A pastor should not try to be a referee, unless he just enjoys making people angry at him. Trust me on this one.
Once I was at a Christian youth retreat, and the kids were playing basketball. There was nobody available to referee, so they asked me to do it. In less than 30 seconds, both teams were furious at me for missing calls. I handed them the whistle and walked out of the gym.
My most vivid memory was refereeing a church softball game many years ago. They asked somebody more knowledgeable than me to be the umpire behind home plate. All I had to do was call batters safe or out as they ran the bases.
Everything was going fine for several innings. Then a ball was hit, and the runner who was on first base ran toward second. The first baseman fielded the ball, and threw it to the second baseman, who was standing on second. The ball landed in his glove before the runner touched second base, so I immediately lifted my thumb and shouted “You’re out!” Then the ball fell out of the second baseman’s glove. So I changed my call, crossing my arms in front of me and saying, “He’s safe!”
You would have thought that I had just denied the Trinity. The coach from the team in the field came rushing out to me, screaming obscenities and demanding to know why I changed my call. I tried to explain, but he didn’t want to hear it. All he wanted to do was shout and scream.
Finally, the coach stormed off, and the umpire came out to where I was. He said, “Preacher, let’s move you to third base and let the other ref call first and second. Maybe you won’t have too many people mad at you over there.” Boy, was I glad to get out of there when that game was over.
Unfortunately, sometimes church people can forget their religion when it comes to football, basketball, baseball, business meetings, and other contact sports. That’s why Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), and the apostle Paul says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”(Romans 12:18).
Christian, remember that the next time you get hot under the collar. Others are watching how you play the game, and you don’t want to get tossed out by the Head Umpire.
(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read my blog at www.holyhumor.blogspot.com.)