My second book of inspiration for church secretaries and office workers due to be released December 1. See my website for ordering information.
[God’s wisdom is] … what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. 1 Corinthians 2:10
As a gift for my first anniversary working for the church, I received a plant for my office. Brilliant yellow blooms on tall stems peeked through rich green, almost heart-shaped, leaves. I read the tag—Calla lily; plant in sunny location. Preferred temperature 50 – 70 degrees. Keep soil moist.
I left my plant at work, where I spend more concentrated time than any other place during the week, and each morning upon my arriving, it greeted me like a ray of sun. But within a few days the leaves started to turn brown and the blossoms began to fade. I began cutting off the decaying parts at the base of the plant until it looked like a hungry deer or rabbit had invaded my office.
The plant no longer gave me pleasure. Dear God, I prayed, what am I doing to kill this beautiful creation? I removed the instruction tag and read it again. 50 – 70 degrees; moist soil. I live in the desert. The humidity in and outdoors ranges from seven to ten percent most of the year. The air conditioner system is timed to run only when the office is occupied. The rest of the time the office is a stifling eighty-plus degrees. Poor little plant, I thought, you don’t belong in Arizona! Especially in my hands that have no green thumbs. I took the plant to my house—a much better fit.
The “mis-gifted” plant is similar to staff members I’ve worked with, such as a receptionist with anger issues, a fast keyboarder who suffers mental anguish each month while producing the newsletter, and a shopaholic, whose favorite store is OfficeMax.
Lord, create in us a spirit of understanding, flexibility, and acceptance of the gift needed to serve you.
And the grace of God was on him. Luke 2:40
Every day I learn something new while working in the church office, which proves you can teach an old dog new tricks! Last week I learned that you cannot take information received on its face value. I e-mailed a worship booklet to a guest minister so she could provide me with the responsive prayer, scripture lessons, sermon title, and hymns. She added the information directly into the Word document and returned it to me.
I eyeballed the bulletin for errors. Looks good, I thought, and printed it for Bob, my 91-year-old copy guy, to produce. He finished copying the regular bulletins and made twenty-five large-print copies. When he dug into the three-ring binder of hymns already enlarged, he said, "None of the hymns listed in the bulletin are in this book. Please type them for me." I scratched my head and wondered why the verses to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and "Amazing Grace” had never been typed before. I checked the file: Page 507—not "What a Friend." Page 507—not "Amazing Grace." Then bells went off in my head. The pastor had used a different hymnal when selecting the hymns! The churches I had worked for before had all used the same hymnal, and it didn’t occur to me to cross-reference the songs with the hymnal stored above my desk.
There weren't enough preprinted covers to reprint the booklet, so I notified the worship leader she'd have to right the wrong page numbers by making an announcement before each hymn. “No problem,” she said. Another day of amazing grace in the church office.
Dear Lord, thank you for the daily dose of grace that we receive in our waking breath,