Saturday, November 28, 2009

28 NOV 09: Elder-Care

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath. We'll save the football review for Sunday.)

Thanksgiving dinner normally isn't a time for me to do celebrity-watching. But this year was an exception, without my even trying. I sat down in a restaurant next to one of Phenix City's best-known ministers. No, I did NOT ask him if fireworks should have been set off before high school football games.

"Pastor Cochran?!" I said as a man with his back to me stood to attend to older people at the table. Sure enough - it was Raymond Cochran of Franchise Missionary Baptist Church. Would I harm his reputation, if I mentioned this restaurant was in Columbus?

"How are you doing?" Raymond Cochran said in response.

"I'm thankful," I answered on Thanksgiving afternoon. I admitted to the Pastor I had seen his worship service Sunday nights on WYBU TV-16. But for some reason, my new high-powered high-definition TV doesn't want to pick up low-power stations.

An older couple was with Raymond Cochran and his wife. I guessed they might be parents - but no, they were an uncle of Mrs. Cochran and his wife. "They wanted to go out for Thanksgiving," the Pastor said.

"Your wife must like that - not having to cook."

"Good Lord....!" I wouldn't have been offended if he said amen, but his smile of agreement was enough.

Raymond Cochran and his wife have taken the older relatives into their home, because they're not in the best of health. Considering Cochran pastors a large church, that can't be easy to do. Any day his wife doesn't have to cook must feel like Mother's Day.

I recalled a man who once was my pastor in Atlanta. His home included not only his mother-in-law, but a daughter who died of sickle cell anemia before turning 25. But he ministered for church congregations in south Florida after Hurricane Andrew struck - so his threshold for pain may have increased with the wind speed.

Sometimes church ministers can seem superhuman, as they preach congregations toward a more perfect way of living. But Raymond Cochran reminds me many pastors face the same trials of life as their members. That's really nothing new, as the apostle Paul describes in II Corinthians 11 facing everything from stoning to shipwrecks. And that was long before those scenic "Bible cruises" to Alaska....

October was the official "Pastor Appreciation Month," but it's never a bad time to give your minister an encouraging word or gift. It could help him through a difficult situation you might not know about. And it beats taking YOUR family to dinner after a worship service, to feast on "roast preacher."

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