In the past couple of years Jan and I have become “band parents”. Those of you who have been there understand, those of you who haven’t do not know the joy you’re missing (he said with a slightly facetious tone). It really is quite a group to be a part of because there is much to be done to help the band do what they do. For our band boosters group (the fancy name for parents willing to make things happen) we man the concessions stands at the football games. Lately I have become a nacho-making fool. People order plain nachos, nachos with peppers, nachos with peppers on the side, nachos with chili and cheese, nachos with chili and cheese and peppers, nachos with chili and peppers and extra cheese, and Nachos with chili on one side and cheese on the other (the containers really aren’t big enough for that one!).
I know, I sound like Bubba, the friend of Forest Gump as he talks about shrimp. But, the issue is not the variety, the issue is that all those orders can come all at once from different people who are manning the windows of the concession stand. It gets absolutely CRAZY sometimes. By the end of the night your back hurts, you want nothing to do with the cheese that closely resembles a petroleum by-product, and you’ll run screaming into the night if one more person utters the word “nacho”. The effort it takes to help the band do what it needs to do is tremendous and the job is often thankless.
As I considered that reality of my time spent serving the band I began to think about those who serve the church in ways that often go unrecognized and those who do the sometimes thankless jobs. There are those who spend hours answering phones and sitting patiently at the front desk greeting people as they come. There are those who spend time on the workroom computer inputting the information about Sunday’s activities or others who work on newsletters and bulletins and Sunday worship songs that will go on the screens, and the announcements that run before and after the service. There are those who prepare the donut holes on SUnday mornings and those who work the sound board and the media for worship.
I noticed many of these servants this past Saturday when we had our Fall Family Fun Day (I missed most of that because I was watching my son competing with the band in a competition across town). During the short time I was at the church I noticed an abundance of items in the UMW bazaar – many hand-crafted items that had been made by women who gave lots of time and energy. I saw games being set up for the children and I saw volunteers manning the different areas. I saw the Methodist Men giving away hot dogs to anyone who wanted one (kudos to their radical hospitality and extravagant generosity). There are so many in our church who are working in so many ways to help others experience the love and grace of God.
There are some (not in the our church but in other places) who make a big show of their work in this world – they look for people to notice them and to give them pats on the back and accolades for their efforts. But the Bible Jesus says that when we give we do it in a way that our right hand does not know what our left hand is doing – which means you do it because you are willing to give, not because you want to be known as one who gives. It means you give without seeking recognition. Jesus goes on to say that those who give without seeking honor and glory will find a great reward in heaven.
I began to examine my faith efforts in light of my “band parent” efforts. I realized that there are times when we do give a lot of ourselves for the sake of God’s Kingdom work in this world. I know all too well that it can be a thankless job without worldly, material reward. But, just like I end up glad to have helped the band do what they do, when I serve God’s purpose I find myself glad I could be a part of what God is doing. It will be a good day when we get to stand before Jesus and hear him say – “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. I just hope he doesn’t use the word “nacho”.
Holy high-five to you, Mike