What I learned from a bowtie
In my ongoing quest to be a “cool dad” (a phrase which probably proves I’m not), I bought my boys bowties for Christmas. I had seen numerous celebrity-types sporting them, so I purchased them despite having never tied one before. The sales associate assured me he could teach both them and me that fine art.
As the first Sunday of 2013 rolled around they decided the time was right to show them off. So, on Saturday evening – just hours before the scheduled unveiling – I took to YouTube to find an instructional video (the store wasn’t open at that hour). My first encounter was a video with more steps than I could follow in 2 minutes. Confused, I went to a second video only to discover terminology that wasn’t explained and was impossible for a non-bowtie guy to follow. The third video was at a much better speed, but was narrated by the bowtie and seemed to require more hands than God gave me. After several more searches I finally found one that seemed to get the fact that this was a unique skill for a beginner. It used clear terms, moved slowly enough for me to keep up, and reassured me that even I could do this. Finally, success! If only I had started there I would never have had to sigh, grunt, yell at my smart phone, or make things tense in my home.
After some time to cool off from this traumatic experience it dawned on me that as a pastor I could benefit from this experience. Every week I, and countless other pastors like me, communicate with people. The biggest difference is the information I hope to convey – that Jesus is the answer to the issues of life – is vastly more important than an instructional video on tying a bowtie. I can’t help but wonder how many people hear me and leave confused, feel overwhelmed by all the “steps” involved, or experience frustration that there seems to be more required than they can possibly do.
My goal this year is to keep the life-changing message of the Bible clear, take enough time to ensure people are getting it, and remind them that what is impossible for us is nothing for Christ. The small sense of fulfillment I achieved in my bowtie victory pales in comparison to the victory that we find in following Christ. I don’t ever want to cause people to miss the message because of the messenger. Come this week and see for yourself if my experience has paid off.