I have to admit something, and it's hard to say this. Here it is though: There are things that I miss. Skills, stuff, jobs…
For example, I miss the ability to sing. For a couple of reasons. One, because some people for whom singing comes so easily cannot believe that I can't do it. Guess what? I really can't. Contact Second Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Arkansas and ask the music minister there. Go ahead. It bothered him and his professional pride as much that he couldn't teach me as that I couldn't learn.
And this time of year, there's so much singing and happiness, that I just miss the opportunity to take part full voice. But it's not fair.
Other skills I'm missing are the ability to fix the power windows in the car and some other repair-type skills. I can generally fix a computer, but fixing houses and cars is a whole different story.
Then there's stuff. First of all, there's decorating stuff. I wish I could wrap my entire house and all its trees and bushes with lights that aircraft could use as a guide beacon. I'd like to get a call from NASA, relaying congratulations from the space station.
And I'd like to see all kinds of things under the tree, mainly to fill it with the desires of my wife and kids, but I won't over-pious you: there's things I want (a Keurig coffee maker, some more coffee, a new TV, a few more firearms, and, oh, some coffee…) as well. We are having to be very budget conscious until our house in Mississippi sells, because we're hoping that scrimping pennies will buy us the time we need to sell it. As it stands, we're headed for a mess there, but God has graciously provided us with a little more time. If the bank can be as forgiving as He is, it will be ok. If not, well, we'll talk about that later, ok?
Finally, I miss something I never thought I'd miss. I miss UPS peak season. The yelling, the screaming, the unmitigated chaos of boxes flying everywhere. Why do I miss this? Well, I don't really missed getting yelled at, the explosions of profanity (especially the odd invoking of He who the season is named for. I don't think they really wanted Him to show up), or the pains from it. I miss the teamwork.
Every day in peak at UPS, you're expected to do better than the day before, faster than before, more correct than before, and often with fewer resources. And most of the time, we were able to do it. Sure, there were some high-speed meltdowns, and there were never days that went as planned, not even as the backup plan indicated. Still, though, we got boxes off trucks, sorted, and back on trucks. We screamed and yelled and accomplished together.
I somewhat miss the crush of hungry shoppers from fast food days. I miss the teamwork it takes to feed them, take their money, and get them out.
All in all, what do I miss? There's a severe lack of togetherness for many of us in America these days. If we aren't forced into it by work or tragedy, many of us live away from each other. Now, I'm not saying I want 20 people moving in with me, but as we're transitioning into a new church, we're not yet really involved with a group to do things right now. I miss it. It's one of the downsides of small-church ministry: I spend time at the church, but there's no one there, no sharing of ideas or encouraging of one another. No accountability for whether you're on task or not.
I miss those parts of UPS. We are lacking those parts in our churches, though, and it's tragic. Think about it: all UPS does is move stuff. Now, there's times that it's important stuff, but it's still, usually, just things. The world will really not end if you don't get that sweater overnight. Your family won't starve because you didn't get the latest great seasonings in 2 days, and you had bland food to eat.
Yet in churches, we have a vital message that people will die eternally for a lack of, and we lack urgency about what we do. We are more than happy to postpone discussion another month, another meeting, another convention, and all the while, people are dying without Christ. We talk a game about accountability, but we refuse to structure our lives and churches so that we have no real opportunity to have it. We manage to come up short when it comes to encouraging one another. Let's try and pick that up.
One tool that we can use for this is our internet relationships with each other, as well as our real ones. Some of you in Baptist blogdom, let's pick one blogger to pray for and encourage for the next 12 months. A great plan would be to pick one you don't always agree with.
Pick a Facebook friend, a real friend, and a family member. Pray for them and encourage them for the next month. See how it goes and what God does.
And let's be as urgent about living in obedience to the King as we are about getting boxes from place to place.