I love the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is sort of the best of both worlds. It has all the benefits of a holiday (i.e. not having to go to work) and none of the busyness (i.e. not having to cook for 20 people – not that I personally have ever cooked for 20 people in my life). No, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a day when we lay around and moan about having eaten too much the day before. It’s a day when we vow to start exercising “now that the holidays are upon us” and then immediately proceed to fix ourselves a turkey sandwich roughly the size of
Now, this Thanksgiving, I knew that things would be a little different as Thanksgiving is not a holiday in
As Thanksgiving day was winding down, I began to sense that the Lord wanted me to go on Friday morning and help with putting in the footings for a tabernacle that is being built this week by a church team from
So, Friday morning Dean Galyen, a missionary from
“You mean in life?” I asked?
“No, at the job site.”
“Is taking a nap an option?”
“Whatever you need me to do I suppose.”
Dean assigned me to be in charge of mixing the concrete. “Its simple,” he explained. “I once had a guy on a team who was a baker, and I gave him that same job. If you can follow a recipe, you can mix concrete! Just remember 3, 2, 1. Three parts rock, two parts sand, one part cement. Simple.”
“No problem,” I said. “Three parts sand, two parts rock, one part cement. Or…was it three parts rock….”
And so, off to work we went, mixing our concrete and pouring the footings. A couple of young Zambians, who had probably done this many times, worked with me. As we were shoveling gravel into the wheelbarrow, I started to breathe heavy after about 15 minutes and one of the Zambians gave me a little smirk that seemed to say “You Americans work like girls.” I shot back a sheepish grin that said, “Yes I know. Is there a Crispy Crème around here?”
But, as we were shoveling that gravel something truly wonderful happened. There are times when God calls us to do something so that we can be a blessing, so that he can use our gifts and talents to accomplish His will in the lives of others. But there are other times when God calls us to do something just so he can speak to us in an unmistakable way. He sometimes calls us to be part of a situation so that that situation can become like the walls of a canyon off which God’s voice echoes. And so it was that there next to that pile of gravel, the voice of God began to resonate with a clarity that I had not heard for a long time.
It struck me, with an overwhelming sense of awe, with the kind of amazement that leaves one’s knees trembling and one’s heart pounding, what an amazing privilege it is to be building a church! I have done a lot of dumb things in my life and have brought a lot of pain to the lives of people I cared about. But that Friday morning, I found myself just bursting with delight at the privilege of being a part of what God was doing; not only building a church in terms of a physical building, but to see God build his church by using ordinary people like you and me.