There are a lot of things that I just don’t know.
Until five minutes ago I didn’t know how to do that cross out your words html stuff.
I get completely lost and overwhelmed in a lot of theological and ideological discussions. It doesn’t matter that I have a University degree. I still get overwhelmed.
I don’t know how to fix the kids’ bath plug when it comes out.
I often don’t know the right words to say to make someone feel better or to really hear what they are saying.
There are so many practical and spiritual things I just do not know. Yet.
This I do know: it takes nine tubs of 32 ounces of yoghurt plus 8 lbs of frozen berry mix to make fruit and berry parfaits for 45 people. One should always take one’s own vegetable peeler when cooking in large quantities and people are impressed by the little touches – the garnishes, the cards that describe the flavours and the freshness of food.
I had the privilege of catering for an event in the weekend. I used to do this a little in New Zealand. Not as an official business – but if we hadn’t come to America I was looking into making it so. I’ve done some dinner parties, food for a funeral afternoon tea, engagement parties, 21st parties and have helped other caterers with weddings.
This was my first gig to do in America, so I was hoping I wasn’t too rusty. I had hoped I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew. But I got in that kitchen and I loved it. I loved the planning, the list-making, the shopping, the challenge of keeping costs down as it was for a ministry event, the food prep and all the work on the day. I loved it.
As I was de-briefing myself yesterday and realizing that I had over-bought in the lettuce department and I could have cut the carrots the day before and they would have still been ok, I was then struck with the thought that food really is my ‘thang’. It is one of my God things. And I came up with a list, like bam bam bam, all about how you know if something is a ‘thang’ for you or not….so here goes….
If ‘something’ is your thang:
* it will bring you joy
Yep. If doing something makes you happy, truly happy, and not want to run for miles in the other direction, then that’s a good thing. The fact that I enjoy the whole prepping of food, the making and even the clean-up…means it is a thang.
* it brings others joy
Food brings most people joy, right? Our gifts, our ‘thangs’ are not for ourselves, they are for others. To bless, encourage, exhort, come alongside.
* it gives glory to God
Our talents and abilities are God-given so any praise or recognition we get – should be attributed back to the maker of these abilities. This is something I’m still working on. Not that I take the credit myself for a job well done, but just how exactly to point the way to Jesus….how to show others that without Him and His help, I couldn’t do anything. I guess I don’t get a lot of compliments in day to day life, so when I do get them, it is hard to know how to respond to them properly.
* your ‘thang’ combines supernatural and natural giftings
That reality that at the end of my ability, God steps in with His help…..That my talent is limited but ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. I’m sure I’m not the first caterer to pray in 90 degree weather that the food stays cool enough. That even though the fridge space is very limited, that the food doesn’t get too hot. And as I cut and spooned and poured and baked, I was praying for the event happening outside. Praying for lives to be changed, for open hearts and open ears. That my part of the day be a blessing to others.
* your ‘thang’ involves an element of risk
That’s why I crossed out the ‘your’ and added in the ‘His’, in my title. If we always did things that we knew we could easily do, there wouldn’t be any reliance on God and His help. There wouldn’t be any growth in your life from the ‘stretch’ factor.
And once again, if any credit or glory for your ‘thang’ gives you the glory, puts you centre-stage, then this isn’t right, really it should be Christ who is front and centre-stage when you’re stepping out for Him.
There are so many opportunities and ways to serve the body of Christ. If you open your eyes to the needs – opportunities are endless. But there is a huge difference between doing what you can do, and doing what you should be doing. What your ‘thang’ is.
Rick Godwin said this on twitter sometime last week – ‘You don’t get credit in life for being busy? Activity is not necessarily accomplishment!’
I had the honour of serving some amazing women on Saturday, by using my giftings and relying on God’s power to make up for what I didn’t know and for handling the details I don’t always get right. My darling husband did his ‘thang’ by encouraging me in taking this step, by asking for my feedback, by being my taste-tester for new recipes and for looking after our children on the day, so I could totally concentrate on the job at hand.
If we all found out what our ‘thang’ was, and then did our ‘thang’ and gave each other freedom and encouragement in that, wouldn’t the global church be a mighty force? Wouldn’t the ‘body’ be able to work fluidly and at full capacity?
So let me encourage you to find out what your thang is….and…..just do it….remembering that:
Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done – C S Lewis