By: Adam McClendon
The other day I had a luncheon with several other pastors. Personally, I hate getting together with groups of pastors. It normally becomes all about sizing people up and comparing churches. Nevertheless, I was invited, and being reasonably new to the area, I decided to go.
I pulled into the parking lot of the designated location, let out a sigh, and got out of the car. Another one of the pastors met me as I entered, and we sat at a table together. Before long, the table began to fill up until all eight men were there, and let it be known, I’m the youngest at the table by probably 20-plus-years.
Introductions were made and conversation began; however, none of the conversation centered on church. It was delightful. These men, much my senior, were witty, interesting, kind, attentive, and very diverse in their experience. That last part is the one thing that stood out the most. As I listened to the conversation, I found out that one man was a former Recon Marine and police chief who now served as a pastor. Another man had ridden bulls along with a dozen other unique experiences. One man was a thirty-plus-year veteran referee.
Reflecting in the car on the drive home, I realized something. I almost missed out on meeting these wonderful men. I didn’t want to go, because I assumed it would be older, boring pastors who just wanted the status quo and to size up one another.
The only thing I was right about was that they were older; however, that was the best thing about the meeting. They had stories. They had this rich background of life from which I could learn and sit in awe. They had experiences that they were readily willing to share, and they loved Jesus.
Writing now, I realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of stories in the room. I’ve spent far too much time in my life seeking to be known by others and not seeking to know others. I gravitate towards those my age and below while unintentionally neglecting those older than me. In doing so, I miss out on a beautiful depth of life and experience. Looking back, I wonder how many lessons and friendships have been missed because I haven’t asked or, worse, I haven’t listened to the stories of the lives of the elder saints in the room.
These men are supposed to get together once a month. I can’t wait to join them, because now I know that wherever they are, there are stories in the room.