Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pastors Poorly Dressed

On a recent flight to Texas I secretly watched a man. (Isn’t that what you do on planes? Watch people and pretend not to?)

He was clearly a pastor.

The white, button-down shirt was one clue – but there were more.

He had a big, black NIV Study Bible in his hand. And a big voice. And a big gut. And a big attitude. The flight attendant had to ask him several times to move back to his own seat... being a big man he kept moving to rows with two open seats so he could spread out. Then another passenger would board and the whole process of shifting around would begin anew.

Finally, he grumped back to his original seat, while the flight attendant gave a knowing glance to surrounding passengers.

Watching him reminded me of a conference I attended where pastors nearly crushed one another in a mad dash for a free Christian book. The irony was profound.

All of this made me wonder how my life stains the Gospel. Paul urges the early church to seek to “adorn the Gospel” by our good and loving behaviour, but too often I think I am a stained garment. And yes, it is all the worse since I am a pastor. I ought to lead by example, but my example can be misleading.

Watching that big man on that little plane was like looking in a mirror. The expressions of sin might be different, but too often I wear the same tarnished clothes. May God give grace to me and that man to “let [our] manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”