I’m sitting here tonight so wired but exhausted… our Mother Daughter Banquet is over, whew! I am relieved and so are my aching feet! We have a busy church routine throughout the year, but it’s weeks like the last 2 weeks that make me very happy that I have the opportunity to stay home with our children instead of working. Frankly, I just could not hack a 10-12 hour work week for an extended amount of time…. Any-who, here are my thoughts for tonight…
I have worked in our current church for 3 1/2 years using my “gift” in this body of Christ (every member has a job and a function or “gift” that they have been given to serve in their local church), which is decorating, writing and acting in skits, and a few other odds and ends. I have worked getting ready for many events and spent hours and days by myself and with the help of others, at times, creating elaborate decorations that just end up crumpled up an hour after the event is over and thrown into a box or the garbage can. That is depressing, because I have felt my time was chucked into the storage closet and my investment lost… or was it? Sometimes it was… other times it has not been.
I have thought recently that maybe that time really has not been completely used in vain. Decorations set the tone for the event, whether it is a Mother Daughter Banquet, a month-long Sunday School Campaign, Vacation Bible School, etc. When you set the tone of the event then people’s attention is initially captured so then when the speaker speaks they are more inclined to listen. And when the speaker speaks from the Word of God then the heart can be touched all because of the atmosphere you have created.
I am learning that you can decorate with less and still create an excellent atmosphere. You do not have to have elaborate and extravagant decorations every time that you host an event. Sometimes the simplest things can make the mind think about God… there is a difference between just piddly lame-o decorating and being thoughtfully simple. Laziness in creating an atmosphere can really distract instead of attract. It would be better to not decorate if you’re not able to put some thoughtfulness into it.
One time when I was helping decorate with two ladies in our Fellowship Hall. The tablecloths were not fitting properly on a cake table and one lady was saying “It’s fine,” and the other lady was saying, “It’s not fine, we need to do something else.” The scramble in trying to find another tablecloth in the storage room that fit the table was going on when I felt trapped between a woman content and a woman discontent. The lesson that was taught to me by the lady that was telling me that the tablecloth was not fine was this: She leaned over and told me, (when the other woman was not in the room) “What we are doing is not for people. We have to remember that what we are doing is for the Lord. We cannot be satisfied with something that does not look nice.” She was right, the tablecloth in its rumpled look and fit were not going to project the nature of the event, which was our church anniversary. The Lord established our church and has kept it going for over 30 years now, we should honor Him with our best, even if it means finding a nicer tablecloth. If God had a beautiful temple in the Old Testament times, we can create beauty in His church.
The message I hope to convey is that you give God your best in even your decorating. It is time used, not wasted. Never should we compare ourselves with the largest of churches that can afford the finest decorations, if you are a smaller church buying your supplies at a dollar store. God knows our budget, He knows our time frame, He knows our hearts and whether we are creating an atmosphere where He can walk and speak to hearts when we have special preaching, teaching, and devotional times.
People know too if you have created an atmosphere that is God-honoring. There is a difference between fake fabrication of “feeling” and a place where they can walk in and feel safe to speak to someone about their troubles because they feel at ease. Be thoughtful in your work and it will not go unnoticed by God or others.
When does our time become a waste?
We live in such a great age with being able to research and find good ideas everywhere, there really is no excuse for lame-o decorating, but do not get carried away. The gal I was working with on decorations came to a place today where we had a conversation and came to the conclusion that we would not do at least one of the big decoration ideas that we had hoped to do. We needed to stop because our kids had been at the church for two days playing and getting worn out, we were worn out, and it was not going to hurt us to leave the decoration out. It would have been a waste of time to push ourselves to extra exhaustion and tried to finish the project. And, who would have guessed that the ladies that did not know about the decoration, did not miss it!
We can make huge lists of “must-have’s” in our decorating, but sometimes we have to let go a little because maybe our eyes got bigger than our hands could perform. Sometimes you have to stop and look around and resolve that perhaps letting your kids get an afternoon nap would be better than adding or finishing that “one more thing.”
So while we want to do our best for the Lord and decorate for our special events, we also have to have balance. Your kids may not want to eat animal crackers and Cheerios, the snacks from the nursery, for several days in a row just because you do not want to stop decorating with the other ladies and give them a meal. C’mon, we have to be asking God for help in keeping balanced so we really do not waste our family’s time either.
My few thoughts about a topic have the tendency to turn into a novel, but I hope when you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day after seeing all your work thrown to the side after decorating for a big event, that you will not be discouraged. I hope you are encouraged by the testimonies of people who learned something new from the Bible, or by the smiles on the ladies’ faces as they have been laughing and speaking to each other, or just that God was honored and placed above all other things for a few hours.
We serve a great God, who is worthy to be praised! Keep a balance and keep the faith!