Knowing children seek entertainment to escape education’s morality, L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz “solely to please children of today.” Well, not even Dorothy Gale, at her journey’s end, escapes a good life lesson. “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard,” she tells Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. “Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
On Saturday night, Zach and I dressed up like the Scarecrow and Dorothy just for fun. I almost found a Bible verse about home to pin-up over our “Trunk or Treat” game, but the making of the yellow brick road ate up our time and attention. It was for the sole pleasure of the children. Our game was humble. We dumped out a barrel of monkeys, let them dangle on emerald ribbon, and gave the kids a Nerf gun. It’s harder to knock down plastic monkeys with a foam dart than you’d think.
I’m sure Zach never dreamed he dressed like the Scarecrow and hand a Nerf gun to kids at a church fellowship. The son of Air Force parents, Zach never dreamed he’d be an associate pastor. He wanted to be a fighter pilot. In high school, he aimed for the Air Force Academy and devoted himself to his dream. Then God called him to ministry.
Zach wept when he heard God say, “I want you to reach the next generation for Me.” He wept not for the loss of a dream, but for the reality and honor of such a calling. Immediately, he switched gears. He applied to Christian colleges and, later, he applied to seminary. He pursued the Lord’s dream for his life with the same devotion he’d reserved for his Air Force dreams. And one summer afternoon, God gave back what Zach had given up.
At a Christian music festival, Zach stopped to thank an Air Force recruit for his service. He’s been taught to respect those in uniform, and rightly so. The recruiter then asked if Zach had considered the Reserve Chaplaincy. Yes, it was possible to serve God in civilian ministry and in the military. Three years later, Zach trained and preached at the Air Force Academy. Today, Zach is not only a full-time associate pastor, but also a Reserve Chaplain in the Air Force.
God is good and gives us the desires of our hearts. And they’re not just in our backyards, but straight from God’s perfect heart. Zach’s story always reminds me of that beautiful truth.
Do you know your pastor’s story? How did God call him to ministry? Do you ever stop to consider the hard work of ministry? Now that Zach is an associate pastor, our weekends are booked with fellowships and events like “Trunk or Treat.” Sundays are exhausting work days for Zach (and me). And it doesn’t end on Sunday. Pastors deny themselves daily for us.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Before the month is up, take a moment to thank your pastor for his hard work, his dedication, and his love for your congregation. Your appreciation, be it ever so humble, goes a long way.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for our pastors. May they find in You the strength to carry on and carry out Your will. And thank you that you give us the desires of our hearts and bless our lives with purpose. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo: Scarecrow, Dorothy, and Rufus, the Cowardly Lion.