This might not have been the best time to come. Back-to-School shopping was in full swing. Large colorful signs, hanging in every direction, were luring me to partake of the best deals of the season. Shelves were stocked high with boxes of new shoes. Packages of underwear and socks were strategically placed for quick, last minute decisions. People of all ages were everywhere and emotions were running high, all in preparation for going back to school. The atmosphere was a mixture of excitement, anxiety, and dread. I was only there to make a return. My mom, the girls, and I had walked around the store trying to find the shortest line to stand in. All the lines were the same length- LONG!
People in line were holding stacks of clothes taller than their heads. They looked exhausted, excited, and/or relieved that school shopping was almost complete. Other people were standing looking annoyed, staring at the cashier in telepathic fashion hoping to make the line go faster by their thoughts. Some people were completely oblivious to what was happening around them. Their eyes were fixed on their phones and their earbuds turned up so high that the sounds of reality were drowned out. For each of us, the cash register represented the finished line. We inched closer and closer as the minutes ticked by.
Over the last few weeks, I have developed a new appreciation of lines. We were at Story Land a few weeks ago and all of us were FINALLY at the magical height to enjoy (at least) some of the rides together. No one had to sit out with the youngest child, watching enviously as the Dutch Shoes bobbed up and down and we all could drive a tractor through the whimsical farm. At Story Land, I realized being in a line was not such a bad thing but more of an opportunity to rest and observe what was happening around me. I noticed how the sun reflected off my children’s hair making each hue a heavenly color. I noticed how handsome my husband is and remembered how we met and fell in love. I watched family relationship being strengthened as dads pulled their children to their shoulders and moms whispered secrets into their baby’s ears. AND I witnessed numerous meltdowns, my son’s included, and took note of how parents responded. Before I knew it, the line had moved and my family was sailing away with a friendly band of sea pirates on the Buccaneer Pirate Ship, laughing and answering our favorite pirate joke- “What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?”
You may be thinking what on earth does this or lines have to do with being a leader? You, amazing ministry leader, have been hard at work, planning and preparing, and waiting for this upcoming year. Dates and topics discussed, decorations/curriculum purchased, speakers/teachers lined up, policies and procedures nailed down, last minute decisions have been made. But now, as some of you are only days away from your first meetings, I want you to take a moment and rest in the wait, in the line of a job well done. Don’t forget to look around you and ask others for help with the details you still have holding in your arms. As the excited noise comes from the reality of your first meetings, do not forget the reason why we do what we do. In love, build relationships with each other and with all those who have been purposely brought to your group. Refocus your eyes on Christ and center your heart on the things of Him. The finish line is close by. Go make that exchange-return of your hard work for some credit in the Kingdom of God. Listen and one day hear Him say ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant…. Let’s celebrate together!’ (Matthew 25:23 NLT)
PS “What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?” RRRRRRRRRR