Folks communicate with preachers in a variety of ways. Some do so via conventional means: Phone. Email. Voice mail. Letters, cards or memos. Personal appointments or drop-in visits. Church parking lot conversations and many more.
Others are considerably more creative: Notes scribbled on the back of anything and everything from Sunday. Papers slipped underneath the office door. Messages that are at least third hand by the time they get to the preacher. Those usually begin, “You probably already know this…”
I almost never “already know”!
Anything anonymous is seldom good. Thankfully, I’ve never had much of that.
Then there was the case of the mysterious book, a paperback left on my desk last week. Simplify Your Life, 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter was its title. Sounded interesting enough, and the loaner’s name was found inside the cover so it didn’t fall under the anonymous category.
So I read it. It was very much on target to our worship conversations in recent weeks about the barn-building, foolish farmer. Get rid of your stuff. The stuff you don’t really need. Keep what is important. Build your life around purposeful living and not possessions. By the time I finished the book, I could own a dozen or so of the tangible ideas to “Simplify My Life”.
The church, ours and the church universal, would do well to engage in the same exercise and rethink what really matters. When any of our meetings or events eat away more time, resources and energies than our attempts to spread the Gospel; then we truly have too much of the wrong “stuff”.
I won’t be getting rid of my car or my phone as the book’s more radical chapters suggest, but I will ask those around me if we are truly keeping the witness of Christ above all the other “worthwhile stuff” we do.
I am convinced it is an exercise worth doing.
(Original Content written by Mike Hunter, August 2001)