The following is from a good friend of EBA. It is a telling story of why pastors should spend as much time as they can out of the office and in the public.
Alright, so I’m wandering around town.
I bump into my friend who’s recently out of jail from a DWI charge. He
can’t get work, so he’s in Radio Shack looking at Robosapien (very cool by
the way). He tells me he needs to walk over to where his mother is, since
it’s time to meet her. When we meet his mother, she asks me what I’m
doing–in that tone that says, “Why aren’t you in your office?” I tell her
I make more pastoral contacts at the barber shop than I do in the office.
By the time I’m done explaining it (she’s really receptive as I’m explaining
it, btw) four people have walked up to me and said “Howdy, preach” so I can
say to her, I’ve made six pastoral contacts in 3 minutes. She then tells me
to help my friend, her son, to get a job.
They leave. As I’m walking back to my car, a friend in a truck pulls over
and says, “I can’t believe I’m seeing you right now.” This guy is salt of
the earth type–typical FCC testosterone bubba–he’s always flat broke but
happy. He says, “I just got a $1500 cash payment and if I don’t give this
to you right now, I’ll lose it before Sunday.” Then he spits in his
styrofoam cup and hands me $150. I tell him that you shouldn’t give
preachers cash. He says that he doesn’t want a receipt. I tell him no. He
tells me that it’s my Christmas present then and if I want to use it like he
wants me to, then I’ll give it to someone who needs it, and he doesn’t care
if I decide that I’m the one who needs it. I take it.
OK, so I’m in my car and going to the next place–get the flattop haircut to
finish off my outfit for our “Basic Training” weekend this weekend with our
youth (a pastor’s class–kinda confirmation-y weekend for you baby dippers).
We’ll put every teenager in the church for two days and see if anyone lives.
The ones that do we’ll baptize. Something like that.
Anyway, I get a call from my friend that finds people. He’s found one, he
There’s a guy who’s a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering and his wife who was
born blind and their house burned down a few years ago. That sent them into
his RV to live. Then after a few months, he had a stroke. He has paralysis
in his right side. He works in the oil field on contract and his contracts
dry up because of his paralysis. He’s lost everything. He starts an
internet/sales business that works well enough to get by when both he and
his wife are hit with the next wave of health problems.
They’re now living with their three children–the youngest is six months–in
a pay by the week hotel. He’s lost his internet business because he can’t
get on. They are flat broke.
He needs a wireless card–the hotel has wireless. He can’t do the labor
himself, because he’s half paralyzed and his wife is blind (wasn’t there a
Speed Racer episode about this?) He needs a $65 part and the install will
be about the same.
My friend that’s telling me this says, “What can we do?”
I tell him to go pick up the DWI guy who can’t get work–remember, the guy
playing with Robosapien–he’s a tech geek. So buddy number three picks up
buddy number one and they go get the part and install it. And from buddy
number two, I give them $65 to cover the part. I give tech guy $50 for
doing the install. I tell them to give the remaining $35 to the family in
the hotel room.
When they go back to the hotel room to give the guy $35, he freaks out. He
can’t believe that in less than a day he’s up and running his business again
and he has a little bit of cash to get him by until the cash flow starts again.
He tells my buddies that he’s got vacuum cleaners in storage–his internet
business is high end hepa something er other vacuums and he takes trade
ins. The guys feel uncomfortable about accepting the vacuums, so they give
me a call. When I talk to him, I tell him about this GenX guy I know from
the coffee shop that sells people’s stuff through Kerrbay.net. He’s
thrilled. I have Kerrbay.net call him to confer, then the paralyzed guy
calls me back. My Kerrbay buddy has already agreed to consign the vacuums
and will give him some cash this week.
He tells me that I absolutely must take two vacuums. The two best ones.
Why? He says, “Come to the Lord with your first fruits.” First time he’s
mentioned that he’s a Christian. (He still doesn’t know I’m a pastor.) I
tell him who I am. He tells me to either give the vacuums away or to keep
’em at the church. The vacuums are Dysons. I tell him that my wife runs
the nursery and has requested one nursery gift this Christmas.
A vacuum. (Man, make my wife happy, what a deal.)
Tonight, my DWI buddy calls me. He tells me when I put the $50 in his hand
he started to give it back. Then he said, “I remembered. I haven’t put
anything in the offering plate since before I went to jail.”
He’s choking up. “I can’t wait until Sunday.”
I didn’t get that original giver to put that cash in the plate. But some of it will make it there. Along with a couple of Dysons.
God’s economy. Hmm. Go figure.
And get out of your office.”
First Christian Church