I attended church Sunday. Not that this is such a unique occurrence, but I attended church at the Kroc Center, which is unusual for me. I don’t typically like to worship where I work. I tend to be intensely private about my spirituality. But this was special…
June 22 was Farewell Sunday in The Salvation Army. Many officers said goodbye to their current corps and began a journey to new assignments. Two of our own were faced with this task. Majors Tim and Bev Best are moving to Kansas City, Kansas. I know this has been a difficult transition looming over them for the past month. (You can read more about this journey here at Major Tim’s blog.)
So I attended the Farewell Service and reception. Listening to Major Tim review the story of Esther during his sermon, I was transported to a day almost 2 years ago when I stormed into his office in tears and insisted that he made a huge mistake when he hired me. There’s no way I can possibly fulfill the mission here! I’m not the right person! Major Tim patiently listened to my histrionics, handed me a tissue, and reminded me of Esther. He told me that he believed God placed me at the Kroc Center intentionally, at this moment, to use my skills and gifts, because I was particularly suited to the task. Just like Esther.
Musing over these thoughts, I decided to while away the next several hours before our staff meeting working in the community garden. I thought about what I’ve accomplished in the last 2 years, and doubting that I really have risen to the challenges. I systematically spread mulch and watered the plants while considering the mysteries of ministry.
Suddenly, my attention was caught by something that drove these thoughts out of my head. It was the sound of bickering coming from the doorstep of a near-by apartment. Three little boys, probably around the age of 6 were fighting over who had collected the most caterpillars. I stood by for a little while, but after the third adult yelled at them to cut it out, I finally approached the boys and asked if they would like to come to the garden and dig for worms…
Fortunately, the Kroc Center has built a reputation of being a safe place in the neighborhood, and the boys enthusiastically joined the hunt! (Side note: While handing out trowels and garden rakes, I also discovered that the ‘caterpillars’ were actually earwigs *shudder*)
From then on, we got very little actual gardening done. Nor did we find any worms. However, a few seeds were planted:
- We shouldn’t fight over the bugs we find because they ultimately belong to God.
- Take turns.
- Ask Nicely.
- Use our words.
- AKA: Peaceful Conflict Resolution
My heart broke a little when a few police officers showed up to address a domestic dispute several doors down and one of the boys looked up in alarm and asked, “What did I do?”
But mostly, we just had a blast digging in the dirt.
After the boys were called away, I finished mulching the garden. It finally hit me: This whole afternoon was spent in ministry to those 3 kids. And I didn’t even realize what I was doing.
I don’t make the mission happen. God does. I just have to be mindful and willing to let Him take over as necessary.