A Tragedy and an Epiphany

I preached a sermon at church last Sunday, and I hope to get the full transcript of it posted soon. I didn’t quite complete the manuscript before I started condensing it into an outline, so I will have to go back and finish the manuscript with what actually came out of my mouth.

Yesterday I went to the memorial service of a little girl who died tragically in a car accident, just two days before her eighth birthday. Her family is friends with Mary’s family (I have met the girl’s aunt and grandparents), and so I went. It was very sad, but also hopeful: the little girl knew Jesus and her family looks forward to being reunited with her someday. I’m thankful for the support that the community has shown the family – it looked like there were over 1,000 people there yesterday – and I hope that some who are far from God would be drawn near as they contemplate this tragedy.

After the service, I was milling around with Mary and her parents when a man came up to me and asked if I had preached at the Covenant church the day before. I said yes, and he said it was “awesome.” I’m very thankful that he decided to come up to me and give me the compliment, but as I reflected on it I thought the interaction was more momentous than just the giving and receiving of a compliment. If I’m a pastor, I thought, I’m a public figure, and there is at least the potential for people to recognize me wherever I go.

This means I really need to make sure I don’t act like a jerk to people. I need to not be rude or impatient when I am waiting in line, at a store, or in traffic. Of course, it’s always important to make sure I don’t act like a jerk, but this interaction drove it home to me that now I am accountable in a way that I didn’t necessarily ask for. Becoming a pastor doesn’t necessarily make me on a higher, holier plane than any other Christian, but I am already much more in the public eye than I used to be, and I should be conscious of that.

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2 thoughts on “A Tragedy and an Epiphany

  1. Dawn February 7, 2009 / 6:01 am

    This is a great thing to be aware of. And I don’t ever picture you being rude to anyone. So I think you’ll be okay.

    I can relate, somewhat, to that fishbowl mentality, being Youth Guy’s Wife. Everyone knows me, so I have to watch myself. It can be tiresome at times.

  2. elliot February 8, 2009 / 8:36 am

    Dawn,

    Oh, you’d be surprised who I can be rude to. Everybody gets tired and impatient sometimes, including me.

    I’m sure it can be especially tiresome as Youth Guy’s Wife since you didn’t necessarily choose that public role for yourself. In a way, though, it might be good to have such artificially high standards. After all, God sees everything anyway; it’s not like we’re going to get away with anything in the long run.

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