I was talking to a friend recently who used a phrase I’d never heard. He was speaking about pastors usually attempting to be upbeat and personal, and said, “Always the stewardess!”
Even as old as I am, I’ve never heard that term before. I suspect, given the disappearance of the word “stewardess,” I might never hear it again. I don’t think there are any stewardesses these days. They’re all flight attendants (men included). Still, I get it.
Stewardesses Were the Best
In the old days, at least, the stewardesses were expected to be bubbly, smiley, polite and helpful. I don’t know if the flight attendants of today are expected to be the same. For the most part, I’ve not found them to be like that, but I’m not the most frequent of fliers.
Just as importantly, I’ve not found too many pastors who are like that either. I know I’m not. These days, people are more likely to be themselves rather than put it on.
The problem with always being the stewardess is that no one ever knows the real you. Of course, the problem with not always being the stewardess is that people can get put off very quickly. There are expectations, you know.
I remember years ago, I was serving a congregation in a full-time pastoral capacity. Due to the workload, we developed a policy that stated the pastor would only perform wedding ceremonies for people who were an active part of the congregation.
I’m Definitely NOT a Stewardess
One day, a man and his daughter showed up at my home asking if I would perform the daughter’s wedding. I was on my way out the door to a meeting, so I gave them a brochure that explained the policy and asked them to look it over and give me a call.
The man looked at me and said, “You’re not much of a pastor, are you?” I wasn’t in a particularly good mood to begin with, but when he said that, I definitely proved that I’m not “always the stewardess.” I wasn’t ignorant, or anything, but I’m sure my change of tone gave away my displeasure.
This whole train of thought causes me to wonder if Jesus was always the stewardess (so to speak). I know he wasn’t such when he was confronted by his Pharisee contemporaries, but how was he with everyone else? The Bible doesn’t really give us much insight to his actual personality. We can tell that he was kind and compassionate, so our immediate impression is that he was very affable. Still, a person can be kind and compassionate without being bubbly, smiley and over-polite. I suppose we’ll never know on this side of the bar.
The Apostle Paul did tell us things like, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” He wanted us to be like that, but he didn’t say Jesus was like that. He did add, however, that we should be forgiving like Jesus (Ephesians 4:32).
I guess I should be just be content to know I’ve been forgiven.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently the pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]