Today was my last day at Village Creek in Iowa. I had intended to pack up, head out, and take in one last state park filled with trails and views of the Mississippi River. However, after a week of hikes filled with contemplation and reflection, I awoke with a sense of calling toward service. Hoping that I would avoid anyone who could give me something to do, I prepared for my departure, kissed my children goodbye, and then offered to do “just one last thing” for my daughter.
And then the opportunity to serve stared me in the face. Today was the end of the 180 mile long bike trip that is a fundraiser for the camp (see bike2camp.org
for more details), and Camie, a good friend as well as the camp director, was in the camp office as I passed it. I offered to help, and (to make a long story short) she took me up on it. The funny part for me was that she has said, “You don’t have to help.” Oh – but I did. That calling toward service had only heightened, and ignoring it would have bordered on outright disobedience. An hour later, I was helping with table settings in the dining room.
And now the entertaining part.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have very little kitchen talent. The task that I perform well in the kitchen is loading the dishwasher. My husband cooks most of the food consumed at our house. I can follow a recipe, but I cannot enhance it. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is a specialty of mine.
Would you like to slice bread?
This is not me but rather a picture of a staff member earlier in the week; had I thought ahead to tonight’s blog post while slicing bread, I would have had someone take my picture. However, I was too busy concentrating on slicing 12 loaves of crusty (yummy) Italian garlic bread and 8 loaves of onion something bread. Again – a picture of them would be great; however, I was too busy praying that God would make the loaves look pretty while I bumbled my way through the slicing adventure.
An hour and a half later, two different types of knives later, and much apologizing to Debbi, the head of kitchen, along the way, I completed the task, retired my apron, and left the kitchen. Later, as I said my last good-byes, Debbi passed me, and I again apologized for my slow speed in the bread-slicing task. The essence of her words have resounded in my ears the entire way home from camp:
It would have been a nuisance for anyone else to have had to slice the bread. It did not matter how long it took me to do the task because I did it and everyone else could focus on the rest of what needed to be done.
Admittedly (and even thankfully at times), I have little to no gift with anything to do with the kitchen. Today, though, my willingness allowed those who have gifts to do what they needed to do. I freed them to concentrate on something more important. By doing something that would have annoyed others in the kitchen because it would have taken them away from other tasks that required their skills, I could serve – slowly and praying the entire time – simply by slicing bread. So many things that come my way require more willingness than giftedness. Rather than question if this is “my gift,” I need to question my heart.
Will I serve?