Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
While most parents have dreams for their children, most Christian parents in general and most ministry parents in particular tend to have a very specific type of fondest hope for their offspring.
We want them to grow up to love and serve the Lord.
Mind you, this does not necessarily mean that we pray for them to be in full time ministry. If God calls them to that we are thrilled, but what we really want is children who will grow up and serve the Lord as a normal part of their everyday lives and on church days as well. And so, when my daughters followed in their mother’s “fingersteps” and learned to play the piano, I was ecstatic.
Not surprisingly to anyone who knows the piano, even though they have the same mother and the same teacher, they play very differently. My youngest daughter is the free spirit; she can play note for note, but prefers instead to feel the music and let it almost flow through her. She is phenomenal, and often elicits a “wow” from people who have been playing the piano for many decades.
My oldest daughter is more classical. She gravitates toward elaborate scores, and even when she is required to play simple things, she can make them sound classical. And it is that last trait that provided my recent “No, no, please tell me that isn’t what I think it is” moment.
The service was over, the closing prayer had been concluded, and I was by one of the doors getting ready to shake hands as the Sunday morning crowd filed out. My eldest daughter had been tasked with playing the postlude that morning and, true to form, it had a classical sound to it.
A pastor’s brain most always has multiple things going on within it simultaneously. I was shaking hands, smiling, listening to my sweet Cornerstone kids tell me about Toddler Training, segueing into shaking older folks hands while they told me of upcoming doctor’s appointments, and yet all the while my brain was trying to process the song I heard playing in the background.
And then the words started to come to me.
“Well, I’ve never been to Greenland and I’ve never been to Denver and I’ve never buried treasure in Saint Louie or Saint Paul, and I’ve never been to Moscow and I’ve never been to Tampa, and I’ve never been to Boston in the fall.
“We are the pirates, who don’t do anything, we just stay home and lay around, and if you ask us to do anything, we’ll just tell you we don’t do anything.”
If you perhaps do not recognize this, please allow me to inform you that it was not written by Fanny Crosby. This particular song is called “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything,” and it is from the Veggie Tales. Try keeping a straight face while shaking hands with a fifty-year-old businessman while those words are bouncing around in your brain!
I suppose it was inevitable my children would grow up to combine a love for the Lord with a free-spirited sense of humor and a love of life. Dana and I have lived this way in front of them, and I would not have it any other way.
Proverbs 17:22, one of my favorite verses, says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Another verse of a similar nature, Proverbs 15:13, says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
While there are abundant times for utter seriousness, I pity those poor souls who have concluded that God expects all of us to be grim and serious at all times and that equate sourness with holiness. And I pity their children even more. That daughter who went full-bore “Larry Boy” on the postlude also reads her Bible each day just because she loves it, serves willingly without having to be asked, and tells everyone she knows about Jesus, while the children I have observed from sour-saint homes utterly hate the things of God by the time they are adults.
Besides, as one of my astute ladies in church observed when she also realized what was being played, “Veggie Tales songs sort of ought to be in the hymn books anyway.”
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Feature photo by Bo Wagner)