Today I Ponder – Tables!
It has been a good long while since I wrote a pondering article. I have been so busy trying to finish the book I’m working on and day to day living that I just have managed to squeeze in the daily devotionals and passages updates. Then something happened…
Yes, something happened that made me stop and ponder a bit about us as Christians, our role in the the body of Christ, and how we really need to remain focused on not just what we are to be in that body but more importantly who we need to be targeted on like a laserbeam.
I will leave out the names of the individuals here because they are inconsequential to the message I want to leave you with. The situation on the other hand does give pause as things can quickly rise to a fury if we loose track of the what and who of our focus.
Our Sunday school Class at church has had since I first started attending, tables setup in a large ring. This allowed us a surface to write on and sit all the things we might have brought to the class; Bibles, Sunday school lesson book, notepad, coffee cup, etc.
We were used to that!
I guess it’s been almost a year ago, we had to move our class out of the fellowship area of the church to a spot in the back of the sanctuary. We had chairs setup in a haphazard circle.
Time went on and by chance some tables were setup for a different function and remained there through Sunday morning when our class gathered as we normally do.
The tables had returned! I myself and several others who always utilized the tables before were quick to get comfortable reacquainting our routine to using the tables.
Then TWO SUNDAYS AGO, the tables were gone!
I had no idea who had removed them or why. I asked a few folks but really didn’t get a clear, or for that matter even a vague explanation of why the tables were no longer present.
Last Sunday, the same status, no tables in sight.
Then Wednesday night Bible study came. The adult women who in our church meet separate from the adult men in our church, utilize the same space as our Sunday school class does.
(I know some may be focused on just why we don’t have a coed Bible study on Wednesday nights. The bottom line is that it creates a useful dynamic when men and women can focus on God’s word from our separate perspectives. We have other study situations that are coed but this just works for us. However, that is not why I’m writing this!)
After we left, my wife mentions to me that apparently it was the pastor that had made the decision to remove the tables from our classroom setting. To top that off a good number of the women were less that pleased that this had taken place. One even got up and walked out!
I pondered contacting the pastor and discussing this with him. I pondered Tuesday. I pondered Friday. And I was still pondering it Saturday morning when I got an email from the pastor. This email was a general announcement letting folks know of changes that were taking place at the church. He was explaining why it was being done and the thinking behind it. In his typical manner he was letting folks know what was going on and encouraging us.
Well it was apparent to me, that my time for pondering was over, because that email I’d been thinking about writing was just waiting for the right opportunity to bring the table situation to his attention. It was important for unity in the church to let him know what I was seeing/hearing, find out if indeed he had removed the tables and what his reasoning was for doing that.
He responded back and I will paraphrase his response.
It’s kind of comical how these things get a life of their own.
If you wouldn’t mind, could you tell me where you heard that it was my decision to remove the tables?
I responded back and gave him some background on the matter and after I had sent it I thought it was a bit silly playing email tag with him, so I called him to make sure we were clear from both sides.
We had a good laugh about the situation. He had not ordered, directed, instructed or suggested that anyone remove the tables, nor had he done it himself. Now, he did feel that sitting in a circle was a bit more cozy than having tables to sit around, but he’d had nothing to do with this.
It was after we’d hung up that I really began to ponder this situation.
We get our sites set on things that really don’t amount to a hill of beans. Those things become a focal point in our lives and we will live and die based on the principle of protecting that spire we are standing on.
It’s not that everyone involved doesn’t love the Lord Jesus. It’s not that anyone has a overwhelming case to present for or against the tables. It is striking how something as simple as shuffling the tables around in a classroom, or in this case removing them, could cause an uproar.
I think it is really pretty clear, our eyes are fixed on the table and not Jesus, we should be focus on our Lord and yet we are distracted by intimate trinkets that are elevated to a portion of worthiness of our passions. Yes, we can be drawn to become upset and frustrated about tables, but the fact that Jesus calls us to be the light of a dark world escapes us in the process.
I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:12-13 (HCSB)
I need to be content to be that servant. I need to take up my cross and follow. I need to be His disciple and nothing else. I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and the mission He has placed before me. The very same mission that He’s tasked to every single one of His, without exception.
We are to be disciples and disciple makers. If we are doing anything else we have lost our focus on what is important.
I’ll admit I don’t have clean hands here. I wasn’t too pleased with the removal of the tables from the classroom, but I realize that tables aren’t the issue, willing servitude is.
I’m going to be that disciple. As for the tables, perhaps I will take a TV tray with me to Sunday school in the morning. Might just start a trend.