When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I sat down to do a new puzzle with my daughter the other day. I’m not an expert at these things; my strategies go no deeper than “find the edges first” and “check the picture on the box for patterns.” Those tools were of almost no help on this, if I’m being honest, not particularly well-conceived puzzle. Sure, the design was full of unicorns with bright rainbow tails which initially called to my daughter from the low shelf of the bookstore. But these unicorns were scattered across the entire puzzle. They were all roughly the same size and hue. Most were facing the same direction. They were of no help. The background was a monochromatic deep night blue broken up only by a beach at the bottom and stars scattered across the top.
Though only 100 pieces, it took us a frustrated hour to finish. I didn’t even want to look at the thing when we were done. We found where all the pieces fit but it hadn’t been easy.
As the pastor of Flemington UMC, I chair a group named the Nominations and Leadership Develop Committee. The purpose of this committee is to look to the people of the church and see just where everyone might fit in in extending the mission of the church to our community and beyond. It’s more fun than that unicorn puzzle. It’s an opportunity to remember that everyone fits in here. The scene God is inviting us to co-create is only complete when everyone is connected in the place just for them.
Still, we have questions. What do all these committee names – SPR, Trustees, Nominations, Finance, Council, etc – signify? Why would someone ask me to participate on one of them?
Next Sunday, September 8th, we will have our annual picnic. All are invited and food is provided. The chairs of these different committees and program areas will also be at tables in Fellowship Hall briefly sharing just what their work is and where you might fit in. I pray you will take time to listen, learn, and trust that you are a piece of this puzzle too. It’s only complete when everyone finds their place.
Grace and Peace,