Thereness

Tomorrow I leave for the East Coast for a few weeks, and I have no intention of posting. Maybe a poem every now and again, we’ll see. Before I leave, however, I want to share something I found encouraging.

Pastor Sam Crabtree (author of Practicing Affirmation, one of my all time favorite Christian living books) and I sat down the other day to talk about the BBC Shepherd Group which I lead. Sam just became our overseeing elder, and so I was able to introduce him to the group and hear his heart for us. It was good.

Toward the end of our time I asked him what he expects of me as a small group leader, and he said something I thought was profound. He told me that my gift, my strength, the advantage that I have over him in this situation, is thereness. I am not as wise or experienced or mature or articulate or pastoral as Pastor Sam, but I am there, every week, with my group, and he is not. And for Sam, that counts for something.

I’m not sure I’d ever thought about that before. This extends to the whole church, this gift of thereness. Unless you suddenly find yourself the protagonist in a robinsonade, you have been gifted with thereness for someone else’s benefit, to be a blessing. People need good teaching/preaching, wise counselors, just authorities, and a whole host of other things, but they also need someone to just be there for them, and you can do that.

I think this is amazing- God has created a need in the greatest of us which can be met by the least of us. How well this ties the body together! I don’t need to be paralyzed by my own insecurities when it comes to comforting and encouraging a much older brother in the faith. I can just be there for that brother, and God is building his church. Anybody can do it; everybody should. There’s a brother or sister in your local body who needs you to exercise your gift of thereness

Oh, Just a Little Bean

Good morning!

I’m sitting here this morning drinking my coffee, and I just remembered something Sam Crabtree said a few years ago at a men’s retreat. I was new to Bethlehem and still wasn’t sure about this whole retreat. I remember not sleeping well, and first thing after my ablutions in the morning I found some coffee. I was still going at the coffee at breakfast time when Pastor Sam stood up to pray, and his prayer started  like this- “Dear Lord, we thank you for the coffee bean…”

Amen to that. Lord, thank you for this most precious of all beans, and the goodness you communicate to us through it.