Of Funerals & Fire Alarms

We had only been at our small country church for a few months when we had our first funeral. Per that church’s tradition, the funeral was held in the sanctuary while the bereavement dinner was prepared in the basement fellowship hall. I was not required to participate in the funeral service, so I volunteered to help with the meal preparation.

Now, I must be honest. The kitchen is not my favorite place to be, but I felt obligated to serve in this way since I was the sole pastor’s wife. And since my culinary reputation had not yet followed me to my new ministry, the women were happy to put me to work. Being from the south I was put in charge of brewing the sweet tea. Placing several pots of water on the stove, I turned the burners on high and… walked away. I never even noticed that I had turned on the wrong burner, eventually melting someone’s “antique tupperware” container!

Suddenly the smoke alarm went off, alerting us to the fact that something was not right in the kitchen! Panic filled my heart as the screech of the alarm filled the building. Frantically, the women rushed to open the doors while I desperately waved a dish towel at the smoke alarm, willing it to be silent. Several ushers from the funeral upstairs came running, ready to save the day, crushing my hopes that the alarm had gone unnoticed by the funeral guests.

Finally, the chaos passed, the service continued and the women kindly, but firmly, escorted me from the kitchen. As the family and friends of the deceased made their way into the fellowship hall I held my breath, hoping no one would point out who had actually started the fire… but to no avail. Everyone was anxious to tell what happened and who was responsible. From that day on, I was known as the preacher’s wife who almost burned down the church!

Looking back on that day I used to feel embarrassed at my shortcomings in the cooking department. But then God pointed out a very encouraging truth: I was not called to do it all! In that small church I was responsible for many jobs… but cooking for meals was no longer one of them! Thanks, God, for taking that off my plate!

What jobs are you trying to do that someone else could do better? What weaknesses do you have that you can be thankful for because they free you up to focus on your strengths?

There's a reason I have received more than one of these signs to hang in my kitchen...

There’s a reason I have received more than one of these signs to hang in my kitchen…

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