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A man said to me recently, “I love and respect our pastor, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a complete conversation with him during the years that I’ve been a member of our church. Every conversation with him has been interrupted by his noticing someone else with whom he apparently preferred to talk. There’ve been times when, in mid sentence – sometimes his sentence, and sometimes my sentence – that he’s abruptly turned or walked away to engage in relative small talk with someone else.” I felt sad when I heard this. I’ve known this man for years. In all the years I've known him I'd never heard him even remotely speak disparagingly of a pastor. He’s the kind of person, along with his wife that would be considered an “asset” to, and a “gem of a member” in, any church.

It’s just incomprehensible that otherwise seemingly spiritual, intelligent and sensitive men in ministry could act this way and be this rude and hurtful to members of their own congregation. But there are pastors, not many, but too many, who do act this way and are this rude and hurtful to members of their own flock. It may be because of some favoritism they have for, or that they want to curry with, other people. Who knows? Whatever the reason, this is wrong. It’s always wrong.

Years ago while visiting London, some Americans had the opportunity to meet some of England’s notables. One day they were able to talk at different times to the current Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and to the previous Prime Minister, William Gladstone. That night they were discussing their experiences. One man said, "When Mr. Gladstone was talking to me, I felt like I was talking to the most important man in the world." Another man said, "When Mr. Disraeli was talking to me, he made me feel like he thought he was talking to the most important man in the world." By the way, Gladstone was a Christian. Disraeli was a Jew. Jesus said in Luke 16:8, " for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." Sometimes the children of this world are not only wiser, but also a lot more considerate and kind than Christians.

Pastors should be among the most gentlemanly, considerate, sensitive people in their congregations. They need to make it their business to be friendly to everyone regardless of their age, financial or social status or how much they have personally in common with them. They shouldn’t think people don’t care or that they don’t notice how they treat them or other people. They do.

Don’t be one of those men who, while talking or listening to you, is the entire time obviously looking over your shoulder for someone more interesting to talk to. In this respect make sure you’re more like Benjamin Disraeli than you are like William Gladstone.

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