The Pastor's Wife Who Scraped Gum Off the Floor
When I was a new wife to a young seminarian I watched my then-pastor’s wife do something that I think of nearly every Sunday. That was almost 20 years ago. That means her actions have run through my mind over 1,000 times now.
Here’s what she did one Sunday morning when our congregation began to make its way down to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion. While we were waiting in the line that stretched down the aisle, she crouched to her knees and cleaned gum off the carpeted floor. It was beginning to get ground in and rather than pass it by, she knelt down and scraped it off. She put it in a tissue, maintained her place in line, and received the body and blood of Christ in remembrance of him.
I have a weird, but strong, aversion to chewed gum, so the scene (obviously) made an impression me. I can picture it clearly, even now.
Our church building was beautiful and new. We had a large congregation and staff, including a janitor. And there were hundreds of people in line, cuing up for communion along with her. She had multiple good reasons to pass it by.
Not her job. Not the right time. Someone else can do it. She’s the pastor’s wife, she’s got a better calling—a more important way to serve the church.
Her simple action preached the message of her Savior. Like Jesus, she was there to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28). It still preaches to me today—week in and week out.
Oh that we would walk in her shoes. In the footsteps of her Savior and ours. Whether we are pastor’s wives, brand new church attendees, just visiting, or in the church every day of the week, may we be givers and not takers. May we see the building and the body as our own. May we see it as a place to be stewarded, a people to be cared for, a living organism to love.
And may we who lead, lead in serving. May pastors and elders and deacons and directors and coordinators be the first to change diapers, to greet at the door, to teach in the children’s ministry, to clean up after service, to scrub toilets, to hold teething babies, to comfort falling toddlers, to chase down and welcome messy families, to sit with the emotional teen, to comfort the ailing elderly.
I’m forever grateful for the example of my pastor’s wife. It convicts me and compels me each week when the sticky saints (including me), along with their chewed up gum (including mine), gather together. When I walk down the aisle to receive communion I pray for eyes that will see and a heart that will serve, in remembrance of him.