Newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan | March 2023 | Volume 67, Number 3
WE NEED MORE CHURCH NUTS
Tim Patterson - Executive Director/Treasurer
A guy stands in a bar sipping a drink and minding his own business. It had been a rough day and he was trying to unwind and forget about all the stress he has been under for the past months. The criticism he has taken at his job and from his supposed friends has really taken a toll on his emotional and mental health. All of the sudden, he begins hearing a voice saying nice things about him. Things like, “Do you know you are one of the smartest persons I have ever met? Gosh, you are good looking. I really like that suit. Where did you get it?”
He looks all around and sees no one within speaking distance. In fact the only other person in the bar is the bartender. Now he begins to question his own sanity and thinks that maybe all this pressure has finally done some serious damage to his psyche. He takes another sip of his drink and tries to ignore the voice, but to no avail. The voice continues to say nice things to him. “You are the best employee your company has. I have never met a nicer man than you. You are a great husband and dad.”
He finally gets up enough nerve to say something to the bartender. "Hey barkeep. I think there is something seriously wrong with me. I keep hearing this voice saying nice things about me." The bartender very casually and nonchalantly says, "There's nothing wrong with you. It's our peanuts," the guy exclaims, "Your peanuts? I don't understand." The bartender says, "Yes, our peanuts. You see, at our bar, peanuts are COMPLIMENTARY."
I don’t know about you, but now and then I could use a case of those peanuts. It seems as though many in our society have taken the position that if someone does something they don’t agree with or like, it is their God-given right and responsibility to complain about it or “bless” that person out. In our churches some believe that they have the spiritual gift of griping. Of course, if that same individual notices another person doing something good they keep silent so as not to create any undue pride or bring attention to a job well done.
We need compliments and encouragement. They are, many times, the very fuel that drives the engines of our heart and soul. Without them it is likely that we will find ourselves running on empty or stranded on the road of life. A kind word or a compliment will keep us going when nothing else will. Mark Twain said that he could live six weeks on one compliment. I agree.
It doesn’t take much to encourage someone or to give a compliment. In fact, it takes no more energy or effort than it does to criticize. In our churches, here in Michigan and across our nation, it is not much different than in society. Our churches are filled with assorted nuts. I just wish that they were more like bars in this one instance, in that our nuts were complementary.
Check out what the Word says:
Proverbs 15:23 - “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”
Proverbs 25:11 - “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Proverbs 12:25 - “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
(For those of you who want to criticize my use of a joke about a bar, I would feel a lot better with a word of encouragement.☺)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.