It’s funny to me how the atmosphere can change instantly when people find out you are a pastor or a pastor’s wife. In meeting new people, my husband and I do not always bring up that he is a pastor. It’s not because we are ashamed of his position. It’s because many times when people find out we are in ministry they do a freak out number on us and get all weird. That look of a “deer in the headlights” comes over these people and if there were a literal quotation bubble over their head it would read, “Oh crap, holy crap that is, I just cussed in front of the preacher and offered him a beer all in the same sentence!” This is usually followed by a running commentary on the wonderful things they have done in life to date.
Some people feel the need to list their family’s perfect church attendance history, amazing charitable giving, the fact that their Granddad’s Granddad was a preacher and other Christian sounding credentials. If the person had used any colorful language up to this point then usually it ceases immediately and there is awkward stumbling over words and a lack of eye contact. Many times the conversation ends with “see you at church on Sunday” even though they don’t even know the name or directions to the church.
But before I’m too quick to point a laughing finger and roll my eyes here I must be willing to admit that I do the same thing when I compare myself or find myself in the presence of someone I deem as more “spiritual” than me. Too often I am wondering what they think of me and I have to fight the urge to slip in a few spiritual accomplishments like the latest Bible Study we completed or a church event we just pulled off. There’s an element of wanting to impress. And it only reveals my struggle with pride and insecurity and throws me in the same boat as the stranger who just spouted off his/her top ten unrealistic church goin’ credentials.
I’m praying for a heart that is more interested with what Jesus thinks than what others think. I miss the mark quite often. So if you hear me listing what sounds like spiritual credentials please slap me upside the head in a holy kind of way. And remind me that there is no value in working hard to impress anyone….not even God, especially not God. He loves me and my quirky ways and there’ s nothing I can do that will make Him love me any more than he already does. And that reality should be my motivation in being interested with what he thinks instead of everyone around me.