Do What You Can
First, I want to say thank you for the positive, affirmative responses you’ve given these reflections. These words seem to fill a need. I am grateful to receive more than the obligatory, ‘Good sermon, pastor.’
Last week, as schools, churches, governments, and businesses shut down as the prudent response to Covid-19, the SBMC board met. I had already watched a number of colleagues preach to empty sanctuaries and snuggle in their offices with mini-fireside chats to broadcast encouragement. I envisioned myself struggling with technology and words and decided that livestreaming ‘Worship with Kerry’ would play out more like a Mr. Bean episode that authentic, passionate worship. I decided that I would offer ‘things that I can do’—one of which is to write something for members and friends.
On ordinary days, sticking with our strengths is particularly sound advice. A former pastoral coach of mine once advised me, ‘You can spend a lot of energy trying to get better at something you will never be good at, or you can use the same energy to make your strengths stronger.’ I have treated this as a default position for my life and ministry. Rather than spend my energy shoring up my weaknesses (which are many) I would rather exert the same energy to augment my strengths (which are fewer).
I add one exception to that blanket clause—power tools. A day will come when I yell, ‘Get me the drill!’ and my household will not quake in fear and foreboding. I need a few more foreign mission trips to practice my carpentry skills. For some reason Habitat for Humanity has relegated my carpentry to inside of the closets.
These days seem ripe for both experimentation AND sticking with our strengths. This is a season for learning new skills, practicing and honing them. What is there to lose? Whether it is technology, interpersonal skills, cooking, cleaning, extreme introversion, extreme extroversion, primal scream therapy this seems to be a great time to experiment with very low risk.
At the same time, we need recognize our strengths and offer them to the communities in which we live. We all have something our community needs. In Door County, Meals on Wheels has furnished about 3000 meals a day. That number doubled to 6000 for next week. It is likely to continue to increase. That means meals need to be made, packaged, trucked to drop-off sites and delivered to individual homes. The skill set required to drive, pick up and deliver is remarkably low.
These days could also call us to aim higher…but I’ll save that challenge for another day.