By Butch Riddle, Senior Pastor First Baptist Church-Ashdown
I have played sports for most of my 60 plus years of life. The smell of fresh-cut grass and 100 degree days makes me dread two-a-days in football. On hot summer nights I think I might go to the ballpark and take batting practice and shag a few flies and skinners. I see the basketball goal in the church parking lot and suddenly I am shooting free throws to win the game. I drive by the high school stadium and see the track and the pole vault pit and my mind takes me back to the thrill of vaulting, high jumping, and long jumping. Sports have long been a major part of who I am.
Lately, I have relegated my sporting life to the golf course and the deer stand where spectators are few and far between. I don’t belong to a hunting club and usually golf alone. There is nobody around to cheer me to greater accomplishment or encourage me when I miss a putt or my arrow misses the mark. That’s okay because I choose to enjoy my “alone time” with the sports I can still play.
But there are times when I miss hearing the coach say, “Attaboy, Riddle!” Or hearing my family in the stands with a few dozen or a few thousand yelling, “Attaboy!” You see, when I was young that’s what people yelled when you did something spectacular. I got a few hits in baseball that made a difference. I struck out the other side to win the game. I threw a touchdown pass. I cleared the bar. I made the free throw. But I also missed a few. And they still yelled, “Attaboy!”
Now, I am a pastor. I’ve been a pastor for nearly 35 years. People applaud for the choir, soloist, pianist, or special music. But they don’t applaud much for the sermon. And that’s OK. Paul told the Corinthians and the Colossians that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” and “do it all for the glory of God.” But it sure is nice to get an “attaboy” every now and then. Give your pastor and staff an “attaboy” every once in a while. I think you will see a difference in them…and you.