Saturday, February 05, 2011

What God Gives, Part One

Today I went to a Sunday School conference in St. Paul.  It was good in a lot of ways.  I spent time with a friend from church on the way there and back.  We squeezed in some shopping.  We saw my sister.  And I got a really good dose of encouragement for Children’s ministry.

The churches at this conference are big.  Like one million dollar preschool wing expansion big.  Like a bunch of paid staff running children’s programming big.  And big can be very good.  But as I listened to the presenter in the first break out session I began to feel a little discouraged. 

We can’t do that.  We are a small church.  We don’t have those kind of resources.  We don’t have a building.  We don’t have paid children’s staff. 

Isn’t it always easier to focus on what we can’t do and don’t have?  It is for me.  I bemoan the things I don’t have thinking that the answer lies there which usually leads to throwing up my hands and giving up.  When I do that I totally ignore what God IS doing with what we DO have.

We have nine adults teaching the different ages of Sunday School.  We went to a conference and we want to meet and pray.  We have kids.  We have Bibles.  We have creativity.  We can pray.

Does God need more than that?  Of course not.  He can work in any situation, in any place.  In some places He works in grand buildings and some places he works in school commons areas.  And when he works where things may seem a little lacking, we can praise no one but Him.  We cannot praise our staff or our rooms or our craft supply closet.  God gets the glory. 

And as I always do I couldn’t help but apply that lesson to mothering.  How many times do we fall into the trap of thinking, I’d be a better mother if we: had more money, a bigger kitchen, a nicer washing machine, a maid or more compliant kids.  Maybe fewer kids would be easier.  Or if we lived in a warmer climate (I’ve been thinking that one a lot lately!). 

I just know I would do a bang up job if we could just change a few things.  If I could just have it all.  Or at least get what I want.

But none of that matters.  God has placed you and I where we are for a purpose.  We are part of His plan.  Why can’t I use the things He’s provided for me and make it work? Why can’t I love what I do, not what I have?  Why can’t I be creative with the things He’s already given me?   I can’t fall into the trap of believing if things were different they would be better.

The challenges God gives us in ministry and mothering are there for a reason.  His grace is perfect in our frailties.  He wants us to grow.  To rely on Him.  To be at peace.  To give Him the glory. 

I don’t have a big fancy house or a church with a million dollar preschool wing, but I do have Christ.  And although those things might be helpful, that is not the bottom line.  The bottom line is Jesus.  If He’s at the center of our ministry and mothering, it doesn’t matter if we are raising our kids in a barn or teaching Sunday School in a junkyard or …a million dollar preschool wing.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:8b-10

1 comment:

SahlbergFamily said...

I don't know; I often think simpler is better. I'm grateful for our small churches and simple lives. And like you, very grateful for the wonderful people serving God alongside us. Bloom where you're planted is the moral of the story, I think!