Please understand that I really love what I do! There are so many rewards to being a pastor that I truly am blessed for being able to serve as people's spiritual leader.
But occasionally something happens when I wish I wasn't a pastor. Being a pastor, I need to behave in ways that show an example of God to people: If someone sees me behaving in an un-Christian like way, I could be causing them to stumble and I don't want that. But occasionally I would like to show the Sodom and Gomorrah side of God! Here's what I mean.
I had to return a purchase to a store. I turned into the parking lot to find a place to park my minivan. You see, I'm still in the soccer mom phase of life and have to haul my kids, their friends and all of their stuff from place to place.
I pulled into a stall that was a tight squeeze. On one side was a huge truck with those tires that lift the vehicle about 50 feet off of the ground and the other side was one of those smart cars. The smart car hadn't pulled in straight and the driver's side tires were on the dividing line. I pulled in and had to back up to straighten my car around so I would be in the center of the stall. It was a tight fit but I managed to get in the stall.
I got out and went to the passenger side of my van to retrieve the item to return when the window of the smart car went down and a woman - holding a venti size Starbucks cup - started chewing me out. "Do you know that you almost hit me?! Do you know how close you came?! Do you know where the front end of you car was?! I was scared you were going to hit me!"
Now I admit, I probably did come close to her car. But there was no need to overreact like she did. I apologized to her and told her that yes, I did know where the front end of my car was. That obviously wasn't enough to appease her because she continued to go on and on about my skills. And after I went into the store, I saw her get out of her car and examine her car as if I might have actually hit it without her being able to feel or see it.
Immediately I began to think of everything I could have said to her. I believe that we need to be good stewards of our planet and need to take care of it. However, smart cars are glorified golf carts and I'm not completely convinced they need to be on the road with other cars. Regardless of this, if someone driving one isn't able to park this tiny thing squarely in a parking space, perhaps they are the one with the driving issue. I could have pointed the fact out to her that had she not been parked on the line, there wouldn't have been an issue.
I could have told her that while she was waiting to go into the craft store to get her supplies for a day of scrap booking or card making or jewelery designing, I was on my way to hold the hand of a man as he died and help his family plan a memorial service. While she was sipping her venti white chocolate macchiato, I would be dealing with the resignation of the church organist. While she thought all of her daily activities were so important, they paled in comparison with what I had on my to-do list for the day.
I could have really overturned the tables of her temple just as Jesus did with the money changers!
But I didn't. Instead, I meekly accepted her rant, apologized and left. Because this is the example the Christ showed us.
I've often wondered if the humanity of Jesus made him want to react differently. Did he ever want to say to people, "Look. You need to get out of my face. Or else I'm going to prove that 'to dust you shall return' thing to be true."
He never did, though. He allowed people to mock him, to spit upon him and to hit him all the way to Calvary. He showed us the ultimate example of how to love people by not fighting back. That is his challenge to us.
Now if I could just find a substitute for a smart car!