It was our first visit…ever. I ran a careful eye over the family room one last time. The pillows were fluffed, the toys were in the closet, and the TV was off. Perfect. Now if only we could be too.
The pastor of the church we attended last Sunday was coming for a visit. Neither my husband nor I had stepped inside a church since our early teens. But with a six year old begging to join the church club with her friends … we gave in.
“What do you think he’ll talk about?” I ran a comb through my hair while Tom changed from his work clothes.
“Haven’t a clue, honey. Maybe the basic stuff…like where did you used to go to church…have you ever been baptized. Church questions.” Tom shrugged his shoulders. “Where did you go to church anyways?” He stopped looping his belt long enough to turn in my direction.
"I told you." I gave him one of my looks. I was sure we had talked about how my family left the church when I was in ninth grade over some dispute with the deacons.
“No you haven’t. I don’t think we’ve ever talked much about church stuff.” He resumed his dressing. I guess the topic never did come up much in our thirteen years of marriage. I wasn’t even sure why Tom stopped going to church either. He had pointed out the Baptist church when we visited his parents but shared few memories about it.
At five to seven, I situated our daughter at her play table with a coloring book and box of crayons. “No talking while he is here.” I warned. I didn’t want the pastor thinking I was a bad mother. My husband and I sat side by side on the couch waiting for the doorbell to ring. At promptly 7 pm, our guests arrived.
A deacon came with the pastor…a nice young man who had greeted us at the door last week. He looked just as nervous as we did. We sat opposite them on the love seat trying hard to look like we entertained clergy everyday.
Pastor Nevin smiled, attempting to put us at ease. I think he knew he was dealing with rookies. He even squatted next to our daughter to ask what she was drawing. I could tell that earned him points in Tom’s eyes…he relaxed back into the couch cushions.
“Tom and Betty…I want to welcome you to our church. Would you mind telling me a little about yourselves?” I looked at Tom to see if he was going first. His eyes were focused on a cob web crawling along the ceiling. Coward.
I have to admit the pastor made it really easy. He guided me along…asking the right amount of questions and showing more interest in us than anyone ever had before. He was good at what he did. I found myself warming up to the idea of a pastor in our lives. I even discovered my husband had spiritual needs I knew nothing about. Before we knew it, the clock chimed eight.
“I’m sorry for taking so much of your time,” I apologized. The pastor laughed again and assured us he was in no hurry. He was never in a hurry when it came to people - I found out in the years to come.
Our daughter was six years old when we met this man. When she was fourteen, she told him she wanted him to be her pastor at her wedding. When she turned twenty two, he was the pastor who flew 2000 miles to perform the wedding.
Pastor Nevin followed through on all the promises he shared with us that night in our family room. He didn’t rush us and he didn’t expect us to be perfect….just like Jesus waited patiently on us to finally understand and accept Him. Now when the pastor comes for a visit, I occasionally fluff my pillows…then I relax. He isn’t coming to see our house; he’s coming to see us…just as we are.
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