It has become part of the present First Presbyterian Church’s pastoral lore since the situation occurred some years ago now. One of the pastors was making a visit with an older woman in the church. The woman later told her daughter that one of the pastors had come to see her. The daughter asked her mother, “Which pastor came to see her?” The woman was uncertain of his name, but she explained, “It’s the one who takes care of his body!”
Now even though Dr. Negley, our Head of Staff, regularly plays on the “Old Geezers’” team of the annual Old Geezers vs. Youth Football Game on Souper Bowl Sunday, the woman was not describing Dr. Negley! Even though I, who has been the stockiest of the pastors, was walking more regularly and getting more exercise then than I do now, she was not describing me! She was describing Dr. Ray Larson, the most athletic pastor on staff who has competed in a number of marathons. Dr. Larson is one of the most disciplined persons I know … who gets out for his morning jog every morning, Sundays included, come pouring rain, high humidity or chilling winds. He exhibits great self-control by never wavering from this daily regimen.
While Dr. Larson is out for his morning jog, I much prefer to be in the kitchen preparing a wonderful breakfast or brunch. Sometimes it may be Eggs Benedict or Breakfast Casserole. The morning fare may include Cheese Grits or Scalloped Apples. I might cook some bacon or Canadian bacon. I might be in the mood for pancakes or waffles. I might bake some biscuits, a coffee cake or some muffins. Along with our coffee, I might prepare Cranberry Shrub or serve some orange juice. Breakfast or brunch is one of my favorite meals.
That is why you have a portly pastor … a paunchy preacher! I not only enjoy preparing breakfast or brunch, but I love eating it! It is easy to enjoy so much what you are eating that you do not exercise self-control … limiting yourself to one helping and perhaps reducing the number of carbohydrates at this first meal of the day. In other areas of my life, I do believe I exhibit more self-control than I do at the table. While I believe this fruit of the Spirit is evident in my life, this may be the one that needs to grow the most so that I eat less, exercise more and am more disciplined in my devotional life!
O Lord, thank you for the fruits of the Spirit evident in my life. By your grace grant that the measly crop of self-control might increase more and more. Amen.