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.