My Utmost for . . . Birdseye Maple?


Box by Rich Lagrand. Poplar and Walnut. 

Every Moment a Ministry? 
That’s my goal, you know. I want to disappear so that no matter what I’m doing, you don’t see me; you see Jesus. I want everything I do–everything–to be an offering to Him.

It would be really easy, most of the time, except for a few things:

  1. I like comfort.
  2. I like leisure.
  3. I like being right. 
  4. I like stuff. 
(Apart from that, I’m all in. Honest.)
Those four things keep me from being the woman God created me to be. Just in the past few days, I postponed calling a grieving friend because I knew it would make me sad. And sad is, well, uncomfortable. I passed on an opportunity to volunteer at a women’s center, because I don’t have enough free time–I wouldn’t have a moment to relax. I disputed my husband’s recollection of an event, in front of other people, because I was sure I was right. I hurried through a desperate phone call from a dear friend who was drowning in crisis, because we were at the dealership buying a new car. 

God forgive me, I was so immersed in negotiation I didn’t think to toss my friend the life ring that a long, patient listening would have provided at that moment.

(Let’s not talk about how many children we could sponsor each month with the funds we just committed to that new car.)

Honestly, I’m not so good at this disappearing act. I want to show you Him, but pesky, petty, self-centered me keeps showing up instead. Then I beat myself up about it, further directing your attention away from Him and towards me. 

The worst part of this affliction? I project my own selfish perspective onto other people. So, for example, when the contract guy at the dealership tells us about his karate ministry, my first thought is: Sure. That’s a great excuse to spend a lot of time doing what you love. Just call it a ministry. Then I shake my head and remind myself that I know nothing of this man’s character. I have no reason to doubt him. I have no right to judge his heart.

My husband has recently devoted himself to woodworking. And it’s blessed me, because he’s shown me how one can use one’s gifts in ministry. I don’t think he set out to show me–he just did.

That pretty box in the photo? He made three of those last Christmas as gifts for our girls. My brother and sister-in-law gave him a sign-routing kit. The first sign he made was for them. When my auntie died, Rich made a beautiful walnut urn, just for her. 

But if you asked my husband about his “woodworking ministry,” he’d scratch his head and look at you sideways. That’s exactly what makes this ministry of his so beautiful to me. He doesn’t really think of it as a ministry. He’s just doing life, sharing the talents that God saw fit to bestow upon him, bolstering relationships with stuff–handcrafted stuff. 
Don’t misunderstand me. The karate ministry is real. That man devotes his time to teaching young people, building relationships, sharing Jesus. 
But my husband’s making things so he can give them away? That’s ministry, too. 

Anymore, when I look at him busy in his shop, I don’t see him. No. It’s not because his woodworking is perfect. And it certainly isn’t because he’s perfect.

It’s because he refracts the perfect light of perfect Jesus through the work of his own imperfect hands. 

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17:NASB

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