When I was in first grade, I had those big fat crayons. You might remember them. There were about eight of them that came in a pack. They were for kids with small hands. I never really understood the logic of putting big crayons in little kids hands, while the big kids got the small crayons.
I remember, as clear as a bell, a girl in second grade having a box of 64 Crayola crayons. I gazed upon her multitude of colors and then looked back at my eight.
Her pictures were so much better. Why? I know it was because she had more and smaller crayons.
I couldn’t color in the lines. Even when my crayons became smaller I couldn’t do it.
I was told and cajoled to color in the lines. And I was never really able to. Even now, my coloring would not look as neat and beautiful as someone else’s.
Now, as an adult, I face the same challenges. You mean you want me to drive 50, not 51? You mean I can’t walk on that grass? I really want to touch that paint.
I don’t like lines.
I don’t think I’m unique.
The church wants me to color in the lines too. In many ways I will. Then, somewhere along the way, I get outside the lines in a big way.
Steven Taylor wrote a couple of decades ago about a guy who has to color inside the lines called “I Want To Be A Clone”. He satirized the fact that the church wants everyone to conform and be like everyone else. Many really don’t know what to do with those who want to color outside the lines.
There are people in your church today that color outside the lines. Maybe an entire church colors outside the lines of the other churches in the area.
Do you know what you should do?
Applaud. Clap. Support. Encourage.
Because they are part of the Body. Because they are a leg to your arm. They are a left hand to your right.
Because they may have little fingers with a big crayon. Or bigger fingers with a small one.
Because they are drawing and coloring a picture that God finds beautiful.
And so should we.
What size is your crayon?
Are you a linchpin in your church?
I’m currently reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin. In it, Godin describes a linchpin as someone who is indispensable. My own take on it is that a linchpin is someone whose absence would make a huge difference.
Who are the linchpins in your church? Are you one of them?
I’m not talking about folks who do a lot of work. They could be just cogs in the factory of your church.
I’m not talking about big fish in the little ponds of church structure. People like that come and go.
I’m talking about people who really make a difference in the way the church is supposed to be.
I’m talking about the members of the body who are functioning according to their purpose. If they are an arm, they are being the best arm they can be. If an eye, the best. If they are a knee, a knee. They know who they are in Christ and the church and serve accordingly, happily and joyfully.
I’m talking about the people who know why they are assembling every Sunday. They are there to worship, but the way they do that is different from anyone else. They are there to stimulate others to love and good deeds. They are there encouraging each other. These are woven into their worship, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week.
Joyful servers. Encouragers.
These are the people who are linchpins. You notice when they aren’t there. They stand out. You love being around them.
Are you a linchpin?
Unless you were off on a deep space mission this weekend, you probably know that Whitney Houston died this weekend. LL Cool J described it on the Grammy’s as a death in the family.
I read an article in a magazine discussing the secret to Eric Clapton’s success. Of course he has talent and has worked hard, but one of the main secrets to his success was the collaboration he had with other artists. The list of bands and individual artists that he has worked with was incredible.
What do these two things have in common?
Community. My One Word this year.
Whitney Houston was part of a community of artists.
Eric Clapton is part of another.
Each has had an impact far greater than they would have had individually because of the communities they were a part of.
What does that have to do with you and me? Most of you are probably followers of and believers in Christ. We belong to a far greater community than any of these others.
We belong to the Body.
We need each other.
We don’t have room for Lone Ranger Christians. As John Maxwell has said, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.”
My blogging friend, Ben Emerson, wrote a great post the other day about this. He discussed how we don’t need to interpret scripture alone. We need the group. At first I disagreed. Then I thought about it. We stand on 2000 years of interpretation. We don’t need to come in to Sunday School or Bible Study Group and all say what it means to us. We need to find out what it means. Together.
We need the corporate worship experience, not to be entertained or fed, but because we need each other.
We don’t need the singing just to pump us up. We need to sing and praise our God and Savior together.
We don’t need to just listen to a sermon. We could do that on our iPod. We need to hear it together and share the experience. We need to worship Him together in the word.
We need each other. We need to collaborate in this thing we call the Christian life. We need our brothers and sisters.
How do you collaborate in your community and part of the Body?