One of my congregation members is having surgery today. I knew it was coming and called yesterday to double-check the time so I could be there for a devotion before the surgery. I usually stick around during the operations like this so I can give support and spend time with family. If there’s no family (or they’re distinctly not interested in having me around), I’ll simply bring my laptop and get some work done while I’m waiting.
ANYWAY… I called yesterday to double-check the time of the surgery. Good thing I did! The surgery had been moved to seven this morning, as opposed to late morning/early afternoon.
As I was talking with the member about the operation, she revealed something to me that’s totally unexpected.
Apparently, Sunday she was talking with another congregation member. At that point she already knew about the earlier surgery time. (I was gone on vacation until Monday morning, so I didn’t get the chance to talk at church.) She mentioned that she would be in the operation early, so she didn’t expect me to be there.
“Oh, he’ll be there,” the other congregation member assured.
“But he doesn’t have to be,” she answered.
“He’ll be there. That’s just the type of guy he is.”
As my member conveyed this discussion to me, my emotions whirled. On one hand: to have the full confidence of this congregation member is humbling. “That’s just the type of guy he is”? Wow! After just a year, at least some in my congregation have full confidence that I’ll be there in times of need, no questions asked.
Then, fear: I have their confidence. That’s scary! What if I fail? What if I betray that confidence?
Then, disgust: I shouldn’t have their confidence! Wouldn’t it be better if he had said, “Well, that’s the kind of God he serves”?
Then, an uncertainty: If I have that trust, that means they expect me to be there in times of trouble. It’s not “Wow, Pastor showed up,” but, “Of course Pastor showed up. Why wouldn’t he?” Up until this point, many in the congregation expressed surprise when I would come to hospitals or make home visits. I don’t know why that surprise was there; I’m really just discharging my duty. Yet, I enjoyed that surprise. I enjoyed assuring them that they are indeed important to both God and to me. But now, if they expect it….?
I suppose in my mind this means that not only has the congregation fully accepted me, but I’m in a new phase. I have the confidence of my congregation. They know that I love them and want to serve them. “That’s just the type of guy he is,” after all.
And I don’t know what to make of that. I think I need to go back to where I started… “And I ask God to help me.”