Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't be puzzled, just show up!

If you think you are too small to make a difference,
try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito.

One of my favorite books is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. I not only got to enjoy reading it, but I got to study it with a fabulous group of women. (I love you, Water Girls!!) One of his final analogies in one of the last chapters really resonated with me. He titles the chapter, "How Many Loaves Do You Have?"

You see the point is not the immensity of the world's problems, although he spends a good half of the near 300 page book exploring the depth of the world's hunger, lack of clean water, disease and poverty issues. The point is that we, as individuals changed by the power of Christ, can make a difference. Just like the little boy who donated his lunch to feed the 5,000 on that hillside when the Great Galilean Teacher told his disciples, "you give them something to eat." Certainly there had to be other little boys whose mothers had the foresight to pack them a sack lunch, but Jesus worked through just one little boy's lunch.

I want to be that little boy giving my lunch.

It's not that the little boy was a hero, no, all eyes in the story are on Jesus. Jesus got the glory. But it had to be a great thrill for that sweet little boy who gave his 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and watched it get multiplied, passed out to so many and then gathered up in 12 LEFTOVER BASKETS when it was all over. Did he thrill, "Wow! That was my lunch! God used my stuff!" I bet so.

You see, the thought here is not that you must create a great master plan of how to solve world hunger, or become a millionaire to fund a huge well project by yourself, but you simply show up.

I love this:
 We might imagine that God's vision for our world is like a great jigsaw puzzle. You and I are the pieces in His hand, and He places them in just the spots where our particular shapes, sizes, and patterns best fit with the other pieces. The full picture only takes shape as all of the pieces come together in their proper places. In this view, no single piece is insignificant. Have you ever completed a puzzle only to find that one or two piece were missing? I have, and the missing pieces compelled me to pull the cushions out of the couch, lift the tables and chairs, and scour the room to find them. Those mislaid pieces made a huge difference to the outcome. They were obviously not insignificant. (p. 250-251)
Stearn continues...
God has created each of us with a unique contribution to make to our world and our times. No other person has our same abilities, motivations, network of friends and relationships, perspectives, ideas, or experiences. When we, like misplaced puzzle pieces, fail to show up, the overall picture is diminished. (p.251)

So, what if everyone else but YOU decided to show up for their part in the cosmic plan? Perhaps you feel that you are untalented, too uneducated, your past is too dark or your heart is just simply too selfish? You'd remain sitting there while others volunteered themselves to the plan of God.

What would the overall picture look like then, if you stubbornly sat out...holding onto your fear, your self hatred, or maybe your own ideas that you knew better? The picture would suffer. It's just not the same without you. 

Where is that missing piece?!?!

Stearn finishes his puzzle analogy:

One of the most common mistakes we can make is to beleive that we have nothing of significance to offer--that we're not rich enough, smart enough, skilled enough, or spiritual enough to make much difference at all, especially  in the face of huge global problems...Deluded, we sit on the bench watching the game from a distance, content to let others play. But the very good news for those of us who want to follow Christ and be part of God's plan for our world is that he uses what we have to offer, no matter how unimportant we think it might be. (p. 251)

Recently my parents bought a 1,000 piece puzzle. My dad said it was one of the hardest puzzles they had ever attempted. What made them absolutely crazy at the end was that after 999 pieces were successfully put into place, the 1,000th piece was incorrect. It didn't match the puzzle. It had the wrong colors, wrong shape and was a huge disappointment! My dad took the puzzle back to the store saying incredulously, "This puzzle is wrong! Something must have gone wrong at the manufacturer!" The clerk probably was a bit skeptical of my dad's story, even inquiring if the puzzle was sealed when he bought it.

What is so comforting is that God's plan for the world will not get messed up at the manufacturer. You are precisely the perfect piece He wants to use. You need not worry that you are not enough, that you only have 5 little loaves and 2 measely fish---this is about God's plan here, and He wants to bless your socks off by letting you participate. Don't miss it--just show up!
That's better!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful entry, Amy! Literally, LOL at the imagine of your father returning the puzzle. ;o)


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