“The Pastor has No Clothes!”
A Modern Allegory
By David Ryser
Nothing is more dangerous than blind people who are certain they see clearly. (Fil Anderson)
Once upon a time, there was a pastor of a small church who had big dreams. He ministered in a church made up of good people who loved Jesus and did their best to honor Him. They genuinely cared for one another and actively served in the church. They listened attentively to the pastor’s sermons and sought to apply these lessons to their lives.
And the little church began to grow. But the pastor wanted more.
The pastor wanted a big church. He wanted a big ministry. Most of all, he wanted to be on television. In short, he wanted to be noticed.
Because he had been ignored and passed over for most of his life.
So this pastor decided that if his small church was ever going to become a big church…and if his ministry was ever going to be a successful and influential ministry…both the church and his ministry needed to operate as if both were big and successful.
And if he was ever to be on television, he needed to look good.
So the pastor began to dress in expensive clothes. After all, clothes make the man…or so they say. Over time, the pastor’s clothes became the centerpiece of his ministry. They gave him confidence. Confidence bred charisma. The pastor’s charisma drew more people to the church.
But it still wasn’t enough for the pastor.
Then one day a tailor came to the church. After attending a few Sunday morning services, the tailor introduced himself to the pastor. After complimenting the pastor’s clothing, the tailor offered to make a special suit of clothes for the pastor. This suit would be a special suit. A prophetically-made suit. This spiritual suit would be the most beautiful suit the pastor had ever seen. Because it was a spiritual suit, only those who were spiritual would be able to see it.
The tailor promised that the suit would be ready to wear on Pentecost Sunday. And since Pentecost Sunday is a celebration of the Church’s birth, the pastor’s new suit would be known as his Birthday Suit.
The pastor was so excited!
The tailor was soon put on the pastoral staff of the church and given an office. The office contained a desk, a chair, a work area with a mannequin on which would hang the Birthday Suit while it was being made, and a bookcase containing new and expensive…and unread…Bibles and theological books.
The pastor would visit the tailor every day to check on the progress of the Birthday Suit. The tailor would point to the mannequin (Also called a tailor’s dummy…ironic, don’t you think?) and describe the beautiful Birthday Suit hanging on it. The pastor could not see the suit…for none existed…but his insecurity over being thought unspiritual caused him to gush and fawn over the suit as though he saw it clearly.
And then the big day arrived.
As the pastor walked onto the platform wearing his Birthday Suit, the congregation gasped. They had been told of the suit and eagerly anticipated seeing it. But this was not exactly what they had expected. The suit was beautiful! And very special…since only those who were spiritual could see it.
And the pastor’s Birthday Suit certainly added some jiggle to his wiggle as he began to minister that morning.
But in the middle of his sermon, a small child spoke up and said, “The pastor isn’t wearing any clothes!” The people looked at the child, and then at the pastor, looked again at the child, and back at the pastor.
Then they began to laugh.
“Silly child,” they said. “The pastor’s clothes are beautiful! You just can’t see them because you are too young.” Other children insisted that the pastor was naked, but were also disregarded because of their immaturity. Those adults with childlike hearts joined in saying that the pastor was unclothed, but they were ridiculed as unspiritual and rebellious.
Eventually the contention over the pastor’s Birthday Suit grew to the point where it needed to be dealt with. So the children and those who were childlike in heart were asked to leave the church.
Those who remained in the church, clamored for the tailor to make Birthday Suits for them as well. So he did…beginning with the church elders. The people marveled at how each Birthday Suit was unique in appearance.
In truth, some of the Birthday Suits looked like they could use a good ironing.
Over time, the tailor made a Birthday Suit for each member of the congregation. He went on to author a best-selling book entitled The Tailor-Driven Church. His renown in the Church world increased along with his financial portfolio. The people in the congregation wore their Birthday Suits to church…with pride…each Sunday.
And the pastor?
Well, the church is still small. Attendance decreased quite a bit when the children and the childlike in heart left. The pastor never did get his television ministry. Something about a stupid FCC rule against wearing your Birthday Suit on broadcast television….
And until the day the church died, the members of the congregation couldn’t understand why no one wanted to join them.
Responses to this article are welcomed. You may contact the author at email@example.com