The Grass is Greener

Terry Walton


The Grass is Greener

I Was Thinking…

“We live in a competitive society that focuses on making it.  Baseball players live for the day they make it to the big leagues.  Business people climb the corporate ladder with the hope of someday being the CEO or chairman of the board…The individual will have made it; he/she will have arrived.  But the idea of arriving is an illusion.  Our society is filled with people who arrive somewhere only to find themselves as discontented as they were before they succeeded.  The point of the journey is not arriving.  The point is what you learn and who you become along the way.  Having goals is positive.  Thinking that our journey is over once we achieve some of them is a danger we all face.

John Wooden, one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time, never stressed winning.  He emphasized preparation, teamwork, a willingness to change, and the desire for each person to perform at peak potential.  His focus was on process, not the end product.” (Developing the Leaders Around You, John C. Maxwell, Pp. 115-116)

We’ve all heard the phrase “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence”.  Not too many years ago a friend of mine asked me the question, “Terry do you know where the grass really is greener?”  I said, “On the other side of the fence?”  To which he replied, “No!  The grass is greener where you fertilize.”  I’ve never forgotten his question nor have I forgotten his response.

Too often there is the temptation for the United Methodist Pastor to always be dreaming of serving that ‘perfect’ church full of ‘perfect’ people someday while missing the opportunities to Pastor those children of God in our present setting of ministry.  And too often there is the temptation for United Methodist Lay persons to always be dreaming of that perfect Pastor that the DS and Bishop will someday send their way while missing the opportunity of the gifts and graces of the Pastor presently in their midst.  “The grass is greener where we fertilize.”

Somewhere along life’s way a mentor said to me “Terry, always serve your present church as if you were going to be their Pastor forever, realizing that one day you will leave and someone will follow you.”  That was an important word for me that I have sought to live.  It is advice that says “Serve the Lord where you are and always serve with the realization you are preparing the way for someone to follow.” 

And to lay persons…love your pastor(s) as if they will be your Pastor(s) forever and yet be ready for a ‘healthy goodbye’ when God calls them through our itinerant system to fulfill their calling in another place.  For all of us, it is true… “The grass is greener where it is fertilized”.

Always Thinking…


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