Friday, September 14, 2007

"Cushy" Jobs I've Had

I'm still laughing this morning about a statement someone once made to me about me having a "cushy" job. Of course the person who made the statement to me recently, understood full well the incongruence of the statement he had made for he too is a preacher.

Really, It happens to preachers all the time. I heard a man say once, "I wish I was a preacher - then I'd only have to work 3 hours a week. I'd have people bringing me food from their gardens, either taking me home with them on Sunday - or taking me out to a restaurant on Sunday - get to sleep in on Monday mornings - and basically have nothing else to do until Wednesday night."
So - what are some of the things we do in this "cushy" job? Well, here is a composite situation Not too long ago, I was invited to go to a church in Virginia to be their missions speaker. My directions were that I was to preach in two churches in the area. So, after a phone call to the pastor (whom I had never met before) I was instructed to stop at this certain motel to spend the night, then come on to the church the next morning as he was busy with other things. The motel turned out to be one of those quaint older places built in the 1940's which had two rows of four rooms each, laid out in a "V" formation with the office separate and in front of the V. Outside it is covered with faded and peeling battleship grey paint. I notice that the door lock has been pried open with a wrecking bar and now the lock barely hangs on the door jamb inside. Thank God I brought along my trusty rubber door stop which I use to slide under the door from inside, thus giving me a feeling of security. The carpet on the floor is "shag" in a burnt orange/dirt brown color. There is a green mold ring in the commode. The place smells sour. But there is a TV! So I turn it on and look around for the remote, only to find that there is none. It really is not needed since the TV only has three channels that work. PBC, ABC, and CBS. The shower was good! Someone had put one of those great big showerheads on and there was good water pressure.
Next morning I arrived early at the church and went to the parsonage next door as I had been instructed to do on the phone the night before. The pastor welcomed me in and motioned that I should take a seat. He proceeded to tell me that they did not need any "faith promise cards" which I always used in order to give the people a way to declare how much they wanted to give over the coming year towards my project. He also let me know that his people did not want a "movie"! "They want you to preach the Word a' God!" Then the Pastor asked where I was going to be that night. When I told him, he responded with "No. You are not. That man don't want you to come to his church - besides there are only a few of them." This man was the district pastor so I did not argue. As you may imagine, I left the parsonage and went to the pulpit with a heavy heart. (What a cushy job!) But it wasn't all bad. I opened my Bible to Matthew 9:36, 37 and preached my heart out. Afterwards the pastor asked publicly if I might have some pledge cards and would I let his church have them so they could get involved in this project in Africa.
That night I went to another church where the Pastor had told me that his church wanted the King James Version to be used. No problem. Then he also asked on the phone, "Brother - do you wear ear rings?" "No!" I said. "Well, do you wear a wedding band?" "Yes, I do" was my response. Then he said, "Well, my people will appreciate it if you will take it off and put it in your pocket." So, rather than offend anyone, I took my wedding band off for that service. (Romans 14)
Yep, I've got it made. Real "cushy" job here.

Now - let me conclude by saying that this is not the way I get treated ALL of the time. In fact it is an honor to me that so many pastors open their pulpits up to me and allow me to take my liberty in presenting the case for world missions. I've been treated like royalty; stayed in some of the finest hotels money can buy; and walked into rooms which had a basketfull of fruit and snacks which had notes of encouragement mounted on top, thanking me for doing what I do. I have had to "learn to abound" more than I have had to learn to be abased. I'm deeply grateful to God for allowing me this privilege.


Tabitha said...

That makes coming to this little church in Jefferson City sound good. You can wear your wedding band, earrings, nose ring, etc. and even preach in your blue jeans if you want to. I love you! And even in Jeff City it isn't a cushy job. Especially at the end of the month! :)

Travelin' On said...

HA this is good. I didn't think preachers anywhere still asked about the jewelry thing. I got that once in a puppet revival and was asked by the pastor if me and my cohort could please remove our necklaces so that we would be better witnesses.
Oh me!
Cushy Cushy Cushy indeed....

Lowell Brannen said...

Fred, you are in the right place doing the right job. God knew you were the man to handle those "exceptional" people. I think the missions department will be the loser when you retire, but don't worry, God will provide for them. Those "eccentric" people are fewer now than they were. You must write a book so future preachers will be encouraged when things like that happens to them.

toothsleuth said...

You know, some people would read this and be surprised that people and places like that still exist. But not me! Oh no, I remember a few places like that! I'm so happy that God doesn't get hung up on things so small as what jewelry we have on that day. I think some people just need to realize that this world is so much bigger than they are, and believe it or not, God is still in control of all of it!!! Love, Jennifer

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton