I have this big magnetic white board on my office wall. It’s one of my favorite things. Silly, I know since it’s really not very pretty and takes up a good majority of the wall over my desk. Pretty utilitarian.
BUT, it has some of my favorite things on it—the names of all the people who serve alongside of me in the elementary area. Every year, around this time, I pull down the names of the leaders from last year and put up the leaders for this coming year.
And it is bittersweet for me.
There are names I pull down that I grieve because I never got to know them well enough to hear their story. There are others who are leaving because of the season of life they are in or because they feel called to another ministry (I mean, really—is there a more important one than Kids???). There are others I feel that I let down because I didn’t equip them enough or pray for them enough.
And then, after I pull down the names who are moving on, my board has a lot of white space (white space is bad because it means there aren’t names of people to fill the roles).
And I panic.
How are all these spots going to be filled? Who is going to lead these kiddos? Who is going to lead these small group leaders who are leading these kiddos? How are they going to be trained?
And then, I look at the top of my board and see a verse printed that my pastor talked about several years ago which has become one of my favorites:
“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 2 Chronicles 1:10
This was Solomon’s response when God asked him what he wanted. He could have asked for anything in the world and God would have given it to him--just like Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. But he had just become king and he felt the weight of his people and knew he alone could not lead them in the way they needed (not to mention, he probably didn't really want to go to the ball and meet Prince Charming and have to dance all night).
My scope is quite a bit different from Solomon’s—I don’t have a nation to lead. But I do have a group of volunteers who each have a story to tell. Each has a life outside of their service on Sunday morning. And each represents a family—whether it’s just them and their fish or a whole gaggle of children.
And I think I feel a bit of what Solomon felt on that day. There is no way I can lead these people the way they need; the way they deserve. Where do I recruit them from? How do I know when to challenge someone and when to extend grace? I could fill up a book with the questions that run through my head in that panic moment (okay—maybe panic day or week).
And I pray the same thing that Solomon did that day. And I trust that God will answer me. And He does—not always in the way I think He should, but then again, that’s why I need His incredible wisdom and not mine—which is so finite.
And my panic begins to subside. And the weight starts to fall off of my shoulder. And sometimes, right about that time, I get an email from someone new who wants to serve in one of those white spots. And once in a while—they have a friend who wants to serve with them. And I am once again reminded that these are God’s leaders and kiddos and He cares more for them than I ever could (which makes me feel relieved, because I care so very deeply).
While I wish I could leave this on a spiritual high where you think I'm this deep person who really desires to follow God with all of my being, I have to be honest. Just between you and me--the materialistic, fleshy side of me sometimes secretly hopes that God blesses me with wealth like He did Solomon.