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.
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.
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.
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!
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.