I (Sonya) am a Pinterest junkie at times. For those that do not know Pinterest like I know Pinterest, let me explain. Pinterest is a site that will make you believe you are the next HGTV star, the next Cake Boss and a cross between Martha Stewart and Julia Childs. In my obsession, I have not become any of those, but that does not keep me from pinning away and creating new boards for some future use.
As many of my friends and loved ones know I have been battling shingles; this has left me with time to indulge in HGTV, Hallmark movies, and Pinterest. I like to cook, but since the children have left home, I do not indulge in this as often as I once did. Back to Pinterest: in my search, I found a crockpot manicotti that sounded easy enough and yummy enough to make it worth my while. And the added bonus us that it created enough meals to last us several lunches. The manicotti shells are not cooked ahead of time, and the recipe called for the world famous chef to use a gallon Ziploc bag to fill the shells. Here’s how that is supposed to go. You fill the bag with the filling mixture, snip a corner of the bag, and squeeze the mixture into the shell. Well, I have unsuccessfully tried this trick many times in the past with other recipes without success. But given the fact that I have limited resources in my kitchen currently, how hard could it be to move this thick mixture of cheesy yumminess from the bag to the shells. Let me say, it was just as messy as you might imagine. They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. It’s true. I had worked through five minutes of insanity before I whipped out a spoon and began shoveling the mixture into the shells.
This caused me to begin thinking about my Christian walk. Was it the manicotti or the Ziploc bag that inspired me? Maybe both. Maybe neither. In my walk as a Christian — and especially as a pastor’s wife — I have often served in areas where no one else wanted to serve. I will tell you up front that I did not want them either. I can remember at one church how it happened. The Sunday after Ben was voted in as pastor, the Nominating Committee chairperson called me and asked, “Sonya, we have an opening for a 4 & 5 year old Sunday school teacher; will you serve?” What can you say to the new church? I said yes, of course, and after one Sunday I knew why no one wanted the class. There was this one child that had never been disciplined correctly. The best I can say is that he was out of control and needed a good anointing. With a belt! The biggest problem, however, was not the child. The biggest problem was that I served out of obligation and not out of a sense of calling or an area of giftedness. I could not wait until those twelve long months ended. It broke my heart, but I knew that if those children were going to ever have a relationship with Jesus, someone else was going to lead them.
There are often times that I quip, “Well, I am not sure what I am good at, but I know what I am not good at.” Using Ziploc bags with corners clipped is certainly something I am not good at. That matter aside, it is a sad truth that too often we have not listened to the Father closely enough to know what we are good at or what we have been gifted for or where we should serve. As a child of the King, we should always sit still at His feet long enough to know this. It is not a hard task. He tells us that as sheep of the Shepherd, we know His voice. All we have to do is sit and listen; He will not withhold such valuable information from us.
Like me, many of us get plugged into a ministry often by default — or guilt. Sometimes we do actually find that this place of ministry really does match what we have been gifted to do. Many times, it is just the opposite; we suffer and are miserable and do a lousy job. (I speak from personal experience). One of the things we often forget is that God will gift us through our passions, or He will give us a passion for what He is passionate about in our part of the world. You need to know that is okay to say “no” to a church committee, but it is never okay to say “no” to God. There is place for each of us in Kingdom work; we are all gifted and we all have a responsibility to serve out of the abundance that God has given us. It is often said that “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” This is true in the fact that if you are a child of God, you have been called and qualified. You have been given particular spiritual gifts to use for the work of the Kingdom.
Sometimes the Ziploc bag is a useful tool for more than storage, but for me it will never be a piping bag. Lesson learned! The manicotti smells amazing and it appears that the yummy cheese mixture has stayed in the shells.