I have pretty horrendous posture. Most of my day is spent sitting in my office, because I believe firmly in violating the first principle of being a pastor: “You Should Spend Time With Your People.” I’ve seen my People, and they’re pretty busy. They don’t want me hanging around their office, creeping out their co-workers. They don’t want me showing up in their backyard, giving out advice on how to get rid of aphids. My People are probably doing okay in the 9 to 5 without me.
Editor’s Note: He’s being sarcastic. I think.
So since I spend so much time without People, I spend a lot of time at my desk. Which means that I occasionally succumb to gravity. Which means that at the rate I’m going, my posture will have me looking like a horseshoe in another ten years. When I was a kid, I never said, “Hey! I want to grow up and look just like this guy and stand out on my front porch yelling, ‘You kids stay off my lawn!'” No, I’d prefer to have nice posture. A straight back. Shoulders that you could build a house of cards on. I want to be the guy that wanders past an Army boot camp and the drill sergeant screams at his recruits, “You maggots need to be like Franks over there! And your mama’s ugly!”
Posture is not only important when you’re sitting, it’s important when you’re serving. Of course, I’m talking about the definition of posture that denotes an attitude rather than a vertical position. Yesterday I was in a Big Retail Store That Shall Remain Unnamed. When I walked up to the checkout line, the checkout lady was sitting on the checkout stand, bouncing her heels up and down against it. When she spotted me, she slowly (almost painfully) stood up and said, “I’m just taking a little break. I’m really not supposed to, but I don’t care. They’d better not say anything about it, either.”
Now, that’s what she said. What she revealed was, “I’m making a lousy eight bucks an hour working this dead-end job. I’ve had four customers come through my line today who complained because prices are too high…prices I have nothing to do with. I have an overbearing manager who doesn’t care about me as much as he cares about his bottom line. I’m going to do what it takes to get by, but that’s about it. And if you as a customer don’t like it, then you can stop interrupting my day and go check out in lane twelve.”
If you are in the business of serving people, what does your posture reveal about you? It will affect your business if you’re in retail, but it could affect eternity if you’re in ministry…
- If you serve children, do parents see you offhandedly corralling kids into your classroom, or do you kneel down on their level to greet them?
- If you serve first-time guests, do they represent a delight (“I get to interact with them!”) or a drudgery (“I have to interact with them.”)?
- If you serve the congregation by leading worship, does your face reveal heaven, or (as Charles Spurgeon said) does it reveal hell?
- If you serve lost and unchurched people, does your attitude towards them draw them to Jesus, or push them away from them?
I understand that keeping a positive posture isn’t always easy. There are days that the guests that you seek to serve will complain. Or gripe. Or whine. In turn, you will be tempted to ignore. Or join the complaining. Or reach for a baseball bat and practice your swing.
The bottom line is that our position must dictate our posture. If you serve people, you have to choose to submit to God rather than succumb to the gravitational pull on your posture. The Kingdom dictates it. The spirit of hospitality demands it. And eternity could depend on it.
So this Sunday, pull back those shoulders. Your posture reveals more than you may know.