I have just been listening to ‘A little less conversation’ by JXL. It’s a funky remix of the Elvis Presley song. You can see it and hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&v=BSkDQYe2FYw It is featured in the film Bruce Almighty (among others).
The first four lines are:
A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation aint satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
I think we could all agree with the sentiment. In different aspects of our lives we could do with spending time with less aggravation, less angst, less arguments and more getting on with what we have to do.
I can remember when working in office jobs there were times when I wanted to get on with the tasks I had to do and would feel the frustration of unsolicited phone calls or someone dropping by for a chat. There are times in church life when we may want to stop talking and discussing and just get on with things. There are times in our relationships when would rather we spent less time looking at options and deciding what is best and instead get on with what it is we have to do.
But that is not necessarily the best way ahead. It is not necessarily the Jesus way ahead. Somehow he seemed able to give time and energy to the interruptions. He was willing to be distracted from teaching his followers by crowds who wanted him to minister to them. He was willing to hear questions and arguments from those who criticised and opposed him. He even tolerated the stupid comments and daft ideas that his friends articulated in a vain attempt to demonstrate that he understood them.
Why was that?
Because he valued people. Above all else, people mattered most. It is easy for us (me especially) to forget that what I say and do has an impact (positive or negative) on those around me. It is easy to feel frustrated when people do not agree with us. It is possible to be annoyed at the demands that people place on our time. I have jokingly commented with fellow-ministers that church leadership would be easy if it were not for the people. But that is the exact opposite of Jesus’ approach. I am sorry if I have forgotten that or have acted as if I have. I will try not to be flippant about it either.
People come before programmes and projects in the Kingdom of God as well as in the dictionary!
So, sorry Elvis, I think you were wrong. (Please tell him if he is working in the fish and chip shop near you).
Revd William Woebegone has been leading his church for seven years and has been given sabbatical leave. He is curious as to what an American endures in everyday life. So he decides to go to the United States before he is too old to enjoy it. He hops on a plane bound for Nevada. As he is exiting the plane, someone in the airport runs up to him and exclaims, “ELVIS! OH MY GOD! IT’S ELVIS! I knew you weren’t dead, Elvis! How have you been?”
Revd Woebegone looks at her and says, “I don’t know what you mean. Can’t you see I’m not Elvis? I don’t look a thing like Elvis.”
The minister moves on to his cab waiting outside. He hops into the cab, and he’s a little upset so tells the cabby, “Take me to my hotel and step on it.”
The cabby turns and says, “Sure thing, Sir – OH MY GOD! IT’S ELVIS! I knew you weren’t dead! I’m your number one fan! It’s so great to SEE you again!”
“You’ve got it all wrong,” says the Minister. “I’m NOT Elvis! Now turn around and drive!” So the cabby speeds to the hotel.
Revd Woebegone gets his things and walks up to the hotel check-in counter.
“OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT’S YOU! screams the hotel clerk. “YOU’RE BACK, ELVIS! I knew this day would happen. We saved everything just the way you like it! Free cheeseburgers, peanut butter and banana fried sandwiches, masseurs, complimentary tickets to any show you want to see and a full liquor bar! I’m so glad you’re back!”
Revd Woebegone sighs and looks hard at the hotel clerk and says, “Thank you… Thank you very much!”