About a year or so ago I was sitting in a small restaurant waiting for some friends for lunch. As i sat there three people came in and sat about 6 or 7 feet away from me in the otherwise empty restaurant. They seemed to enjoy their time together and, as they finished their lunch, one of the gentlemen turned to the other man and that man's wife (I assume.) It turns out the first man was a preacher of some type and he was meeting these people to talk about faith and life. It was hard not to eavesdrop since he wasn't exactly speaking quietly.
Here are a few of the quotes that struck me- and were representative of the whole conversation:
This [being part of church] is supposed to be hard and costly.When I made a note about this on my smartphone, I then added this initial thought:
It will take away your peace.
It is service and service isn't supposed to be fun.
I'm not here to make people happy.
I sure wouldn't want him to be my pastor. Of course, maybe I wouldn't want Jesus either, I suppose. But there is something about what he was saying that makes me uncomfortable and that just doesn't sound like what I have understood the Christian life to be.
I affirm that none of the things this pastor said is something I can agree with.
What happened to Jesus' promise that the burden is light and the yoke easy?
Or His words of Peace be with you?
Why can't serving others be fun- fulfilling and joyous?
And while a pastor may be called to preach difficult words, I can't but believe that when one follows the God of Creation (and in my life, the Father of Jesus Christ), happiness will be more than fulfilling. It will be at a never-ending surplus.
Of course I could be wrong, but I think I'' take my chances with a God of grace any day.