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.