I grew up as a pastor’s kid and before you shove me into that stereotypical mold, hear me out.
I was proud to be a pastor’s kid. I wore it as some sort of VIP badge like the ones that get you back stage at concerts. Except the only real concerts I was going to was Steven Curtis Chapman and Sandi Patty. I never tested out the stereotypical rebellious stage like some pastor’s kids did. At least, I wasn’t any more sinful than the other kids on the block, so I thought.
Up until fifth grade we lived in the house next to our church building. Our church building was an old 1800′s church that was still alive and kicking. It sat short and stout on Grand Ave. bordering what we called “the alley”. The alley was nothing more than just that, an alley, but it was a place for my brother and I to get in trouble. It made us feel older and tougher than we actually were—like some sort of street gang, but for pastor’s kids.
Our street was just off of the downtown area, and the alley was the back entrance for several storefront businesses. The alley ran behind the church, our house, and then continued on behind the rest of the houses on the street. Our house was next door to the church but in between the two was a small field. We spend a lot of time in that alley and in that small field. It was our gang territory.
One day, like most, we were playing baseball in the field. I was playing outfield which, in our fantasy world, existed directly behind the church building and next to the alley. I can’t recall exactly what was going through my mind, but at some point I was overcome by the natural desire to relieve myself. Like any normal 10-year-old boy who has to go pee but doesn’t want to stop what he is doing, I looked around for the nearest tree.
Luckily there were a few short pine trees that lined the back of the church building. I nestled myself between two of them and began to pee on the ground right next to the foundation of the church.
Halfway through the process I heard a loud voice coming from behind me.
“Hey boy, do you know you’re peeing on a church?!”
The man was standing in the alley watching me soil the very church that my father pastored.
I finished and said, “Yeah, I know. This is MY church.”
I might have chosen my words differently had I known this man actually knew my father personally. My prideful response had a thick tone of entitlement to it. I could do no wrong in my eyes. I was the pastor’s kid with the VIP badge and the cocky “I’ll do whatever I want” attitude.
All I remember after that is realizing that not only had I defaced a church building, but I had also defaced my father and our family. The baseball game resumed and I went back to being the 10-year-old pastor’s kid.
Today, I’m still learning the same lesson I was taught the day I peed on that church building.
Every day is a chance for pride to get in the way of me being walking evidence of the Gospel. I am not entitled to anything, no matter what I’ve done or who I am—but that’s what makes grace so amazing, right?
If we don’t realize the greatest tragedy of our lives is our sin then the greatest joy of our lives will never be the grace given in Jesus’ rescue.
That’s just as hard for a 10-year-old pastor’s kid to understand as it is for a 31-year-old grown man.
I haven’t peed on any churches in the past 20 years, but I have defaced my Father, my heavenly one. The point is that I am just as rotten as the most rebellious pastor’s kid. Actually, I’m a lot like the Apostle Paul who was the most rotten sinner of all. The stereotypical pastor’s kid is a rebel, and yes, I fit that description to a tee—we all do.
I didn’t understand that then, but I do now.