Remember pastors: the kind of car you drive might be the deciding factor in whether someone goes to heaven or hell.
A guy who was going off on me right before leaving my church was in my driveway, in front of his new SUV, and pointed to my used Toyota Camry and said, “Pretty nice car for a pastor.”
I believe I was so stunned by this that I just stood there. Really? A Toyota Camry is too nice? Incidentally, this happened about ten years ago. The guy is now dead. The Camry is still going.
I don’t mind if people have problems with me, that is to be expected. I do appreciate it, however, if the problems are actually legitimate.
A Toyota Camry is a pretty sensible vehicle. It’s a no-frills model. It serves its purpose, which is all I ask in a car.
Anyone who listens to my preaching knows that I emphasize the idea that you cannot serve God and mammon, that we are to let go of the things of this earth and grab on to eternal things. I mention this almost every week.
Of all the problems I have, materialism isn’t one of them. Ask my wife, my non-materialism annoys her at times. This isn’t even necessarily all for spiritual reasons either. I just hate stuff.
But no matter how careful I am, how sensible and thoughtful my purchases are, you can bet someone will judge them.
I was judged for having cable television, for going on family vacations, for how often my kids went to the doctor, for my house, for my neighborhood, and so on.
Many of the people who made these judgments left the church. People who judge your material possessions do not like you. They are looking for reasons to get upset. There is, no doubt, something you have purchased that they think is a waste.
Never mind what they buy, this isn’t about them and what they do; it’s about you and their need to dismiss you as a terrible spiritual leader. This gives them the spiritual superiority and right to leave the church holding their head up high.
On the way out they will let you know that your Camry is leading people to hell.
You know what? If someone is in hell because I have a Camry, they deserve to be there.
Yeah, I said it and I mean it. Grow up.
I highly doubt on Judgment Day a condemned sinner will be able to argue with God, “No, I don‘t deserve hell; that one pastor had a Camry!” and God will say, “Ah, oh wait. You’re right. I stand corrected. Well done good and judgmental servant. Enter into my kingdom.”
Not gonna happen.
Pastors, get used to being judged. Understand that little of it has to do with you.
Let me also say, there’s a chance some of it does have to do with you. Criticisms are occasionally correct. Pastoral ministry pays better these days. You should be careful. But don’t be careful because of what people will say; be careful because you’ll give an account before God.
You and God work out your spending. Leave it before Him. Then get ready for the criticism, because it’s coming.