Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.
Christmas lights. I coordinated all efforts to get our church mission to Africa. Transportation, dorms, food, fundraisers, raffles, packing, and planned excursions! All went without a hitch until…Christmas lights.
Being editor for a popular magazine, I have credentials to run a successful business. My church has been going on missions to Africa for several years and this was to be my turn to go and serve. Details are my life! I understand what needs to be done and how to get things done right the first time.
My friend, Dell, and I stuck together for some of the trip, but she quickly got caught up in the humanitarian side of our mission. She was behind the lens of her Kodak, capturing faces and colors the village displayed. Meanwhile, I took over technical duties. My job was to keep things running smoothly.
“So where are we setting up the pulpit?” I asked Murry, a youth leader and interpreter. I was ready to begin set up at 1pm that afternoon. Sermon and worship were scheduled at 8pm and I still had to coordinate lunches, dinners, and breaks.
19-year-old Peggy, the youngest traveler in our party, came bounding into the school house; blue hair, black chipped nail polish. “Can I help with set up for tonight?”
“Um, no, Sweetie,” I said, untangling a box of Christmas lights I had brought with us. “I’ve got this.” She looked disappointed, but I reasoned she would have a better time out in the sunshine than in the dingy darkened school room.
Murry gave me a sideways glance and grinned, “In a hurry?”
“Uh, yes. We need to make sure we have enough time to get the lights and microphones set up,” I answered. Being from a family who spent lots of time on the stage, I knew about drama and wanted to create atmosphere for the villagers to not only hear the Word, but to be put in the mindset to receive the life change message.
“Where is the nearest outlet?” I asked wiping sweat away.
Murry chucked, shaking his head and index finger, “No lights.”
I looked around the simple school room and found the outlet. When I say “the outlet” I mean, one, the only, a single outlet for the whole room. Taking out the strand of twinkle lights one at a time, I could just picture ambiance they would create. I’d make one outlet work.
“Yes lights,” I insisted, struggling with the bends and creases of green wires. “Miss Jackelyn, you don’t see the mosaic today,” Murry said with broken English accent. “Where is the microphone for the pulpit?” I threw back, ignoring his comment.
“Mosaic is what we need to see today,” he continued. “You, me, Pastor, people; we are all rocks. Polished, selected, perfect in God’s making. We may have been tossed gently in a stream, we may have been formed on a mountain and rolled down with an avalanche, we may have been thrown a thousand miles by an erupting volcano!” he continued, throwing his hands up in the air. “It make no difference how we got here or how we are formed; it is how we fit the mosaic.” He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out two smooth rocks. “You are one rock, blue and round. I am another rock, orange and long. But God,” he pointed and looked up, “He uses each rock to make mosaic of such beauty! He creates wonderful picture for us to enjoy as he uses us, refined by time and experience to fit together. By ourselves, we are just a rock,” he looked down at the two pebbles in his hand. “Quite dull. Come,” he motioned me to follow him around the back of the building where there was the beginning of a picture made of pebbles.
“But together,” he continued, “depending on one another, coming closer and closer together, we become like mosaic.” There were an assortment of rocks still laying on the ground, separated by color, separated by size. They looked like a jumble of pebbles. But the picture on the wall was stunning. The rocks attached to the masonry worked together to make an intricate image.
“See this one?” he pointed to a large blue almost turquoise stone. Alone it was unimpressive. But surrounding it were grey, white, black, and almost silver stones, swirling around one another. It was movement. I couldn’t tell what the finished product was going to look like, only that it was in motion. Waves? Air? Dancing? It was unfinished.
My heart knew in that moment the message I needed to hear. Peggy flashed to mind. She wanted so much to help, but I didn’t allow her. I refused her help.
Well, 8:00 came and I plugged in those Christmas lights. They did not shine. Murry came up to me and gave me a side hug with a soft, consoling, “No lights.” Apparently, there is no power to that building at 8:00pm. Power restrictions…who knew?
When I got back home, I developed several photos of the school’s mosaic. Placing the photos around my home like my kitchen window, I recited: “Remember to let the kids be part of the mosaic.” I put one in my office: “Remember to let employees be a part of the mosaic,” I placed one on my mailbox at church: “Remember to allow my church family to be a part of the mosaic.”
A week after we got back from the mission, Peggy asked, “Jackelyn, I was wondering if you could help me behind the scenes in the sound booth this weekend? I could teach you how to set up the lights and microphones for weekend service?”
Remember…allow me to be a refined rock so I can be part of the mosaic.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Phil 2:3
Written by Jennifer Love