[Part two of a brief series.]
The second day of moving our daughter into her apartment started early. We hauled the last few boxes and crates she’d kept at her grandparents’ house to the apartment and then we were off to Target to load up on supplies for the kitchen and bathroom.
Each moment in that store represented another chunk of change shifting from our bank account to Target’s. I tried to just concentrate on pushing the cart up and down the aisles, following my wife and daughter as they led me hither and thither through the store.
Close to noon we finally finished shopping (as much as one is ever finished shopping for a college student’s needs). On the way back to the apartment my wife said, “This would be a good time for you to call Dave and Todd and have them take you to lunch.”
How considerate, you might be thinking. She’s OK with you spending time with your friends while she and your daughter work on the apartment.
Yes, and no. This moving adventure (as the writing on the side of our rented moving van put it) was about to hit the stage of lining shelves, unpacking kitchen, dining and bath supplies, and getting everything to fit into any and all available cupboard and drawer space. My wife knows how I am on this particular task.
I stink at it.
Dave & Todd
Dave and Todd sound like a pair of names you’d hear hosting a top 40 morning radio show. They act like it too.
They picked me up and started talking about where to go for lunch.
“Let’s go to the place on Garnet Avenue.”
“We can’t go there, it’s a dump.”
“I like the food there.”
“Tim doesn’t want to eat there.”
“Great, so where were you thinking?”
“How about Tower 23?”
“We’ll never get a table.”
“We can eat in the bar if the dining room’s too crowded.”
“Tim doesn’t want to eat in the bar.”
[At which point I very quietly offered, “Anywhere is fine.”]
“See, I told you Tim wants to eat at Tower 23.”
We got a table, lunch was great, and those guys didn’t let up.
They dropped me off at the apartment and to my relief all kitchen, bath and dining boxes had been sufficiently emptied into their cupboards and drawers.
Getting the Right Fit
God gives everyone their talents, and almost everyone can contribute in some way or another in his kingdom. But not everyone can contribute in every way.
When God gave Moses instructions on how to build the tent of meeting – the tabernacle that would house the holy ark and the place where the priests would offer sacrifices in worship – he didn’t say that all the people should get out their tools and get to work. He said the skilled people would do the work and everyone else would provide the materials: gold, jewels, fine cloth, etc. (Exodus 35.)
In the New Covenant, there are also different roles for different people, and we are to honor each other’s work when it is the work God has given them to do. (1 Corinthians 12.)
I think this also means we should not feel feel guilty about not doing work that is the responsibility of other people. Take preaching, for example. People attending church probably don’t listen to the sermon thinking, “I really should be helping out. Should I go up front? There’s no reason the pastor can’t come sit down while I preach the rest of the message.”
It’s good to serve others, but not everyone is supposed to serve in the same way. Sometimes, as with Moses building the tabernacle, we can best get the job done by supporting those who do the work. And if we understand these roles correctly, we recognize that there will be other times we are the ones doing the work.
My job in settling our daughter into her new apartment included driving a moving van from one end of San Diego County to the other, repeated trips to the storage unit, loading heavy furniture into the van and unloading it back out again, assembling desks and bed frames, and more than one run to Target for supplies.
But I stink at shelf lining and cupboard loading, so I left that to those who could get it done.