I recently attended a funeral to honor the memory of a friend’s loved one. My friend is also one of our staff members at church. I had many things to get done that day but knew I wanted to attend the funeral because I believe it’s important to create a staff culture that extends care and support rather than simply agendas and criticisms. So I left my office, desk cluttered with all sorts of paperwork, to attend a funeral and extend support. It was important to me because I knew it was the right thing to do.
On the way to the funeral I was chatting with a different friend (not a staff member) who was available to meet for lunch. It had been several weeks since the two of us had shared a meal and conversation about life and faith, so I wanted to oblige. But I also had a desk cluttered with all sorts of paperwork and a long list of things to do waiting for me in my office. So I decided to go to lunch with my friend, making a mental deal with myself that I’d make it brief. Lunch needed to be short.
A long time later I pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot with a full belly and hardly a concern about how long I had spent time with my friend. Many things have happened in my friend’s life since we last met: challenges, victories, health issues, etc. And many things have happened in my life since we last met: challenges, victories, etc.
The time together was a ministry opportunity for him and for me. The stacks on my desk could (and did) wait for another day. The lunch with this friend was more important. Lunch needed to be longer.