Friday, January 23, 2009


Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.
(Ephesians 6:5-8, appointed for Morning Prayer today)

To provide good medical coverage and a bit of extra income for my family, and to take a bunch of pressure off of our parish budget (the diocesan plan's premiums were massive because so few people paid in), I work as a parking valet at a local hospital.

It is a great lesson in humility. Clergy sometimes become detached from workaday life. As I heard Alistair Begg say, "Don't forget that your people are still in their shoes when you are home in your socks."

I'm not "Father Tim" when I am parking cars. I'm just another guy in a red windbreaker. Some folks are rude and condescending (although the vast majority are kind and even effusive in their thanks for the service). My supervisors are gracious but when push comes to shove they could care less about the complexities of my calendar. I don't get to walk in and say, "Let's do it this way." The little freedoms and personal perks of the church office don't play in the hospital parking lot.

While I am not in favor of the weird, un-Biblical impoverishment of clergy in which some "Bible churches" seem to delight, I realize also that my own tradition treats clergy as a separate and privileged caste. The parking lot is a good corrective.

I give thanks today for how God is shaping me as I park smoke-filled Pontiacs and older folks' Buicks with cushions piled too high on the seats. I give thanks that He's put me in a position to help my family, even on days where I have to confess my resentment of the extra needs. I give thanks that He has me in the workplace, where my people spend most of their days. And I give thanks for His word today, reminding me to do this work to His glory.

1 comment:

prairiewords said...

Often time in another man's shoes (doing unrelated secular work) exposes us to life as we would not see it. At a pot luck last summer we couldn't find the Bishop. He was in a field directing cars. I've met clergy who hide behind the collar and lose touch. My wife's employer knows we are in the throws of planting a church and eventually there will be schedule conflicts. They have agreed the church comes first, rather enthuastically actually.

Oh, thats mine over there, the van with Manitoba plates