My first pastoral ministry was as an assistant pastor to youth at a large church in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. In the fall of that first year, an evangelist was having a Saturday breakfast meeting with our group.
I was anxious for every detail of this event to be flawless and elegant, so the lay youth workers and I agreed to bring the last of the fall flowers from our gardens for floral arrangements.
The next morning, I decided to walk to church. There I was, dressed in a dark suit, a tie, hat and overcoat, walking down the street at 6:30 a.m. with a bouquet of chrysanthemums tucked under my arm.
As I strolled along, a car passed me from behind. Then, as though an afterthought, the driver stopped, backed up, rolled down the window, gestured to the flowers, and quipped, "If you’re just getting home, buddy, you’d better take her more than those."