I think that that is a funny, slightly clever saying. I have been “that” pastor more than a few times.
It’s a weird feeling. I walk into a gathering, such as a reception after a funeral, or something. People are “doing their thing”, and when I walk in I hear things like, “Oh, excuse my language pastor, or, I know I shouldn’t smoke, or….they look at me and look away sheepishly, imagining that I think they are horrible or something.
I always feel weird. I am “there” artificially. I am not part of their world, except when someone dies, or gets married, or some other “un”usual reason. I’m glad to be there, but it is awkward to be the one who changes things simply by being there. I know that as a Christian, I am to be salt and light, etc., but sometimes I feel like a parole officer in a drug house.
Sometimes I respond verbally. Something like, “Hey, it doesn’t bother me if you smoke”, or, I just smile back sheepishly. It’s weird for me. I’m trying to be invisible, but I’m pretty sure I’m not.
I am not a choir boy. I actually had a very different life before I was a Christian. I’m not shocked at a lot of stuff. I don’t cover my mouth and gasp at the sight of such things. I know…it’s hard to believe.
I appreciate the respect and deference that people show me because I’m a pastor. That’s a cool thing. I might try to dodge their smoke, not get any alcohol on me, and sit down and hang out with them, and get to know them. It rarely happens that way, in those kinds of gatherings, but it’s all good. Sometimes I get to connect with people, but often times, folks don’t wanna be seen with the likes of me.
If I could say a few things to them (and sometimes I do), it would be something like this:
“Thanks for saying that. I appreciate that. It doesn’t bother me. Actually, I’m not the one you need to worry about. I’m not your judge, God is. He loves you, and he is the one you need to think about, not me, but thanks”.
Somehow, many people have gotten the idea that drinking and smoking are deal breakers with God. I recently told one guy to not quit drinking or smoking unless Jesus inspired him to. Just come to church, listen, and be open, and then make up your own mind.
Gosh, I know a lot of Christians, including pastors, that were drinking and smoking and doing other stuff when they came to Jesus. It seems like some of us have forgotten that.
Anyway, to all my future acquaintances: don’t worry about me. If I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll leave the room. But honestly, Jesus is the One you need to think about.
Cheers! Where’s the Martinelli’s?