Sometimes the poor relationship we have with someone may color our reaction to something wise they share.
The challenge is to listen to everyone, even our severest critics. Taking their counsel on something of worth may end up being the first step in building a bridge of reconciliation.
This particular church member had rejected my ministry and was working behind the scenes to oust me from that church.
So when he made a suggestion that actually made sense, I was not in the mood to accept it. Had he suggested we buy giant-sized blizzards at the Dairy Queen, his treat, I’d probably have scoffed.
Here’s what happened …
He said, “Joe, look at old Mr. Mossback. He has no business being a greeter in this church. The man could star in a horror flick.”
He was right.
The old gentleman was ancient and wore a perpetual scowl and just stood there on Sundays like a stump handing out bulletins. Think of Boris Karloff at his scariest.
But since Bill the adversary was advising replacing him, I became Mr. Mossback’s advocate and PR agent
“He’s doing the best he can, Bill. It’s about the only church job he can handle, so let’s let him do it.”
And we left him in place.
That was a mistake. Good advice, they say, is where you find it, and Bill’s suggestion was the correct one.
Only bright, cheerful, friendly, outgoing people should serve as greeters.
We should have looked for another place for Mr. Mossback. What place? I have no idea, but we could have come up with something. If nothing else, put him at the back door with a handful of Sunday bulletins.
I rejected sound advice because I did not care for the one giving it. My mistake.
Good advice is where you find it, we were saying, even if it comes from the unlikeliest of sources.
This time I rejected the sound advice because I wasn’t thinking straight.
I was pastoring a large church with numerous staff vacancies we were trying to fill. Meanwhile, I was new there and preaching four times every Lord’s day and doing most of the pastoral work (hospitals, funerals, administration, etc). It was killing me.
One of the leaders of the church, chairman of the search committee that had brought me there, casually remarked, “You need to bring in someone to handle the administration for you so you can pastor the church.”