by Claudia Barber
I was a preacher’s kid. I watched my parents garden and can, sew and mend, scrimp, save, and make do. We had less stuff than some of our friends. But when I watched my dad in the pulpit, I could see that he thought he had the best job in the world. And I learned that there are more important things than money.
I was a preacher’s kid. The day my parents came out of Daddy’s office with a lady who had just accepted Jesus as her Savior and asked to borrow my globe so they could show her how her sins were removed as far as the east is from the west, I saw their faces shine and their eyes glisten, and I learned why they loved their job.
I was a preacher’s kid. When famous and not-so-famous preachers came to town, we cleaned and cooked on Saturday so we could bring them home for Sunday roast beef. They smiled and teased and asked if they could take off their shoes, and I learned that though they were our honored guests, they were also real people, and I could trust them.
I was a preacher’s kid. Sometimes grown-ups came over after the Sunday evening service, too late for little girls. Mother sent us up to bed, but we stayed awake under our quilts and waited because we knew she’d come with goodnight kisses and Coke floats in little glasses on a tray. I learned that even when our parents’ duties took them away from us for a little while, we were never out of their thoughts, not even for a minute.
I was a preacher’s kid. Even when I squirmed through morning prayer and Bible reading, eager to ride my bike or finish my Nancy Drew or cram for a test, Daddy made sure our family began each day by giving it to God. And I learned to put Him first.
I was a preacher’s kid. No errand with my dad was ever quick, because he was always stopping to talk to folks, to learn their names, hear their stories, hand them gospel tracts, ask if they were saved. On those errands I began to see people as more than clerks and waitresses and attorneys and mechanics and nurses and mailmen. I learned that every person is a soul God loves.
I was a preacher’s kid. When a grown-up once scolded me for something I didn’t even do and added the stinging “And you’re the preacher’s kid!”, I marched indignantly to my parents, certain they would take up my righteous cause. But when they just smiled and said gently, “We’re sorry, honey; people are like that, you know,” and dropped it right there, I learned that some things aren’t worth fighting for, and pride of reputation is one of them.
I was a preacher’s kid, and when I saw my dad give up friendships, position, and pension for the sake of defending the scriptures, I learned that some things are worth fighting for.
I was a preacher’s kid. I once overheard my dad at his desk asking God to help and guide and bless a man I had just seen storm out of his office, slamming the door behind him. My father prayed as though he were praying for a friend, and I learned what it means to love an enemy.
I was a preacher’s kid. When I grew up to be a preacher’s wife and called my mother to cry about a problem and said, “But this never happened to you!” she laughed a little and asked, “Don’t you remember when . . .” and I didn’t remember–not at all. I learned that preacher’s kids can be shielded from what’s happening outside their happy home. And that’s a good thing.
I was a preacher’s kid. When I hear that a church or a school they started from nothing is growing and thriving, or when I come across folks they led to Christ long ago and they love me now just because my parents loved them then, I learn what it means to reap blessings someone else has sown.
I was a preacher’s kid. If you want to learn what’s important, there’s no better way to grow up. I’d like to tell your children that, but they’re not here right now. Maybe you could tell them for me.