Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Being an Animal Cracker Pastor


This is what I grumble as I open up my $1.29 bag of six potato chips. I know that bags of potato chips are known for looking full but delivering mostly air. But six chips?

Don’t get me wrong, they are luscious. Just as the little jingle says I can’t eat just one. But if this degenerating trajectory of chips per bag continues it looks like I am going to have to learn to eat just one chip. A bag of chips looks like it ought to be a filling snack. It only taunts me and makes me have to look elsewhere.

This isn’t true of animal crackers. You can buy a bag of animal crackers at Wal-Mart for under two bucks. Opening these bags has a different disappointment attached to them. When you open this bag of joy typically 40-50 animal crackers fly through the air and onto the floor. They are so filled to the brim that they can’t help spilling out everywhere. Yeah, some of their treasure is wasted; especially, for you wimpy germaphobes that don’t follow the five second rule. But they fill you up.

I want to be an animal cracker pastor instead of a potato chip pastor.

A potato chip pastor projects much and offers little. He’s alluring. He’s somebody you want to bring with you to the Super Bowl party. But at the end of the day he’s really only filled with hot-air. Yeah, he might satiate a few people. But he doesn’t fill anyone. At the end of the day he leaves his congregation having to look elsewhere for sustenance.

The animal cracker pastor might be a little bland and boring to some. But he will fill you up. He’ll do what a pastor is supposed to do; namely, “feed my sheep”. He is so overflowing with the gospel that some of what he says will just spill onto the ground. I’d rather be a little bland but overly helpful than scrumptious but disappointing.

There is probably a lesson in here too about under-promising and over-delivering instead of the other way around. But for me when I think about a bag of chips filled with hot-air I pray that my ministry isn’t similar. I pray that the Lord so overwhelms me with His love and gives me such a vision of Himself that I can’t help but overflow in the lives of others.

Be an animal cracker pastor.


The potato chip illustration is an extension of a point that Zack Eswine makes in his book Sensing Jesus. Give him all the credit and me all the blame.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mike for interacting with my book! Your words about an animal cracker life and ministry are creative and encouraging. Moment by moment, grace upon grace . . . Thanks again!



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