, with his family, running that little business and keeping the evil Potter at bay.


Christians, we are that man living in that sleepy little hamlet, and it’s us, the Church, the body of Christ, who are the only barriers, as was that little building and loan business, that are to keep evil from completely taking over our land. We may lose elections, and experience all types of disappointments, and become discouraged, and like George Bailey being in such financial turmoil, become so despondent that we feel like giving up. We might even associate with George in that we come to believe we too have lost our usefulness. For the Christian, giving up is not an option. We must go back and face the consequences of our past decisions.  


No matter who wins elections, God’s plan is not finished. We are still here and will remain until He is through with us. Believers are the only thing that is restraining the pervasiveness of evil from permeating our land and this world as a whole. Nothing else can do what we are doing and we are only able to be that restraining force through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


Once George realized his purpose in life he no longer wanted to run from his responsibilities. We too have responsibilities here on earth. As Christians we’ve taken on God’s name and are now held accountable to do our part for His kingdom. We are all in our little hamlets and working at restraining evil. This isn’t an easy task, and there is almost no glory involved. We aren’t going to be recognized by man for continuing our steadfastness in our faith, but God sees all we do and is pleased as we stand firm on His name, unashamed and relentless in our pursuit of righteousness.


Christians can see things that the unbelieving world is blind to. This phenomenon is called discernment and it is a great asset to us in our walk with Christ while we remain here in this world. This phenomenon comes to those of us who have completely turned our lives over to Christ. The more of yourself you give Him the more He’ll give you in the form of discernment. We don’t need an angel to come and tell us where we’ve gone wrong, or in what direction to head now, although that would be wonderful. We have God’s word to study; His word gives us the insight and His Holy Spirit gives us all the power we need to walk with boldness in the face of adversity.


George Bailey experienced a fictional supernatural phenomenon but we believers can look at the story and we can substitute ourselves in that story. The supernatural phenomenon we experience will be true and powerful. George was tempted by old man Potter to come to work for him for a huge amount of money, but this offer was only a ruse to get rid of what was restraining evil Mr. Potter from owning and running the town his way. As George was nearly persuaded to accept Potters offer and was reaching to seal the deal by shaking old evil Mr. Potter’s hand something told him he was making a huge mistake, George didn’t fall for Potters chicanery. This is exactly what happens to believers as we are tempted to take the easy road that leads to destruction; we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to say no to the ogre (Satan) and follow God instead.  


By now, everyone should know I’m speaking about the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I watch this movie every year as Christmas approaches, but this year it dawned on me how similar it was to our own life adventures. I see the enemy approaching our town with his temptations and trappings, and many of my brethren are completely unaware of the evil intent in his heart. Unlike George Bailey, the owner of the building and loan, many of my brethren are falling for the good life offered by the evil tempter.


So what comes next for my town and yours? Will we be sucked into the deception as others who profess to be followers of Christ have been? I hope and pray that a remnant will stand fast on the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.


First of all, we must continue steadfast in our prayer life. We must not think for a moment that God isn’t listening to our prayers. He is listening to them and answering them as well. We may not take comfort in the majority of citizens of our town making the choice they did of a new leader, but the Christian Church is still the restrainer doing its part to uphold God’s laws and precepts. And as such, He will continue to use us in extraordinary ways.


I’m not fooled by all the hoopla from the far left media pundits and activists, and I know there are many like me who will stand for Jesus. I’m not in any way advocating revolution or any other type of anarchy. All I’m saying is use your God given talents to discern the truth of what’s happening now, in this increasingly foreign country, and stand fast on your faith. I’m convinced, as I’m sure many of you are, that very soon now God will remove His Church from this world. When that happens, all Hell will break lose. The restrainer will accompany us to Heaven and there will be nothing holding back evil from spreading like wildfire across the late great planet earth. As the man and his little business temporarily disappeared and was replaced by Pottersville, so shall the Church temporarily disappear from this world, being replaced by the antichrist and all forms of evil.


Don’t get caught up in the excitement of a new leader coming to town and let down your guard. Stay close to your Savior Jesus and keep reading your Bibles, and lest ye forget, “…then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28.


God bless you all,


Ron Graham