I pastor a church filled with people in the Intelligence Community. When it comes to what exactly they do, I don’t ask and they don’t tell. Why? Because then they’d have to kill me.
My interest was piqued. Two coffee-drinkers at Starbucks spoke loudly enough for me to be an unintended, yet all too willing listener. One man was recruiting the other. It would have otherwise been a no-brainer to tune them out, but then I heard the words, ‘the Agency.’Those of us that live in proximity to the Beltway understand what this is. We live in the ‘If I told you I’d have to kill you’ Intelligence Community where you need clearance to enter buildings and a disciplined tongue in all casual conversations.
But here I was. And one of those words was used, almost like the things you hear about when it comes to how phone calls are monitored regarding National Security, when certain words or phrases are used that alert computers that alert agents, that alert the Pentagon, that alert the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that alert the President…
The Agency. Security and Pentagon and President stuff! THE AGENCY!!!!!
I pastor a church filled with people in the Intelligence Community. When it comes to what exactly they do, I don’t ask and they don’t tell.
Because then they’d have to kill me.
And they would be without a pastor.
Well… and I would be dead too – bad all the way around.
So you can understand why my ears were burning.
It is a rare thing to be privy to such secret national interests. I couldn’t hear every word, but terms like central and computers and cases broke through the mumbling. And that was enough, because, not only do I pastor such people but I’ve seen a lot of movies about them – and I’m certain it’s all true…
But then something happened. Something utterly unexpected was said that caused me to stop listening all together.
No, I wasn’t discovered to be listening. Like I said, I’ve seen the movies and shows going all the way back to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – I know how to do espionage (yikes! – one of those words!) and how to listen like a secret agent. When I was a boy I turned my first generation Bic pen into a mini-walki-talkie, and yes, I’ve talked into my shoe. Trust me, I listened under the radar.
Through my above-average sleuthing, I learned that it was in fact a recruiting meeting. One man was enlisting the other, however, it was not for some top-secret, black-ops, high-clearance, two-people-have-to-turn-the-key-to-make-it-happen kind of position, but to join…
An Insurance Agency!
An Insurance Agency with a central database! An agency with computers and cases!
Immediately – almost faster than immediately – I lost all interest! From then on the only words I heard were ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…’
What a waste! How could these inconsiderate clods sit close enough to another patron and make such noise about such trivial things? The audacity!
It left me thinking two things, the deepest of which was that I belong to a Father who never…
Loses interest in me.
Or you, if you are His.
His love is unconditional.
It is an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). His interest in us never depended on our ability to be interesting, good, exciting or pure. It is a never-give-up-on-the-prodigal (Luke 15), it-never-depended-on-you kind of love.
It is simply unconditional.
In a world filled with conditions and short attention spans this is good news.
What was the other thing it left me thinking?
If I told you I’d have to kill you…
Mike Khandjian is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and serves as the Senior Pastor of the Chapelgate Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Marriottsviolle, MD. This article first appeared on his blog, Unfinished1, and is used with permission.