A few weeks ago I called a church member, a mechanic, to see if he'd agree to oversee the maintenance on our church van. It turned out to be a case study on the pressures pastors feel to let others use (and abuse?) their time.
"Hey, Rick, it's great you called," he said, as soon as he picked up the phone. "I was going to call you today and ask you a favor."
Wonderful, I thought to myself. If he asks me a favor first and I say yes, then he will feel more obliged to help us out, too.
"What a coincidence-why don't you ask first," I suggested.
"Well, we have this city chamber event on Saturday afternoon, three weeks from now," he said. "We'd like you to be the emcee. Are you free that day?" (That was probably a double message: check your calendar, and be aware we want you gratis-no honorarium.)
My wife and I had a day trip planned for that Saturday. But, wanting him to help me, I said, "Well, I've got a conflict that day, but maybe I can get out of it. I'll try to rearrange my schedule." Rather ...1