Right now I’m at church on my husband’s computer, killing time as he and our Director of Christian Education (DCE) walk through next week’s worship service with the eighth grade class. These kids are getting confirmed next week, which in the Lutheran church is not a sacrament but a renewal of baptismal vows, where the young person confirms the promises that were probably made on his behalf when he was baptized as a baby. This is one of the “down time” pieces I find myself filling from time to time. I have no active role in confirmation, and while I could spend time chatting with some of the parents, I wandered upstairs to see what was happening.
So that group is busy, and the 7th grade class is cleaning up downstairs. Most of the parents are sitting in the pews, eager to snap some pictures once the group is posed in front of the altar. I think it’s wise that they take pictures a week in advance, because it lets the families do their own thing after the service next week. We’ve already been invited to two separate celebrations, possibly more. Hey, I don’t have to cook!
That’s the funny thing about being the wife of the pastor. I’m one of the people with nothing to do at events like this. “I’m just here for the food,” as the one step sister said in the Cinderella re-telling Ever After. Tonight was the confirmation dinner for the class. The 7th graders serve, the food is catered, and the 8th graders, their parents, and the church workers & spouses come together for a lovely meal and fellowship. Now that the meal is done, I’m one of the leftovers. I don’t mind it. I’d be chatting with either the other pastor’s wife or the DCE’s wife if I knew where either of them went. I think one might be downstairs and the other sitting in the sanctuary. But I just don’t enjoy sitting around the sanctuary during these things. Kind of like the voter’s meeting today after church. I don’t vote as a rule, and I don’t speak up for the most part, especially being this new to the congregation. So my role is to sit and listen. And believe me, there’s nothing new to hear. Not enough money, spending too much, how will we pay the bills? Every church debates these topics in meetings. Funny thing is, God always provides. There are lean years, and years of plenty. But it always works out. Right now we’re in some lean times, and we’re able to feast off of the store from previous plentiful times. So I’m not worried. The church will always endure, and this congregation is fine, financially.
Weird thing is, I tend to worry about our personal finances. I’ve been realizing lately that God has been working on me in that department, showing me that though I’m not always faithful, He ALWAYS IS. I know I can trust Him to see us through. He’s never let us down, we’ve always had more than enough. And I live in a place of great wealth compared to the rest of the world. I’m being called to trust.
I know God always provides – especially at churches where His Word is being proclaimed. One of the most profound things I think I have said (although I certainly didn’t intend it to be and it only occured to me much later that I said this) was to a woman who was complaining becuase my husband didn’t put up a sign up list prior to a potluck we were having at church. That had been their practice before we got here so that they could ensure that we would have enough food and variety of food. Paul found it made more work than was necessary. Anyway, she was complaining becuase she didn’t think there would be enough food and I told her that my Dad said that in his 30 years of ministry he had never been to a potluck where there wasn’t enough food. So I figured that becuase 2 or 3 were gathered in God’s name at potlucks that it was like the loave and fishes. God would provide for us. You know what. He did at that potluck and he has done so at every potluck since then. We had one of our best potlucks this weekend in terms of variety. Great food. I know food is different from money, but there are so many examples in the Bible where God took a little and turned it into a lot when people trusted that He was the guiding force behind it all.
On the importance of leftovers.
Leftovers are the most important part. They provide the catalyst for the future and the fuel for a quick start when nothing else will do. They remind us of the past, and inspire us for the future. Praise God you can be that leftover for Travis!