So, What Kind of Spoon Are You?
Years ago, when my two girls and I were all a few years younger, I often went along to camp or on retreats as the cook. Cooking for a big crowd is always a challenge but, there was one winter retreat that proved particularly challenging because the kitchen for our camp was so ill-equipped. Lori, my friend and kitchen helper, kept asking, “Where are all the ladles? Do you see any ladles?”
We were able to find creative solutions and ‘make do’ for most of the challenges. But the one piece of equipment we didn’t have and desperately needed was a ladle. Of all things to not have in a large commercial kitchen! Ladles are pretty important. Just try serving chili or spaghetti sauce without one!
We tried several other items. A mug. A small pitcher. A huge spoon. We finally settled on a glass measuring cup. It got the job done, but it was a poor substitute for a proper ladle.
Dial back a few more years. I was out and about for the day with Angela, our older daughter, who was not quite 6 months old. Somehow I had managed to leave home without one of her baby spoons. Rookie mistake. I can assure you that I never forgot again!
Trying to feed a very hungry little one with a way-too-big spoon results in a big mess, a flustered mom, and a rather unhappy child. I think she and I ended up wearing most of that bowl of cereal, far more than she actually ate. And for the record, trying to wipe baby cereal off clothing doesn’t get rid of it, it just grinds it into the fabric. You’re welcome.
It’s all about having the right tool for the right job. Most of us have probably heard that expression before. Lately, I hear myself saying it when I encounter brothers and sister in Christ, serving in vastly different ways. Some plumbing is in need of repair. The parking lot has a huge pothole. A family is grieving and needs to be fed. A young couple is suffering through infertility. An older saint is lonely and needs some tenderness. A class of young people needs a teacher. The list is endless.
So, what kind of spoon are you?
How are you at handling a plumbing wrench? Or a hammer, saw or screwdriver? God and the church need people with your skill set! Let someone in your congregation’s leadership know that you are available to help with such things and be ready. Your phone is going to ring.
Ever had someone ask you for a recipe? Chances are you’re a good cook. Not every can say that. We all know that one sweet gal who always seems to forget a key ingredient. Again, let someone know that your willing to take a meal to families that need it. Or, why not host a dinner and invite the newest members of your congregation? My dad always said that the best way to get to know someone is to get your feet under the same table and share a meal.
If you have struggled with infertility or lost a little one way too soon, make yourself available to others suffering on that same path. You won’t need to or say anything beyond, “I have been where you are. It’s a hard path, I know. I remember. But God is walking it with you and I’m going to pray for you. Let me know if you ever need someone to listen or cry with.”
Can you afford a box of cards and a few first-class postage stamps? Send a sweet card to all the widows in your congregation. Hint: This is a great way to introduce younger children who are learning to sign their name that they, too, can serve God. The bonus? When your kids actually meet the person they sent the card to! What a great way to bridge the gap between generations!
If someones asks you to teach a class, say ‘Yes’. The kids or adults you meet while teaching just might become new best friends. If you feel like you don’t have the ability or just aren’t ready yet, agree to be a helper. Take roll and handle the administrative end. I am always SO very thankful for those that have the ‘gift of administration’. And don’t worry, almost everyone can cut, glue, and color!
I can imagine God saying, “the right tool for the right job.” We’ve all seen situations where a minor (or major) crisis arose and, LOOK! It just so happens that _______ is here! What are the odds?!
I’m starting to see where God puts us in specific places at specific times for His specific purpose. Have you ever been the one who showed up just when you were needed? Looking back on it, does it seem like a ‘God thing’? You can bet that it was!
He gathers and places the right tool for the right job in all situations. He provides.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:4-6a
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. I Corinthians 12:4-6
Imagine the difference it could make if we all got comfortable with the idea that we have different gifts. Picture a family of believers where everyone understands that we’re not supposed to look alike. We’re not supposed to be able to do what everyone else is doing. Just as in the photo of all those spoons, we’re different for a reason. Each and every ‘spoon’ has a purpose and is useful in ways the others can’t be!
Do you have a particular talent? Do people call on you to serve in a particular capacity saying, “You always do such a great job with this kind of thing”? Is there something that needs doing and you’re the only one who sees it or can do anything about it? Chances are God is standing nearby whispering, “The right tool for the right job.”
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