I Was the Worst Pastor. Ever.
I’ve come to accept the fact that I may have been the worst pastor. Ever.
I never have been well adapted to people-pleasing. I’m not a good hand-holder, and I confess that even my own whininess at times exasperates me.
I never have been very fond of giving things in memory of someone, because rooms and tables and pews and books become too sacred for their own good when the name of a long gone loved one is attached.
I am pitiful when it comes to being able to simply sit and chew the fat for extended periods of time. I’ve been puzzled many a’times when I ended a lengthy visit and received the rejoinder, “You don’t have to leave so soon.”
I’ve been really rotten about keeping quiet when something needs to be addressed - even at the risk that I might not like the answer. I’ve been told not to talk about certain things, and have found that to be an irresistible invitation to find out why. “Sore subjects ‘round here” always seem better brought to the surface so they can be dealt with, but that is not at all a popular thing to do.
I’ve been a horrible keeper-of-the-flame when it comes to our favorite code words. I’ve noticed when we say, “We should be good stewards,” we tend to mean, “Faith is not a measure we should ever use when it comes to money.” We say, “God will do it if it’s His will,” when we mean, “I’m trying to give God an out because I don’t think He can do that.” And, when somethings fails because we didn’t put any prayer or effort into it, we dismiss it by saying, “It must not have been God’s will.” Oh, and I’ve been terribly insensitive when it comes to someone who says, “I tell it like it is.” What I hear, every single time is, “Your thoughts on this matter mean nothing to me, because I clearly have a corner on knowing what ‘is.’”
I’m feeling rather rotten about myself even in writing those things. I guess I could have been a better pastor, but it wasn’t God’s will.
I like to exam things, ask questions, put some light on things that have been left to mold and mildew in the dark. These are not popular character traits for a pastor.
When I found out that something was more important to someone than following Jesus, I became even more stubborn about not doing that thing. When someone wanted to be an idolator, even if that someone was me, I found it better to remove the object of our idolatry. And that is not a well-received thing to do. I’ve stepped on my own feet more than once.
I’ve spent way too much time concerned about the outsider, the one who really doesn’t belong here. I should have spent more time tending to the needs of the religious folk.
I’m just about the worst. But I’ll take that position, and wear its ignominy on my sleeve. I’ve noticed than whenever Jesus told it like it is, it really was that way. He talked a lot about being servants, being sacrificial, and He was all about kids and whores and tax collectors. He broke the biggest rules of the church; He touched the leper. I’ll bet he would have drank coffee in the sanctuary, too. He might have even sang a new song rather than an old one. But let's not get radical here.
Admittedly, many times I wanted to be a well-loved, well-honored, people-pleasing pastor. But that wasn’t ever what God seemed to have planned for me. I can't pat myself on the back thinking I did everything I was supposed to do; that's why I continue to move forward and listen for still small voices amidst roaring winds. Just like most everybody who reads this, some days I'll get it right, and some days, well, I'll just be thankful for the freshly fallen mercies all around me.
And if I have to be the worst, the last, the lowest, the least... I will do it well.