Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Leaf Blower from Hell (or Heaven)

It happened last Sunday (Sept 7). I was preaching, which is normal for me on a Sunday, and just as I was heading into the punch lines of my sermon, it started: the leaf blower from hell.

I don’t know what possessed the guy to turn it on at that time, right next to a church—on a hot day with the windows open—but he did. If you do any public speaking, you know when you have most people’s attention. In this case, while not everyone was locked in on my biblical exposition, I had most of them in spite of just explaining a very difficult concept. But when the leaf blower started, people were looking towards the windows, and glancing around at each other with curious looks on their faces.

I immediately got flustered and started sweating. I sweat very little so when I sweat, I’m uptight. It was so annoying I lost my place in my notes, couldn’t think straight, and essentially read the rest of the sermon directly from the notes so it would at least make sense to those who could actually hear it, or who tried to pay attention despite the distraction.

It was irritating to say the least. What was more irritating to me later was why I let it irritate me to begin with. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace (rest) have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Clearly, my rest is not found in God’s providential work of leaf blowing. While I doubt very much that the person blowing leaves was antagonistic towards us as a Christian church, he or she was clearly used by God to teach me a lesson. Rest and peace is not found in a tranquil environment where I get my way all the time. It's found in the middle of God’s will. Humorously, last Sunday, that included a disruption in the middle of a sermon with a leaf blower. Why not laugh about it? Why not rest in Him in the midst of it? I choose to do so. So next Sunday Mr. Leaf Blower, bring it on!

The gospel says that its not how people respond to my preaching that makes me loved in Gods eyes but Gods dealing with the real issues in my life—my sin, my depravity, and the radical self-centeredness of my heart. So Mr. Leaf Blower, I invite you back (should you read this blog)—this time come to church (and leave your leaf blower outside) but should you turn that noisy thing on again, I’ll preach, laugh, and rest in Gods presence and not in whether or not I’m popular because I preached well.