“But I don’t like hot carrots!” Brady, our 6 yr old grandson was protesting his Mom’s declaration that he needed to eat six carrot slices from the bowl of homemade beef soup that he’d been working on for some time. He kept on thinking of reasons he needed to get up from the table: 1. Dada (that would be me) needed to see the trophy he’d won at recent pedal-power tractor pull. 2. There was a note in his backpack from school. (Mom had already seen that one.) 3. He needed to go to the bathroom.
Mom would not be distracted and insisted that Brady eat six carrots from his soup bowl. I was sitting next to him and he asked me to eat them for him! I declined the offer. Finally, after some angry tears, he ate the carrots.
We each face things we don’t like. Last night for Brady it was hot carrots. Pastors and church leaders always face tasks, situations and people we don’t like. And, like Brady, we often procrastinate, protest and seek distractions as try to avoid those “hot carrots.”
Maybe you can relate to the pastor who detests keeping records and receipts in order to get reimbursed for mileage and expenses. Or the elder who avoids returning the phone call from the lady who always complains about the temperature at church. Or the pastor who declines nursing home services because he remembers how it smelled when his grandfather was a patient.
Delaying the inevitable usually makes the situation worse.
Last night we tried to explain to Brady that the carrots wouldn’t taste any different from the rest of the soup ingredients but logic didn’t matter. It rarely does when we’re trying to avoid “hot carrots.”
Every day I face tasks, situations and people I would rather ignore. Although I’m 47 years older than Brady, I’m still learning to face the “hot carrots” right away. Procrastination just makes things worse.
Putting off the phone call I don’t want to make or postponing answering the email that I would rather ignore, seems to impact everything else that needs to get done. Like you, I can always think of something that must be more important than the expense report. (Where is that trophy, anyway?)
As followers of Jesus – and especially as leaders – we are called to obedience and faithfulness in the enjoyable as well as in the unpleasant. It takes self-control and self-discipline to take up the cross and follow; to bear the burden. Taking care of “hot carrots” is not suffering but it is necessary.
People are watching us. Our families are watching us. Most importantly, God sees and hears us as we protest and seek a way out of doing what we don’t like. Deep down we all know the “hot carrots” go along with everything else in the bowl we do like.
Stop procrastinating. Eat your “hot carrots!”