e-letter 5/31/19

There has been a great deal of activity going on in the church offices this week as our student ministry prepares to leave on their mission trips on Saturday. We are so very blessed with amazing students, parents and adult counselors who make these incredibly important experiences happen each year. A great deal of planning goes into every detail to make these experiences successful for the students and for those they serve.

 
 

During all that activity I was reminded of a youth mission trip that I led many, many years ago. It was a very small group, just 8 students, me and one other counselor and we went to a small UM Children’s Home in Thomasville, GA to do whatever they needed in terms of small repairs on the facilities. About a week before the trip I learned that each group that was coming to the Home that summer would be laying a small section of concrete with the hopes of having a whole new parking lot by the end of the summer. I’d never laid concrete. But in consulting with my husband and my dad who both had experience with this kind of work, I went away confident that despite our number, we could manage the job.

 
 

When we arrived at the Home, we were greeted by the gentleman with whom I’d made all the arrangements for the trip. As we talked, he looked at our small group and I could see a change of expression on his face. He looked concerned. He asked, “Is this your whole group?” I replied, “Yes, this is it, but I warned you we were small. It might take us a little longer to get it done but I think we can handle it.”

 
 

He looked again. And still he was clearly skeptical. Then he said, “You have only one guy in this group.” I replied, “Yep, it looks that way.” And I knew in that moment, he had no faith that we could do the task before us. He saw a small collection of mostly young girls, one teenage boy and two female counselors and assumed there was no way we could get the job done.    

To be honest, his attitude made us even more determined to not only do the job, but to do it well. And that is exactly what we did. Not only did we lay that concrete, but it was the smoothest section of concrete that had been laid. And on the last night we were there, as we watched the rain drain off the concrete from the slight slope we had planned, we knew we had done an awesome job.
 
 

While the man we worked with never said it, I’m guessing that the end product was to him, something of a miracle. He clearly never expected us to be able to do the job. We just didn’t look like the kind of group that you would go out and hire to lay a parking lot. But perhaps he had forgotten that God often works in ways and through people that you might never expect nor dream of.

 
 

I admit, I was a little worried too. I knew it was going to be hard. And I wished we’d had a bigger, more experienced group. But I also knew we had something to offer and so I figured it was worth giving it a try. So, we came, and we did what we what we could, and lo and behold, a miracle happened. Another section of parking lot was laid.

 
 

This week in worship we will conclude our “Jesus Is…” message series, thinking together about the power of Jesus to satisfy and provide as we reflect on the story of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000 as it is found in Mark 6:30-44. This story invites us to consider the ways that Jesus invites us to share whatever it is that we have, whatever is at our disposal, in response to some need, trusting in the power of God’s grace to bless it, multiply it and use it in sometimes miraculous ways. When the disciples are concerned about the crowd and urge Jesus to send them away so that they can get food for themselves, Jesus says to them, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37) But they are skeptical. Their concern: There is no way we have enough for all these people! And they don’t. At least, not by themselves. But they have something. And that is the point. Jesus basically says, “Use what you have, and leave the rest to me.”

 
 

This next week, our youth and adults will be challenged to use whatever gifts they have to meet the needs of those they will be serving. It may not seem like much on the surface, to the casual observer. But they are on a Kingdom mission, working for Christ, in the name of Christ. And I have no doubt, that in the end, with a little Holy Spirit intervention, they will find that they have more than enough to make a difference in the lives of the folks they will serve.

 
 

How about you? What are the ways that Jesus is saying to you, “Use what you have, and leave the rest to me?” What are the ways that Jesus is inviting you to trust in his power to satisfy and provide even when we think, there is no way I can do this? I invite you to start thinking about those questions as we prepare for worship this week.

 
 

Also, remember to be in prayer of our students and adult on Mission this coming week. I’m so grateful to be a part of a church that makes mission such a central piece of our student ministry.

 

See you in worship on Sunday.

 
 
Grace and Peace,
 
Annette