Bible Verse: Matthew 14:15-18 (NIV) As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.
I wasn't in church this sunday, I was out in the toddler program doing my bit, but Pieter was, and when he shared the subject of today's sermon on the way home in the car, I almost cried.
You see, it's a subject that has become personal over the last little while.
I started working on the Sparkz Program about 6 months ago. Blossom was old enough to go and they were calling for volunteers to work with the toddlers. Groaning inwardly, I figured that, since my kid was in that program and I was benefiting, it was my duty to volunteer.
In the last ten years I could count on one hand the amount of times I was privileged enough to sit through an entire sermon, surely, sacrificing one sunday in four and ensuring that the Sparkz Program continued to run, I would still be gaining more spiritual input than I had been anyway?
But I dragged my feet.
I didn't really want to do it. I've done childcare for such a long time and, to be totally honest, it just was never my passion. And I fully believe that childcare as an occupation is very similar to nursing or teaching - you truly have to have a passion for it. It's a calling.
I never heard any calling, in fact it was all quiet on the calling front, you could hear the crickets chirping rather loudly in the silence.
Not only was I not passionate about kids, but darn it, I was nearing the end of the stay-at-home-mom phase of my life and I wanted to get to the next bit. Bring it on. Just not kids.... please!
The entire week before my first stint as kiddy-carer, I dreaded sunday. I was nervous, I pictured screaming, inconsolable toddlers and poopy nappies. I fully expected to be in a total state of hysteria by the end of it.
Yup, well, it didn't go that way at all. In fact, it rocked!
I arrived in a fluster and people greeted me, they stopped to chat and catch up on my family. I became a person instead of an anonymous face on sunday morning. Suddenly I was part of the family and I felt included, loved, needed.
There were no poopy nappies. Yes, there were tears, but none of the hysterical kind. And, surprise! Surprise! I was able to console most of them. It just wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I gained something far more important than the freedom to sit in a service. I plugged into the church community.
The point of the Bible verse was: Just bring what you have to Jesus and watch what He can do. Go and read the rest of the story here. God can do huge things with the little that you have.
You don't have to have any qualifications in public speaking/theology/semantics/intercessory prayer (or any of those rather scary sounding subjects that Pastors study) in order to serve in your church, all you really need is a positive attitude. Heck, I didn't even have that, all I had was a strong sense of responsibility. But it changed...
And anybody can help out. Even you, yes..... you!
Can you smile? If you can smile, you can greet people at the door.
If you have good vision you can guard the cars in the carpark.
If you are ambulatory you can be one of the ushers and pass around the offering basket.
It's not difficult.
And if you have just one grain of confidence, please consider helping out in your local children's ministry. I stopped going to church for years because of what I like to call the "Christian Mommy Exile." What was the point if I wasn't going to be able to sit in church anyway?
By serving in the children's ministry you are enabling mums to actually receive some form of spiritual nourishment on a sunday. And, quite possibly, you will be keeping some families in church, instead of falling away as a result of the futility of mums going for no reason.
Sending sunday love from Elim Christian Centre North.