Whoa! Did You Know That My Pastor Knows How to Mow Grass?
It’s that time of year again when the grass grows, the rains come and the sun shines down. Then, the cycle begins again. Green grass. Wet grass. High grass. All summer long, the cycle continues in many places and it is not unlike its indoor counterparts – laundry and dishes. Clean. Dirty. Clean. Dirty. Round and round we go!
While we know that the pastor’s family is just like any other family who needs to mow their lawn, clean their clothes and wash their dishes, some in our churches don’t ever see us doing ‘normal’ daily activities. No wonder we can sometimes be given an elevated status in some people’s eyes. Assumptions are made, and we end up being viewed as some type of ‘heavenly royalty.’
One fun memory that uncovered this disconnect from reality happened a few years ago. My hubby was sweating away in 90 degree heat while mowing our lawn. As he dutifully directed the mower first one way and then the other, he took notice of a car that passed by. He raised his hand in a friendly wave and kept on mowing. When he turned back to make the next pass, he was curious to see that same car now turning into our driveway - and out hopped a young boy. This curious 5-year old stood next to the car with his hands on his hips looking quite mesmerized to watch the grass mowing process.
As my husband neared the car, this young man's mother came out to join them in the driveway. Their conversation went something like this:
"Hey, Pastor Denny!" said the young boy still wide-eyed!
"Hi there, Josh!" replied his sweaty pastor.
"We just had to stop by" commented the young mother. "Josh was fascinated to find out that you were mowing your own grass. So, I thought I'd better let him witness the reality that his pastor knows how to work just as hard as his daddy does."
"How would you like an ice-cold water, Josh?" said Pastor Denny.
"Sure!" he replied with a big grin and as he watched the sweat trickle down his pastor's chest.
Josh soon had a bottle of water in his hands and got the lid off all by himself. My husband followed suit and they had a ‘male-bonding’ moment right there in the driveway. Just two hard-working boys taking time out of their day for a bit of refreshment and comradery.
What a wise young mother! Because of her insight, this young man witnessed a great teaching moment that day - one which many adult church members or attenders never really comprehend. Or, one in which some pastors (sad to say) aren't displaying in their homes, churches or communities.
It doesn’t matter if our work ethic is seen by mowing the grass, changing a diaper, setting a table or emptying a trash can. What matters is if others see their pastor (and his wife) as a part of the team. Not someone to be looked up to – on the proverbial pedestal - but someone who is willing to get dirty right alongside of others.
As ministry leaders, it is imperative that we work side by side with our church family. There shouldn't be anything that we ask them to do that we’re not willing to do ourselves. Washing dishes, cleaning floors, flushing toilets, teaching classes, sharing musically, praying. You name it! Does the church family see you as a part of their team, or do they assume that your role is either as a spectator or a foreman - willing to hand out duties or cheer someone on, but not willing to get your hands dirty?
From time to time, we all would be wise to think through what witness we are projecting to the church body - young and old. Are we lazy saints waiting on others to serve us, or are we laboring (maybe even sweating) for the Lord? Where are we investing? When is the last time we went the extra mile? Balance is key as there is always more work than any one of us has any business getting involved in. But, we need to stay in the game!
My husband loves to mow and push snow. Yours may not. It’s not the particular activity that matters, but rather the reality of investing in our homes, family and church as much as we would like to see others investing as well. If we don’t lead the way, how will the church and our children know what servanthood, hard work and sacrifice really look like?
Ask God to reveal to you this week any area that may be a little weak or bordering on entitlement. Our hearts may show humility before the Lord, but are we living our faith before others as well? People are watching. Children are watching. The Lord is watching. What kind of servant do they see?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24