Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion Nov 28, 2018

Thanksgiving!!  Thanksgiving was created to give us a day to give thanks.  And most of us at least give thanks before the meal begins and I think most of us have a feeling of how we truly are grateful for the food and the day and the family - but, and I don’t think this is wrong by any means, most of us just enjoy the day and all the things that go with it.  And maybe we even perhaps give thanks for the stress of getting ready for it…..
Cause when do you start getting ready for Thanksgiving?  Probably weeks in advance, at least we do.  There are 17 of us immediate family and since I live as much in the middle as anyone and probably have the house most suited for 17 people, we come here which is fine cause that means I don’t have to go anywhere!!
A whole bunch of weeks before Thanksgiving the adult portion and mostly the female portion of the 17 people decide on who is going to bring what for the feasting.  It is kind of a rubber stamp now as we have done this several times and we always pretty much have the same menu and now everyone sort of brings the same things they always have and it works out pretty well!  
And then after the weeks of planning the family begins to pile into the domicile and stake out their places to sit (at least that is what the male portion of the hoard does cause the female portion usually head straight for the kitchen to stake out their preparation area and a portion of the frig!) and a sort of routine chaos begins.  Of the 17 people, 8 of them are under 12 and in fact 4 of them are under 5, so your mind now is picturing what this chaos may look like.  We all did say a prayer of Thanksgiving this year because the weather was good enough that the children could play outside and since there were enough older children to monitor the younger children it all pretty well worked out - altho a couple of the guys grabbed the bench outside so there was some adult supervision in a manner of speaking!  
All was going well and there always has to be some sort of big decision to be made that we have a hard time making and that was no different during this Thanksgiving preparation.  Being the pastor of a church, available to me is the Fellowship Hall where we could have gone to eat with tables and high chairs and a large running around area….. but then there were those in the crowd who saw the amount of work of carrying the pots of feast over to the church which was just across an alley and they had a vision of how 17 people would arrange themselves to be able to all eat together if we all remained in our domicile.
On top of the organized chaos and loudness…. when you have 8 children and the associated adults and everyone is talking because that is what you do in our family is all talk while the children are voicing their fun and sometimes displeasure and sometimes just loud screaming and the guys are yelling because of some miraculous football play …. some malady began to over take me and I began to feel rather puny (which is a euphemism for I was not feeling well and it began to progress as the day continued) and my adult children made me sit down in the recliner (oh darn….) and rest for a while which I gladly did which was probably a good indication of how bad I felt because I usually don’t give up that easily,  but when I realized the sitting down in the recliner was only the beginning of the creeping malady for which I was sitting I ended up taking to the bed and in the midst of the chaos and loudness and screaming children went to sleep which should tell you a whole lot more about the depth of my not feeling well.
I assume time passed when the sainted husband bravely ventured into the hospital ward and woke the sleeping beast and wondered if the infirmed would like to indulge in some Thanksgiving dinner.  And not wanting to be left out I gradually rose to a sitting position where I slowly moved to a standing position and then inched my way down the hall to the eating area requesting that I be placed in the feasting location farthest away from the maddening crowd so as not to inflict whatever disease had invaded my body onto anyone else….
I was taken a little aback however when I wandered down the hall and one of my daughters greeted me with “Now don’t be surprised by what we have done”….. You see my trepidation because those words could have had a lot of far reaching possibilities.  I began to think things like the living room now being in the kitchen or a wall taken down or some outlandish redecorating…..  
It was all good.  They had just altered some tables so that everyone could sit together in the same room - not at the same table but we all were close enough and arranged well enough that everyone could see and talk and be a part of the crowd….  And I had my own special stool in the corner so not only was I able to see everyone, I wasn’t very close to anyone and I could lay my head against the cabinets for those moments when in my disease I was no longer to fully sit myself up!  Great job to my family who figured this all out along with preparing the entire meal while I was knocked out from some strange illness.
The food was all laid out nicely on a table for everyone to walk around and serve themselves and someone served me a plate of very small, very small, portions of each dish so that I could at least have a taste of the feast…..
And then as the food winded down and everyone was satiated with Thanksgiving specialties, everyone got up and the cleaning began and before too long and even in a quite organized fashion all the food was divided up into plastic containers for each family to take home and the dishes were loaded into the dishwasher and the remaining ones washed and the floors swept and the trash taken out and the extra tables taken down and before too long the entire area looked all spiffed up….. and I hadn’t done a thing other than sit on my stool in the corner leaning against the cabinet and through my fogged eyes watched the scurrying and occasionally answered a question.
Now there was a part of me that felt real guilty as I watched my family do all this work….. but that was a real small part because I knew that I wasn’t able to be any help at all and my heart was warmed at the way they were all working together to accomplish the task at hand!
So remember -  so it is in God’s church and with God’s people.  Sometimes we find ourselves feeling real indispensable.  Sometimes we find ourselves holding so tightly in ownership to some task in the church that we feel like there is just ‘ no one else to do it’.  But God knows what needs to be done and God knows there will be times when we just can’t rise to the job even if it is a job we ‘own’ and if it truly needs to be done, God will make sure it is done.  
It doesn’t reduce our value in God’s eyes if there is a day, or a week, or even longer when we can’t do whatever it is; it doesn’t reduce our value in the eyes of the other church members if there is a day, or a week, or even longer when we are unable to do whatever….
As a church God calls us to do what needs to be done and yes we all have our abilities and the things we like to do and even the things that we think we are the only who can do it, but as a community we stand with each other, we stand beside each other, we walk behind each other to pick up what needs to be picked up.
And with all of us together, what needs done gets done.  Does it get done the way ‘we would do it’ - maybe not.  But that’s OK.  
Always remember, we are God’s church, we are God’s people and it is together God’s work is done and while we are all important, none of us are completely indispensable…