'Tis is the season of transition to summer routines. School and church activities like Bible studies, small groups and children's programs are wrapping up. It's a perfect time of year to reflect on those who have had influence on our faith. There are official "volunteer recognition" parties and fellowship lunches, gift cards given and Hallmark cards signed. Whether our expressions of gratitude are official or spontaneous, they are important and powerful encouragement to volunteers who lead Bible studies, teach Sunday School, hold babies in the nursery, serve on worship teams, facilitate small groups, preach and inspire, make coffee, maintain our church buildings, be a buddy to a child with special needs, make meals for families when someone is hospitalized, speak or write words or encouragement, mentor youth, lead our congregations, administrate our offices and pray faithfully on our prayer chains. The list of those who could be thanked and how we might do that goes on and on.
Rhonda Roe and her Bible study friends recently found a creative way to thank their Bible study leader, Jan Christofferson. They have so valued the way Jan teaches and inspires them. I want to thank Rhonda for sharing today's story and poem reminding us to give thanks and inspiring us share our Glory Stories of how we are personally encountering the Living God in His precious presence, power and goodness.
My Bible study leader, Jan Christofferson, often refers to what she learned in Sunday school as a small child. She tells us about sitting in little red chairs and learning simple truths about Jesus and stories of faith.
I have often thought how neat it would be to give Jan a little red wooden chair as a reminder of those special days in Sunday school. This year I was able to make that dream a reality. I found a small wooden chair at an antique store and purchased it. My friend, Karen, painted it red and wrote a poem to give to Jan. We recently gave it to Jan at our end-of-the-year brunch.
I hope this story and the poem inspire you to share your faith with the children in your lives. You never know if one of them will grow up to have a servant heart and a desire to lead a Bible study.
The Little Red Chair
by Karen Johnson
A little red chair, so tiny and sweet,
with paint a bit chipped and wear from small feet.
All week in the dark and lined up on the wall,
but oh! Sunday mornings, that changes it all!
All proud in a circle, we sit in a state,
for very small people to be quiet and to wait,
for stories and singing, and maybe a treat,
for words about Jesus, and God’s love so sweet.
A little red chair, a Sunday in church,
a small little girl using it for a perch.
A love for our Lord, a kindness of heart,
like most great achievements, had a small start.
A little red chair, now beat up and worn,
abandoned, forgotten—but what of it born?
A wee little child to hear and in turn,
a life full of teaching so others might learn.
A little red chair, so cheerful and dear,
with our thankful hearts we look at it here.
A symbol for us, they make such a pair,
our wonderful Jan and her little red chair!
Who might you thank today or this week?
How could you do that in a way that is personally meaningful?
LORD GOD, thank you for putting people in my life who have pointed me toward You and helped me grasp my opportunity for relationship with you. Thank you for using the stories I hear about how others are encountering You. Those stories re-assure me of your presence. They encourage me when I need to know someone else has walked in my shoes and found You to be faithful. They spur me on when it's hard to persevere. They remind me that I have great value in your Kingdom. Help me to hear what You have to say to me through friends, mentors, my spouse, my children and my parents. Please help me to have a teachable spirit as well as a heart to serve and share how I see You at work in and around me. I offer myself to you today (or recommit) to be used for Your unimaginable purposes. Please bless the people I am thinking of now and minister to their needs as only You can. I ask these things and give You my thanks in Jesus' name. AMEN