Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Dump Truck Syndrome

Currently, one of my son's favorite books is called "The Little Blue Truck." It's about a friendly farm pickup that says "hello" to all the farm animals as it drives by them. Then a big dump truck comes down the road, knocking chickens and ducks out of it's way because it has "BIG IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO" and doesn't have time to pass the day with all the animals. The dump truck gets very stuck in mud, and calls for help from the animals, who all ignore his plea. If it weren't for the compassion of the blue pickup that jumps in the mud to help and elicits the help of the farm, the dump truck would probably still be stuck. Instead, the dump truck learns the importance of others and thanks his new found friends.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is easy in ministry to be the big dump truck, caught up in "BIG IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO" and forget about the unscheduled random events and people that cross my path. For the purpose of this blog, I have nicknamed this problem "the dump truck syndrome."

Sundays seem the worst. I've got to keep track of my 15 month old, help watch the ministry table, get ready to sing or play a violin special, prepare to teach a class... you name it. Whatever the pastor needs us for, we are ready. Then, there's that elderly gentleman who just HAS to tell me a story that lasts half an hour; or the small child that wants to play with Jude and needs constant supervision to do so; or the sound system that isn't working and requires me to set up the ministry table while my husband helps with it; or various other things.

Deputation is tough. Especially with the dump truck syndrome so prevalent in our culture today that has inadvertently trained our minds. Yes, I do have important things to do, but that is not all of what life is about. Life is about people. Family. Friends. Strangers even. (Especially in ministry.) PEOPLE ARE MY BIG IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO. 

So, if my son wants to play "peek-a-boo" with that elderly "grandma" in the grocery store, it's time to slow down, make a friend, pass out a tract. If the young child in the Chick-Fil-A playground is trying hard to make conversation, it's time to stop and encourage him. It's a battle not to be a big dump truck.

Even Jesus' disciples had this problem. They saw an adulteress by a well and thought "what are you doing?" They saw a harlot anoint Jesus' feet and protested. They tried to send away the children who wanted to see Jesus. They too had the dump truck syndrome.

So what was the cure? What changed the disciples so much that, later in Acts, they are accosted by a lame man at the temple and ACTUALLY stop to help? What made them assign deacons in the newly founded church JUST to make sure the widows were cared for and served?

It must have been time with Jesus.

Jesus is like the little blue pickup in my son's story. He is happy to love on people. Jesus taught His followers to love the unloved, care for the sick and dying, and witness to the lost. His life on earth was to prove that God cared about people. Yes, Jesus had a mission to complete- to fulfill prophecy and die for mankind. Yet he took 33 years to do it, not a mere day which is all the mission required.

As a follower of Christ, I too MUST spend time with Jesus. I must be in-tune with the Spirit of God so I know when He's calling me to jump out of a schedule to help a person. My mind needs transformed by the renewal found in the Bible and the person of Christ. I need to be concerned with the lives around me and not wrapped up in a busy life, and the only way to retrain my mind is to keep in the Word and spend time with the Lord. That is the only cure for the dump truck syndrome.