I had been wrestling with the idea of blogging some of my life experiences with the intent of encouraging others who may be going through similar situations. Although the main audience being those who have been attending church for a long time and are caught in the cycle of just "doing church", I believe these stories will reach all audiences with God's help.

I'd rather fail miserably at something I feel God asked me to do than just sit back and wonder what could've, would've or should've happened.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sister Pat's Woodshop

During my Jr. High years I worked at Sister Pat's Woodshop with a few of the other guys from our church. This was an after-school program that this particular Catholic Church had for Jr. High-schoolers to keep them out of trouble. In the woodshop, we would make wooden objects that would eventually be sold - the proceeds going to the church. Our salary was based on our performance or should I say Sister Pat's evaluation of our performance.

Sister Pat = a no-nonsense, in-your-face, take no crap from nobody, serious, all business, fire you on the spot, rehire you on the same spot, tough as nails nun. This little nun was no joke! Truth is she had to be that way to deal with these inner city kids she was responsible for. In retrospect, she had a great heart - and I'm sure still does.

We had a great time there! Lots of laughing, joking and learning went on in that woodshop. There were many great memories and some not so great. But this one particular day taught me a great lesson:

As usual, we were joking around and laughing. This time it was "make fun of Sister Pat day". We made fun of everything we could think of - maybe too much! She gave us several warnings to lower our voices and control our laughter but we would continue. For a moment, she briefly walked out of the room and came back in only to catch us making fun if her. I was sure we would all hear, "Izzy, Franky, Billy, Sammy (names were changed to protect the innocent) YOU'RE FIRED!" as we had heard many times before. Instead she put her head down, walked toward her desk and between her weeping barely got the following words out: "and you're supposed to be Christians".

OUCH! It was as if someone took a samurai sword and shoved it through my heart in a lower-case T motion! I would rather be fired than hear that! We made Sister Pat cry!

Since I was the PK and the oldest of our group, I eventually gathered enough courage to approach her and apologized. Things seemed to be back to normal but I learned a hard lesson that day - we represent Christ wherever we go!

I've heard this phrase thrown around a lot, "you may be the only Jesus someone sees". When you really think about it, that's a pretty tough responsibility! There are so many people all around us depending on us: at work, school, neighborhood, grocery store and even our family gatherings. We MUST represent Jesus well if we are to reach those around us.

Now some might take this to the extreme and try to shove Jesus down people's throats but I would argue that it is the little things that we do on a daily basis that will demonstrate Jesus (or the lack of Him) in us to others. Here are just 5 little things we can do:
  1. Treat your coworkers with love even though they may not deserve it.
  2. Work as if God was your Boss.
  3. Say hello to your neighbors every time you see them.
  4. Choose your words wisely around your family.
  5. Show God's joy in you by smiling!
These little things will open up God moments for conversations that will introduce Jesus to those around us.

As I'm reminded of this "Sister Pat" experience, I am committed to represent Him well one day at a time by asking the Holy Spirit to help me as I "gear-up" daily! I challenge you to do the same.

God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. (Colossians 1:27 GNT)

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