Killed some time in Cafe Nero last Saturday waiting to collect some specs, (kicking hot chocolate by the way, a beautiful glass of melting Belgian bliss!). It was busy so had to join a fairly long queue stretching to the end of the counter and thought I'd have a while to wait, but within a few seconds a very slight and very pretty Barista lady was asking me what I wanted. I'd watched her work her way along the line, writing nothing down, taking mental note of three or four orders at a time and chatting away to the customers.
The cynic in me didn't hold out too much hope of her getting things right but as I looked on I realised that she was in fact spot on with everything. Each person got what they'd asked for quickly and with a smile. It was joyful to watch and when she served me my drink I couldnt help but tell her how impressive she was, she looked at me almost confused and then with a laugh said how they aimed to please.
I took my seat and thought about what I'd just witnessed. So often staff in these busy places seem either so indifferent or beleaguered that once you're served you don't give them another thought. But this girl was different, she was very busy, but she was more than coping , she was efficient and most affecting of all , she was happy. She was doing what she was good at.
It got me to thinking about church, the family, not the building. In any family the members have different talents and interests , different strengths and weaknesses. What might be a joy and a delight for one could easily be a worst nightmare for another and we never expect that family members are exact representations of each other. Parents, loving their children will encourage them equally to pursue their strengths and siblings can strike out along wildly different paths.
For many of us, our church family is far bigger in size than our natural family (that's certainly true for me) and the pool of treasures and talents is both big and varied. And very exciting. How good to encourage each and bless each other in our strengths. The bible talks of one body and many parts, each one functioning perfectly to form a healthy whole. Every one as necessary as the next but each one different. And each respecting and valuing the others equally.
I'm not advocating that we never step out of our comfort zones and try new things, how boring would that be. But if we step out and discover what we've stepped into is our worst nightmare, then let's not berate ourselves for failing but rather rejoice that we've tried, accept that our strengths lie elsewhere, and be thankful that God has appointed others who can do that thing!
Lets identify and strengthen our strengths and help each other do the same, celebrating our differences. When we do the things we are good at, we do them well and it makes us happy. And just as that beautiful barista lady did for me last Saturday, when we're happy, we make others happy too.