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If My Grandma Was Your Pastor…

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If My Grandma Was Your Pastor…

I had the best Grandma a boy could ever want. I loved her and cherish her sweet and godly memory. She raised a family of eight children through the depression years. All eight have since died in the faith, full of the Holy Ghost. Our huge family has been left with a rich example and a wonderful heritage. Thanks Grandma!

I can find no fault in my sweet Grandma, nor do I wish you to. In her day and time, she did what she had to do to survive. That being said, I will tell this Grandma story.

(If she could read this I know she would be embarrassed and maybe mortified. I should be ashamed for mentioning it.)

The Bad Apples

“Marty honey, I want you to go downstairs into the basement and on the right side, at the bottom of the stairs, you will see two bushels of apples. One bushel has red apples and the other one has yellow ones. Look through both bushels and find all the apples that have bruises, or soft spots. Get all the rotten ones and bring them all upstairs to me. If we don’t get them out soon, they will make the good ones get rotten too.”

Grandma Gleason said that as she handed me a pan whose size was sufficient for the task. As a Kindergarten student I had never been entrusted with such a huge responsibility as protector of the apples. I went down into the dark cellar and immediately found the bushels and knelt beside them on the floor.

bruised-appleI picked up each apple and looked it over carefully, squeezing just enough to test for any softness. About five minutes later I came upstairs with a couple dozen apples and proudly gave them to Grandma. Parts of the apples somehow disappeared into the evening supper disguised in a salad or a desert.

The downside of this is that while at my Grandma’s house, I never got to eat a fresh ripe apple. Not even once. She seemed only to be focused on taking care of the bad apples. It never occurred to me to pick up a good one and bite into it, and enjoy its succulence. I was programmed to look for the bad and not the good.

Over the years I have wondered why I didn’t just sneak a good apple out of the bushel. Maybe it was the fear of taking something without asking, or knowing there were many mouths to feed. I really don’t know now, but the bottom line is I didn’t ever get a taste of a good one.

Memory Talks To Me About This

This childhood story maybe could have been forgotten and died within me. But, over the years, that memory has walked down the hallway of my mind again and again and sat down beside me for a quiet chat. It happened once more this morning.

When memory quit talking to me today, my mind wandered over to the parenting and minister side of me. Have I spent my life focusing only on culling the bad apples to keep the others from spoiling and done so to my own hurt and the hurt of those around me?

How sad for me if I only fixated on removing sin’s negative things, and missed out on the pleasure of enjoying all of God’s good things.

Absolutely, wrong behavior must be dealt within the home and the House of God. But, in the process of running a good tight ship, it’s an added blessing if all those around you find it easy to smile and laugh and are happy. Worldliness will destroy a church, but so will religious fanaticism.

There Must Always Be Balance, Both In Pastoring And Parenting.

As parents we can stay so long in the corrective mode that our children live without much joy and happiness. It has happened. Some children can’t wait to leave home. My parents were very loving and yet we knew to be careful. When we were corrected, sometimes Mom cried with us. She could then sit down and play table games with us and laugh with us.

Preachers must never stop preaching against sin, compromise or worldliness. When we recognize the spirit of Laodicea or a Charismatic attitude we need to cull that from the bushel. We must readily defend this Apostolic message to our dying day.

In the process of preaching and enforcing holiness, and culling every bad apple of doctrine from the bushel, the saints need to be able to enjoy the taste found only in the bite of a good apple, once in a while. On the other hand, we all know that if we just eat the good ones, and never remove the bad, soon the whole bushel will be garbage. There must be a balance.

As an old former pastor and a preacher that has been put out to pasture, I can only hope that there were times when I let my hearers savor the sweetness of the Gospel. Everyone needs to experience what King David was enjoying when he said, ‘Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!”

If Grandma was your pastor and she ran your church like she did her home, the bad apples would always be culled and dealt with. Yet, in the process, there may not be any fresh ones left out on the table for anyone to enjoy.

As sweet as she was, be glad Grandma was not your pastor!



Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 12, 2015 at 9:27 am

Posted in Christian Living, Salvation

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