Pork Butts and Pastoring

Saturday. 5:30 am. My Big Green Egg is at the right temperature. I put the 10 lb pork butt I had prepared with seasoning the night before on the grill. Indirect heat. At least an hour per pound. Should be good to go around supper time.
Thank you Jesus.
Wednesday’s. 6:00 pm. Four former Catholics. A single young male. A married man whose wife attends choir practice during this time. A husband-wife team from out West. Book studies of their choice. A couple of weeks or months and they should be ready for baptism, membership, and perhaps a call into ministry.
Thank you Jesus.
Saturday. 5:30 pm. My Big Green Egg has had a difficult time staying at the right temperature. I need it at 225 degrees. It hovers just below 200. I need the middle of the butt to be around 195 degrees. It holds steady at 175.
Help me Jesus.
Wednesdays. 6:00 pm. Two and a half years later. Two have attended the new member class. None have joined. None have been baptized. We’re working through our fifth book. We’ve taken breaks. We’ve seen God answer prayer. We’ve grown as friends. There’s growth. There’s more understanding of Protestant Christianity. But it’s slow. I can’t believe I am still with them with hardly any signs of membership or baptism.
Help me Jesus.
Saturday. 7:00 pm. I’m hungry. The temperature of the butt has gone up some, but still isn’t ready. I do the unthinkable. I turn on the oven (gasp). Then I do the more unthinkable: I ask my wife what is plan B. I all but give up. I think, “$20 down the Big Green Egg tube.”
Keep me from cussing, Jesus.
Wednesdays. 6:00 pm. New season at the church. I teach a class for anyone interested. I pause our small “Baptist and 4 Catholics” book club. I think, “I haven’t made any progress in 2 and a half years. What’s going to change now?” I wonder if I’ve wasted 30 months of my life.
Keep me from cussing, Jesus.
Saturday. 8:00 pm. I pull the wonderfully aromatic butt out of the oven. I am about to eat my hand. I check the temperature. 195 degrees. I yank on the bone. It comes out clean and smooth. It is finished. I shred it. I pour a bit of sauce and slaw on top. We feast.
Thank you for ovens that work when I stop trying, Jesus.
Wednesdays. 6:00 pm. We haven’t met in over four months. However, during these four months I have received emails, texts, and/or phone calls from 3 of the 4 requesting baptism. The married duo were baptized on Easter Sunday. The young single male will be baptized latter this month.
Thank you for working when I stop, Jesus.
Pastoring is a lot like cooking a 10 lb pork butt. You work. You prepare. You wait. You check. You try set the perfect conditions. You adjust. You wait. You get frustrated. You smell hope, but then have to wait again. You give up. God reminds you He – and He alone – does the supernatural. You taste. You see. You savor. Then you get up the next morning and do it again.
Thank you for declaring all foods clean, Jesus.