Seminary Never Prepared Me For Banana Pudding

I love banana pudding.  It could verge on being a vice.  I mentally prepare myself before church fellowships by repeating, “One bowl is enough.  One bowl is enough!”  My fail-safe, though, is the number 36.  This is my current waist size.  It wasn’t long ago that I had to work very hard to get my size 36 pants to button.  Since I cannot afford new suits every time I fall off the banana pudding wagon, I keep it down to one bowl. 

Never was there a more perfect dessert.  All the ingredients I long for in one location.  I love bananas, sugar, pudding, and I even like that whip they put on the top that looks a bit like calf slobber.  When you add Nilla Wafers you have the perfect storm.  It is the Nilla Wafers that make the whole thing come together.  Apart from the pudding, I’m not a huge fan of that plain little cookie.  But in the company of pudding and bananas, that cookie takes on a whole new texture and taste.

Seminary never warned me about banana pudding temptation.  I never had a class on the discipline it takes to only have one bowl.  There was not a specialist on campus who ever mentioned that two bowls of that yummy mixture leads to new and bigger pants.  There are a ton of other things that seminary didn’t, and couldn’t, prepare me for.  There are things you just have to work out day by day as you encounter them.  

Seminary just can’t teach you how to discipline your life in such a way that you adequately deal with family, church, and other relationships.  Seminary can’t teach you how to reconcile difficult people and circumstances.  I don’t think I ever heard any professor tell me how the day to day activities of ministry could become mundane if I let them.  No one ever taught me how hard it is to bury people that you have come to love and respect.   No one can prepare you for the day a church member walks away from the church and blames you.  Seminary could never prepare me for that stuff.  Its not their fault .  . . you just can’t teach experience from the class room.       

A friend of mine reminded me the other day that “no one can teach savvy”.  Savvy comes with experience.  Experience comes with time and trials.  I learned my banana pudding lesson when I almost had to purchase new pants. . . I got a treadmill instead.  I learned the secret of staying with day to day ministry from watching other long time pastors.  Many pastoral lessons have been learned on the fly as events have unfolded.  Some lessons were pleasant and some were not.  Contentment has been the hardest lesson to learn.  I learned it from Paul.  In Philippians chapter 4 Paul paints a beautiful picture for us of what it means to find contentment in Christ.  I pray that our pastors (me) could learn to be content.  Content with one bowl of pudding, and content with the people and circumstances that God has called us to.           



Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 1:08 pm  Comments (1)  

One Comment

  1. Mike, it occured to me while reading this that Jesus never had to deal with the banana pudding temptation, but if we did, I think we could say that he would have stuck with the one bowl rule himself. You’re right on here though. There are just something that no one can (or some times people just don’t want to give you a heads up) teach you. We can look at the example that Jesus gives us in scripture. The great thing about that is when we must learn in the moment, Jesus teaches in the moment according to the things that were going on around Him. It’s almost as if we, as church leaders, have to literally be Jesus. The frustraiting thing is that we cannot do it. That is where we fail and fall on our faces. And as odd as it sounds that is the best part. It teaches us as pastors, deacons, sunday school teachers, mentors that as much as lost persons need Jesus and grace, we need it that much more. So keep pluggin on and I’ll be sure to come talk to you as I run into those situations myself.

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