I let a friend down today, and I’m feeling rather proud about it.
This friend is somebody I would put near the top of my very short list of pastors whose churches I would attend. Any telephone call from John Ballenger gets my immediate attention because I think he’s such a superstar and because I would never want to let him down.
Plus, I am very self-important and I want, at all times, to be totally indispensable to and completely liked by everyone.
See, just the fact that John would call to invite me to be on the coordinating board for the Alliance of Baptists Convocation in 2007 makes me all tingly with pleasure. I feel tingly even though I know (since I am a pastor) that the work of desperately searching for volunteers requires only that those volunteers be breathing. It still made me feel good that John thought of me.
“I could do it,” I thought to myself, glancing quickly at my April 2007 calendar.
“And you would have that breakdown you’ve been barely avoiding,” whispered a little voice in my head.
My calendar said, uh screamed, it all. Not only does this Alliance meeting fall right around Easter, I also will be right in the middle of intensive D.Min. coursework and getting ready to host the 100th anniversary meeting of the American Baptist Convention, founded here at Calvary. Plus preaching and visiting and staff supervision and homework and PTA meetings and dinner and . . . arrrrgggghhh!
It was suddenly clear. I was going to let John down. The only question was: will it be now or will it be later?
I chose now. I summoned my courage, took a deep breath and told John I just couldn’t do it. I’d like to do it; I’d like to do whatever I could do to help John. But if I am being totally and completely honest, I just can’t do it.
How strange that the best thing I did today was to let a friend down.