So maybe I’ve confused my metaphors here a bit, but as they say, “When the shoe fits, do as Romans do.” I think you’ll understand….
Unless your pastor specifically asks you to buy him a particular book, please, for the love of Tom Clancy, don’t buy him a book as a gift. One of two outcomes is assured when you get your clergy a book which he hasn’t requested: 1) the book is great and your pastor already has a copy, so he winds up giving the book away to someone he is mentoring, or 2) the book is awful, and filled with pop theology that puts your pastor in the awkward situation of smiling and thanking you for giving him an author he would never read or recommend to others. Getting your pastor a book for a gift is like giving a house maid a new mop for her birthday.
One of my pastor friends from another state recently “regifted” a book to me. He wasn’t being kind; he was attempting some preacher humor. You see, someone had given him a book filled with health and wealth nonsense and he thought he might bequeath me with this “theological treasure.” He took great care to ensure that the book was elegantly wrapped and left anonymously on my desk.
I cracked up when I opened the box. I immediately knew it was a joke, but was unsure who was perpetrating the ruse. So I waited. Sure enough, in a matter of days, the cat was let out of the proverbial bag. A mutual friend let me know from whence the prosperity-ensuring heresy came.
So I began to plot my revenge. But I forgot what Scripture says: “‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
I pulled out my new book, intending to post nuggets of quoted heretical wisdom on my pastor friend’s facebook page. I thought he and I would at least enjoy a chuckle. However, when I opened the shrink-wrapped book, I found something a whole lot better than heresy!
One hundred and fifty smackers were staring me in the face, safely tucked away in the heart of this book. Imagine that! A prosperity book that actually delivered! Ha! My friend’s joke backfired significantly! Of course, I called him and rubbed the story in his face. And would you believe that he had the audacity to expect me to return the bucks?! Well, obviously I did. But the whole thing made me laugh. And I hope the moral of the story isn’t lost on you: you should always stuff the books you give your pastor with hundreds of dollars, but you might want to write a check just in case he chunks it out before he opens it!