Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24 25 WEB)
One source of encouragement no matter where you travel in the world is to gather with other believers to worship God and learn from His word. The first few Sundays on the mission field were experimental. We visited each church checking their beliefs, children’s programs, and the quality and integrity of their preacher. It was interesting when we arrived at a church without a pastor and found it to be God’s choice for our family. In no way was this a slight against the other churches, their members or organization. It was the Lord leading and providing for our family’s needs after three years of deputation.
During the next fourteen years we would all be involved in many different ways in the growth and changes which would affect the local church. Serving in positions such as Sunday School Superintendent, Junior Church Superintendent, Deacon, Elder, Choir Director, Vacation Bible School teacher, music leader and audio consultant and installer we watch the church change, grow, and work through difficult and good times. It was God’s leading and we were thrilled to be part of God’s plan for the church and the many people who passed through the doors.
Things are not always as orderly as an engineer and theologian would appreciate. For years the large church parking lot was total chaos during every service and event. People parked anywhere. Some tried to make rows but regularly cars were blocked by those who needed to depart making the end of services a bit nerve wracking for those who needed to be somewhere else. I suggested marking the lot for years. “Let’s organize the parking lot,” I proclaimed, “and we will fit in more cars than usual without the hassles when people come and go.” My suggestion was ignored for years. Even while serving on the Elder board I was unable to garner support for such a simple change for the church. In other areas of ministry the church was very organized and functioned well. The Sunday services, mid week prayer services, and special events were carefully planned and executed. Parking was another category all together. Finally, when I moved to the Deacon board, I had my chance.
One sunny Saturday morning I brought my family to the church property. With string in one hand, spray paint in the other and a collection of measuring instruments and plans in my mind we went to work. Carefully measuring the space for the cars, putting them in an order which facilitated traffic flow into the back of the lot and out the front we painted parking lot lines on the pavement. It took all day, lots of white paint, and some very energetic children to get it accomplish. Praise the Lord there was not a cloud in the sky so things dried quickly.
Come Sunday morning, with a little help from carefully placed Deacons and youth to provide driving directions, the cars, came, parked and departed without the usual confusion and frazzled nerves. When we departed from the island the church board presented me with a beautiful photo in a nice frame showing all the parking lines to remind me of the church and all the work there.
There are times we need to poke one another to get things done. Sometimes that doesn’t work. It may be God telling us to stop poking others and start poking ourselves. How often do we poke others with our suggestions and don’t look in the mirror to see if God is telling us to get the job done?