Monday, November 19, 2007

The Auction

We sold our teenagers last night. We portioned them out in three hour increments. Their going price was based upon domestic skill, charm, and brawniness. One of them flexed while he was up front (that raised the bid five dollars); most of them smiled and shuffled. I probably would've ducked.

They could bake cakes and do laundry. They could rake leaves and fix computers. The money went to the church for youth conference. Any on-site injuries would be billed to the purchaser. I sat to the side, upping bidders and buying little.

When the auction broke for refreshments and a game, I changed seats. I scooted next to a girl who'd raised a modest fare and asked, "How did it feel to stand up there?"

"It was awful," she replied.

I could imagine:
standing in front of a group of work-weary church people;
getting evaluated on your skills/talents/trade;
receiving donated money for your service;
wondering if you're worth the cash;
wondering if you're worth the votes.

I know a guy who deals with that each week. And he doesn't even bake cookies.

There are all kinds of pressures on the preacher, both from within and without, to be all kinds of other things and to speak all kinds of other words. To speak the truth with love is to run the risk always of speaking only the truths that people love to hear you speak, and the preacher's temptation, among others, is to deal with those problems only to which there is, however complex and hard to arrive at, a solution. The pressure on the preacher is to be topical and contemporary...But he must remember the ones he is speaking to who beneath the clothes they wear are the poor, bare, forked animals who labor and are heavy laden under the burden of their own lives let along the world's tragic life. (Buechner, Telling the Truth; 34)

Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Jesus)

1 comment:

Warriorofprayer said...

being a pastor must cause lots of pressure. Sometimes though, it just takes a few simple words to make a big difference. You don't have to make a big huge giant speech on something to impress people. its the context that matters. no matter how small of a speech you give the holy spirit will make it worth something to somebody or more. Also the world can be tragic but there are those little things in life that make it worth living. life isn't all bad even if at times it can be because of the things we bear or have burden from. All we can do is trust in the lord and give him our aches and pains. it makes a huge difference.