I get no respect
February 24, 2009, 22:31
Filed under: Christ

mot70Last Sunday I preached my heart out over Nathan and David and Psalm 51, and most of all Jesus and the Good news.  I went a little over, unusually,  but then we started a little late too.  I had done my homework and prepared a message to soften the heart of the unreformed and uplift the heart of the saints!  As soon as I closed in prayer I lifted my head and saw, in the very back row, scorecards.  Yes, held high above the heads of the “back row boys”  were white placards with numbers to indicate my “performance”.  I am a serious guy so I took this seriously,  and I thought at first I did OK.  A 7.5  from a rough scoring judge, and to my delight, a 9.  Unfortunately the guy with the 9 looked up at the score, held up his index finger to me, and quite thoughtfully rotated his card until it read 6 and then nodded.  I was heartbroken!  Then they laughed and ditched the cards before the church started to mill for fellowship.  

I guess some might get angry,  or think this out of place in a house of worship, but I rejoice,  these guys are miracles.  9 into 6 guy I have known for 30 years.  He tried to join a church once and learn about the Lord,  but they told him Satan made fossils and to drink one beer meant damnation, also they taught anybody not in their little group pr at least in complete agreement with them was also hell bound.  So he quit.  Three years ago his uncle, a man he loved dearly died, and 9 to 6 invited me to do the funeral.   He has been at church ever since, and was baptized two summers ago as a believer in the gospel of Christ.

7.5  guy I have known and loved for over 30 years.  For decades we would debate the affairs of the cosmos.  Evolution, God, the bible, and I never won one argument.  Two years ago at Wednesday night prayer, we each took a name of someone we loved and prayed for salvation.  We prayed the Holy Spirit would quicken dead hearts.  I prayed for 7.5.  I have taught that God answers prayer.  I have had  God  answer prayer, but when this guy walked into church I could have dropped over.  He now describes himself as a Christian,  reads his bible as a believer not a critic,  prays,   and I hope will come forward for baptism.  I waited 30 years to get here, I am not hurrying the Holy Spirit on this one. 

So I am not mad,  I thank God they are there.  They take God seriously, but love to torture me.  That’s Ok.  They are not clowns, they dig into the sermon material and we often  go over the same scripture over coffee.  I am not there to get them to respect me,  my mission is being accomplished.

Today at the gas station I got further abused.  Harley man  stopped me. I haven’t  seen him in a while.  He and I met at the church about six  years ago when I was pulpit supply [again, long story].  I was walking around the huge wooded back lot behind our suburban church, and Harley appeared.  He had a rottweiler on a chain, and a gun on his hip. “If you step on my land I will shoot you!   If you are from that church, you are my enemy! I will sick this dog on you you S.O.B.”,  and many expletives were not deleted.  I informed him that if he liked his dog he would keep it under control,  and if he shot at me he bloody well better hit, as that would cause me to loose my religion, and I just might, maybe, shoot back.  He liked that.  We have been friendly ever since, and  he ended up leading  the movement to have a neighborhood peace dinner where the church apologized for offending and hurting the neighbors.  

So Harley started telling me he has a new God, Uff.  His heart is failing rapidly,  it is down to 6%.  Harley said his family said a novena, it did not help, he prayed to Jesus, and God, but they were “busy”.  So the Rottweiler told him to pray to the dog god Uff.  He did, and he feels better.  No respect, huh?  But I  know him.  He is calling me out.  He is dying, and figures if he proclaims out and out blasphemy I will respond. He is right.  I will be at his house to talk about Jesus,  thanks Uff. 

So I get no respect, but I do not deserve any either.  I will put on a clown nose [never did it],  sing like Elvis [ ok I have done that, kinda] , or stand in front of people to explain the unexplainable and attempt to describe the indescribable , [ I do it as often as possible] and do whatever it takes to get someone to grasp the Truth.

15 Comments so far
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It was your turn to touch my heart. I was preaching last Sunday from 1 Corinthians and hit chapter 4, where Paul talks about being put on display at the end of the procession and being a fool for Christ. I will be praying for your visit and for this man as well.
I have yet to have someone hold up scorecards, but there is at least one or two in my church who would probably do that to me too if they ever came across the idea.

Comment by jeofurry

Did they seriously do that? That’s crazy…and wow.

If it means much, you rank high in my book…thus far 🙂

Comment by Hope

Only someone who loved you dearly would dare do something like that.

Your visit with Harley will be in my prayers also. May God’s kingdom increase, and may we all be “fools” for Him.

Comment by Shawn W

Keep fighting the good fight, man.

Comment by Brian

Jeff, Do not let the flock read willohroots, bad influence!
Hope, yeah, they did it, Brutal, and 7.5 was my Best Man 29 years ago.
Brian, we all must stay in the battle, thanks for being here.

Comment by willohroots

I don’t think I have to worry about it. Most of them have probably never read my blog either so they don’t know about the “bad influences” I peruse online.

Comment by jeofurry

these guys may be your whole purpose.

Comment by graceshaker

You tell those good folks that when you are preaching, you are God’s mouthpiece and that whatever rating they give you…they give God.

(that ought to jump those points up a few notches! 😀 )

Comment by theoldadam

I can’t do that! I pray I am Spirit powered to preach [it is evident when I am not] but that sounds like a Jim Jones Quote! i want to be a pastor ,not a cult leader! Is that what they tell Lutherans? No wonder you guys are always feeling guilty! [ love ya steve]

Comment by willohroots


If you’re not speaking for God, then who are you speaking for? And what are you doing there?

Yes that is exactly what they teach us. The Bible is God’s Word for us, and the pastor or preacher is taking the written Word, making it relevant, or interesting, but NOT changing it.

I love you too, Bro!!

Comment by theoldadam

Old Adam, you have driven me into a stuttering fit! Every time I write something in response it sounds stilted or egotistical or legalistic. Let us begin with some basics. Preachers are human, very, very human. While we are to teach the Inspired Word of a perfect God, the possibility of error, or sin, or prejudice, or rebellion, or stupidity is always before us. In the effort to make relevant, or interesting[?], or more clear, it is entirely possible, if not probable, that some of the preachers opinion, personality, and faults will drift into the mix. As a baptist [small b] I do not claim infallibility, nor do I claim that while in the pulpit I am speaking “ex cathedra”. But I try, with all my heart and with the aid of the Holy Spirit to honor the post. I can however look back over the decades that it has been my honor to preach and see mistakes I have made in attitude, supposition, and interpretation. For these things I repent. see previous post.

Comment by willohroots


Who said anything about every jot and tittle coming out of your mouth to be perfect?!

You are a preacher of the Word. That Word is perfect, even though your words are not.

I’m not saying that you will get it exactly right everyime. But God will use your poor words towards His purposes. I mean, are any of us really up to the task?

Comment by theoldadam

oh, in that light, OK!

Comment by willohroots

You stand in the pulpit to preach a ‘word’ to those who will hear. Don’t even stop declaring the truth of Scripture – even if you do get a 6 from some guy. Because someone in the middle will be giving you a 10 because the Holy Spirit just convicted them with what you just said.

Comment by Jerald

Very cool. Uff. That’s brilliant.

Comment by brianmpei

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