“You shouldn’t have to do that.”
I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve heard that sentence lately. But I can’t. I’ve lost count.
Due to a plethora of factors, I’ve had to step in the gap and take on a few jobs I’ve haven’t done for while. When both of my guitar players had other work and family commitments, I led the praise service music. When it was time to begin planning Vacation Bible School, A person was needed to draw together a group of leaders to get that week off the ground. I stepped in this year. When our youth group leader had all her free time sucked into the family business, I found myself meeting with our middle and high school youth. Every step along the way I heard, “You shouldn’t have to do that.”
Maybe they are right. Maybe I should have just stood back and let those things go undone. But I didn’t. I stepped in and led the music, recruited leaders and met with the youth. While others debated the merits of my actions, I stepped in and did what I believe needed to be done. (As I write this, the debate rages in my mind: do I dare post this?)
First things first: I enjoy doing all these things. I enjoy our worship music, I thoroughly enjoy the Vacation Bible School experience, and I love working with our youth. It’s not an imposition. No one is forcing me to do those things. It’s an opportunity to do some of the things I can do and actually enjoy doing.
Second, there are some things I just can’t ignore. Like Sunday, for instance. Sunday comes right on schedule each week, and God’s people will faithfully gather for worship around Word and Sacrament, God’s gifts of grace. It doesn’t require much of me to play a few chords to accompany that blessing.
Third, no one else has yet stepped up to do any of those things. And I am OK with that. I’ve been in this call for twenty years (and in pastoral ministry for thirty) and I’ve learned that God fills in the gaps at the right time with the right people for the job. In between, I might just have be the temp who bridges one season to the next. When the prophet Isaiah got a taste of God’s grace in Isaiah 6, he said, “Here am I; send me.” Mercy moves you to do some amazing things.
So I played guitar for worship today. We survived and God was glorified. I am spearheading our Vacation Bible School. I’ve got all my station leaders in place. I will be here this week to meet with the youth group — and since some of our seniors are leaving for college soon, I am really looking forward to that meeting. I feel like I’m not doing all that much, but I have a front row seat to seeing some of the things that God is doing! Filling in the gaps can be quite rewarding.
I’m debating the wisdom of posting my thoughts tonight. I may be misunderstood. Let’s face it, I probably will be misunderstood. But it helps me clarify my thoughts, settle my soul and navigate the path ahead. By the way, I am thankful for all who hold up my arms, pray for me, make great (and wise) suggestions and keep me humble along the way.