Monday, April 16, 2012

The Day my Pastor Washed my Car

His name is Slobodan, which means "free". You can tell, just by spending a half-hour with him that he is constrained by nothing.

One day last fall, he and I had plans to take down the bunk-beds used for camp in order to begin making a nursery in our church.  But he had changed his mind by the time I arrived at his house.

"The wind blew yesterday and we have to go get the chestnuts that have fallen in the woods" he explained in a hurry.  This was after he told me to come in, sit down and eat the mushrooms sizzling in the frying pan he picked from the forest floor in the morning.

So rather than working in the church, we went to pick chestnuts.

Pastor Slobodan is recently retired - from his job as an agriculturalist.  Most pastors of evangelical churches in Croatia have full-time jobs besides their responsibilities as a pastor.  Now that he is no longer working his main job, he'll be able to spend more of his time doing what full-time pastors do.

But his attitude since I've met him has always been the same.  Whether he's in the fields (from what I've heard), or helping me build a fence, driving somewhere, or washing the dishes, he's singing.  All the time.

So it was no surprise when we were picking chestnuts that he praised the Lord for every chestnut we put in his basket.  "Lord, just like your grace falls freely, so also you have given us these chestnuts.  All glory to God".   He would sing.  He exclaimed.  He praised the Lord. And he constantly reminded me of how good our God is.  Which is refreshing.  It made me think about how often I wait to sing in a controlled environment, when I feel comfortable, and when everyone else is doing it.

When we returned to the car, we realized it had sunk into the mud a bit. I did my best to get it out, but with little mud experience, Slobodan realized it would be better for him to do it.  Like a pro, he rocked the car, spun the wheels while steering left and right and immediately got it out.  But not without splattering the car with mud.

He knew I had a guitar lesson as soon as we got back to the church, so he told me "Jeremy, you can't go back to your wife with a dirty car.  I'm going to clean it." Sure enough, the whole time I was teaching several teenagers how to strum the G chord, he washed my car.

That day told me everything you need to know about our pastor. He's traditional. He's spontaneous. He's genuine. And he's humble.

When many western congregations are so often consumed by programs, methods and the newest thing, it's refreshing (dare I say shocking?) to witness the actions of a simple servant.


Daniel N. said...

"Slobodan" actually means "free" :)

Jeremy said...

Thanks for the correction Daniel.