Have you ever been tempted to think your spiritual gifts or natural talents were less important in God’s kingdom than someone else’s? Do you feel as though Doing Your Thing might be a waste of time? I have. Last week I had the privilege to make some centerpieces for a football luncheon at my church. The impact these simple-looking football buckets had on my perspective of Christian ministry was far greater than what I expected. Decorating a few football tables did glorify the Lord. Let me go back in time, and tell the tale from the beginning, back to Vacation Bible School at the YMCA.
It All Began With My 4th Child
My 4th child is not an athlete like her four other siblings. She takes ballet, and most recently has been doing skits at our church. Her siblings have gotten lots of attention for their athletic accolades (in the same way that certain spiritual gifts get noticed more than others), especially from the men in our immediate and extended family. While I am my children’s biggest fan, I’m not an athlete myself, but have always been drawn to reading, writing, and art. So, when I heard that my ballerina would be performing in a few skits at the YMCA Vacation Bible School, I wanted to be involved. I offered to help with the skit props.
The making of props was not to be. The craft leader had some family health issues to attend to, and could not serve- would I be willing to do the crafts? Although I do teach some children’s classes at our church during our women’s program, I don’t usually volunteer for Vacation Bible School. It’s too hot, too big, etc., not my chosen ministry, etc. Of course I had a blast with the kids at the YMCA. I was also able to watch every skit while preparing the crafts. I felt very proud of myself for rising to the challenge, but probably shouldn’t have.
I Thought Everything Was Hunky-Dory
I’d survived and thrived. Everything was Hunky-Dory, until I received a text from a friend. She asked if I’d be interested in doing Bible story time at the YMCA on Monday evenings. I replied something like, “I’m not sure if story time is my thing, especially if there’s no props/demonstration lesson; I am Craft Girl. In general, I go back and forth between wanting to be challenged, and staying true to myself. Usually, I choose True to Myself, otherwise known as Stay in Your Comfort Zone. “Choosing not to do story time is a matter of self preservation,” I whispered to me, myself, and I. I further reinforced myself by thinking of how story time would clash with the dinner hour at my house. The Lord may convict me to do story time anyway, but I sure hope not. Do you run away when the Lord challenges you?
Crisis of Belief
After running from the Lord’s request to do story time (like a modern day Jonah-ette) I began to doubt my path as Craft Girl. “Maybe crafts are dumb, and they really aren’t helping God’s kingdom at all,” is what I said to myself when I wrote my next few craft/decor blog posts. Maybe people who tell Bible stories without crafts are better than you. Maybe your crafting blog posts are sub-par too. After all, they don’t get nearly as much traffic as fashion or health and fitness blogs- “And you don’t even have Bible verses in all of them,” my accuser whispered.
Shortly afterwards, we went to Alabama for my daughter’s softball tournament. It was a trying trip spiritually, and in other ways as well. While we were there, I saw an email from my church. Our homeschool administrator was asking for help making some football centerpieces for a luncheon the church was having for our local high school football team. Although my kids are homeschooled, they’ve played sports at this same school since South Carolina allowed homeschoolers to play sports in public schools (2012-2013). I did not respond, but waited instead. Maybe I was a decor/craft hog, and needed to give someone else a chance. Satan had really gotten into my psyche.
A few days later, I happily received the text from our homeschool administrator, asking if I would make the centerpieces. However, I still doubted the importance of my job.
God is in the Small Things
As the centerpieces progressed, God really was in control of the whole process. My son and I went to Sam’s Club and Walmart to buy groceries. We looked and looked and then looked some more. He is a patient man. Bless his heart; his girlfriend is a slow shopper too. We couldn’t find just the right thing to set beneath the football buckets. Later that night, I dug through my fabric container for some coordinating material. Behold! I found the leftover fabric pennants from the football banner I’d made for the team last year (or maybe the year before). They were perfect! I’d been searching high and low, when what I needed was right under my nose the whole time-just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
Delivering the Centerpieces
I packaged and photographed the football bucket centerpieces, and headed to the church. When I arrived, our homeschool coordinator asked if I wanted to see the tables. I did, of course. When I walked into the fellowship hall, my banner from last year was hanging on the wall. My centerpieces coordinated perfectly, because I used the same fabric pennants as the bedrock for the vignettes. After that, I didn’t have to wonder if crafts were important to God, or if this luncheon was important to God. I already knew that our missions pastor had been reaching out to the students at the school where my kids play sports. He waved a huge school flag from the outfield at my daughter’s state championship softball game in the spring. The homeschool coordinator told me that each football player was also invited to attend our 11:00 church service before the luncheon. Maybe some of them would hear and receive The Gospel, which is the story of how Jesus died on The Cross, so that we could live in Eternity with Him.
Each place at the table had a package with the school logo, and a little booklet. The little booklet, My Heart-Christ’s Home, tells the story of a man who invites Jesus into his heart, and allows Him to search all the “rooms” inside. It’s written by Robert Boyd Munger, and even reminds long-time believers that we need to give Jesus reign over every area of our lives. I could almost visualize those young players sitting at the tables. I smiled at the thought that they might know how much Jesus loves them, and how much our church loves them, and wants them to live their best lives. I could even envision those little football buckets in the center of the tables. I’ll have to peek on there on Sunday, to get the full effect.
Created to Glorify Him
Later on, in the shower, I kept asking God to reassure me that I really could use crafts and decor to further His kingdom (Gideon-ette), because I don’t want to waste my time here on earth. Then, He reminded me that we were created to glorify Him. So, I don’t have to worry if my job is small, or seemingly frivolous to some. I don’t have to bring glory to myself with “better” spiritual gifts and talents like singing or being an overseas missionary. As long as I’m responding to the call (or text or email), and glorifying Him with my spiritual gifts and natural talents, I am perfectly in His will.
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:31
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