In 2009 I found myself between jobs. I was looking for a new place to preach and then I found a job in Alaska. There were several months I spent while interviewing and then accepting and finally moving. During that time I went to see a comedian with a couple of friends. The evening was going pretty well and the comedian had a few funny comments. About three-quarters of the way through his show a lady who had obviously had too much to drink became very disruptive. The comedian tried to move on but she persisted.
After a few failed attempts to proceed through his material he said, “I am just going to give up since I can’t finish a bit.” “Instead” he said, “let’s get to know the crowd.” He began calling out people and pointing at them and saying, “What do you do?”
As you can imagine he eventually made it to my table. He said, “You in the glasses, what do you do sir?”
I said “I’m unemployed.” Hoping he would drop the question. But no, he continued, “What did you do before.”
I simply stated “I was a preacher.”
I found his response very interesting (and it is the reason I tell you this story). He said, “Well, you never quit really being a preacher do you? You just preach in a different way to different people.” And finally he said, “I respect that” and he moved on to asking other people.
He never came back to our table after that but throughout the rest of the evening he would refer to me as “father” and everyone would laugh.
While it was uncomfortable in the moment to think of what he might do with the information of my career, he did make a very perceptive statement. Preaching the good news of Jesus is not just something you do from the stage every Sunday. It is something all of us do in different ways. It wasn’t really funny, but it was true.