I wear a watch pretty much every day. I have a lovely watch that Scott gifted me for some holy day, which replaced the one he gave me on our wedding day. I have worn watches forever, I think- I remember I got my first watch when I was just in kindergarten, it had a red alligator strap and gave me a rash, so my Mom painted the back of the watch (not the strap part...) with clear nail polish so I could wear it.
My current watch has a near-dead battery, and that means I've not been able to wear it for a week. I miss it! I can't tell you how many times I have looked at my naked wrist throughout the day. The other day while I was on my drive to work I thought about how weird I feel without a watch on and thought "I guess I could still wear it..."
And I was struck by the silliness of that thought and thought "there's no point in wearing a broken watch." Of course there's no point! But it's tempting to wear it, useless as it is, because it's comfortable, it's what I'm used to. Even if it can't tell me the time, it at least would give me something to look at every time I hold my wrist up in front of my face...
Really, it made me think of ministry (what doesn't?) and how we hang on to things that have become useless in our ministries. We know these things have long since lost their charm, relevance, ability to do what we want them to do, but we are comfortable with them. They fill space in our programs so that we can say "see, we're busy! We're doing something!" Sure, we may say, hardly anyone continues with the Church after they're confirmed, but we have a busy program and they come to that consistently... until they are done. They don't like it... but if it's there, it must be doing something- no need to change it.
I think it's a necessary skill for a minister to stop wearing broken watches. But not just a skill, it's... bravery. We need to step away from our comfortable, busy-looking, unproductive programs and try something new. If/when the new watch breaks, we change again. There's really no point in wearing a broken watch.