Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sharpening Pencils

It's been over three years now that we started our search for a new church.......looking at a website, digging for some information, calling a pastor.  On that website there was something about villages and their leaders.

And for some odd reason I remember thinking I want to see OUR name on that website.  I want Joe and I to be village leaders - whatever the heck that means.

I think that I was looking for a way to matter, something to do, something to proclaim myself as a Christ follower, doing something that is IMPORTANT.  But it mentioned a year long program and more that immediately cast that thought from my mind and I went on with life.

We joined that church.

And three years later we are leading a village.  Our name is on that website.

There was no year long program - just diligence, a vision laid out from God, being faithful in the little things, showing up and a bit of work.

And today as I was unpacking pencils, trying to find a sharpener and finally giving up, just to take them home and get the job done...............I laughed.

I laughed at the conceit I once had............of wanting to see my name on a website, of mistaking recognition for mattering, of thinking those up front are those who are doing the most.

For I am now up front occasionally, my name is on a website (probably one that hardly ever gets looked at but still it seemed to matter once), people are kind enough to encourage and recognize my efforts BUT..............those few moments are completely eclipsed by the many, many moments of sharpening pencils, crafting e-mails, pounding out lesson plans and documents and checklists, setting up tables, running off copies, sitting and asking God to please show up because I have NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING, reading my bible for peace/answers/rest, decorating a church room to look more like a castle/justice league, calling to check in, texting to reassure and so much more.

Now three years later I recognize.

I recognize that glory for ME is fleeting and passes quickly and is wrapped up in performance and audience and will always be a let-down, a disappointment but that glory for GOD is found in the building, the movement, the momentum that is created by Him and is made up of a million moments of diligent, daily faithfulness.

It's sharpening pencils.

It's painting walls.

It's checking in.

It's showing up.

It's going to a job you don't love so your family is taken care of and supported.

It's making tough decisions in light of the future you want.

It's reading books to children after a long day, almost falling asleep as you read but knowing this time is precious and fleeting to all of you.

It's listening.

It's asking hard questions.

It's cleaning rooms and floors and clothes that will be dirty again the next day.

It's making food that gets eaten in a tenth of the time it takes to make it.

It's coming home after a long day and chasing kids, playing games, wrestling......instead of sitting down, taking a load off and relaxing.

Those moments up front?  Those glorious moments of basking in the limelight?  The recognition, the praise?

All amazing things.

But those moments are built upon a million moments that remain unseen, unrecognized and seem unimportant...............the real glory comes from knowing that there is a higher purpose.  You are not working for you or for recognition or for perfection.  You are working for God, for His glory, for His purposes.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"  
                   - Ephesians  2:10

And you know..............I used to teach first grade.......for seven years I sharpened A LOT of pencils.  It was my LEAST favorite thing to do.  Those dang pencils were ALWAYS breaking.  It was the thing that could send me right over the edge......getting ready for a test, a worksheet, a writing assignment......."MISS KOSSLER!  MISS KOSSLER!  MY PENCIL JUST BROKE!  MY PENCIL JUST BROKE!'  Oh. my. word.  Ok.  Go sharpen it.  "MINE BROKE, TOO!  CAN I SHARPEN MY PENCIL, TOO?"  (teeth gritted) Yes.  We will wait.  (Because first graders need tests read to them and worksheets explained and such)  And on and on it would go.

Every day with the pencils.

So it looks like God was just preparing me in advance for the future glory of being a village sharpening pencils.

What's God preparing in YOU?

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