Today and most days it is a great thing that I am a multitasker. One of the first things I learned about ministry is that it requires you to wear a lot of hats. As a children’s minister I am an event planner, sermon writer (even if they are usually mini-sermons), candy collector, boo-boo kisser, conflict mediator, listener, and the list goes on. It’s a good thing I am a multitasker. But occasionally, my multitasking inhibits my ability to focus, particularly on God. I get swept away in the planning, to-do lists, and hospital visits that are a large part of my job, and I forget why I am here.
Today was no different. By lunchtime, I had freaked out my assistant with talks of the 2013 calendar (since we are in fact entering one of the busiest times of the year for the church), written a reflection for a family devotional, answered various questions and emails, and found ways to always be busy. I came back from lunch to an office full of boxes, full of fun things I’d ordered for various Christmas events. I decided to go through and organize them, hoping that this would help me find my focus for the afternoon. As other children’s ministers can attest, Oriental Trading is your best friend in this ministry. Their crafts are fun (and cheap!), and you can usually find something for everyone. I went through my boxes to make sure everything was there. I moved on to the box of ornaments I’d ordered, small Christmas gifts of appreciation for my Sunday School teachers. I opened the box, found the invoice that said what I had ordered, and then began looking through the box, eager to see the ornaments. What I found instead was a box full of resurrection bookmarks. That’s right, resurrection butterfly bookmarks. In November. Under the bookmarks I found a note that said, “this box has been carefully packed by (insert name here).” I gave the box to my assistant to make sure that those were, in fact, resurrection bookmarks and that there were no Christmas ornaments in that box. We had a good laugh about it, and I called the company to get the ornaments we actually ordered. While I am grateful that I ordered ahead so that we have plenty of time to get what we need, I am so grateful that I received those bookmarks.
It is easy to see God’s hand in that snafu. Sure it was a little frustrating, but the resurrection broke into my day. On a day that was cold and rainy, when the trees are beautiful but dying, the resurrection came like a breath of fresh air. My grandfather recently celebrated his birthday. He turned eighty during his first week of living in a nursing home. It has been a tough couple of weeks for my family as we come to terms with the probability of him not seeing his eighty-first birthday. I needed the memory of the resurrection that those bookmarks brought. For with the resurrection comes the hope that this is not the end, that love, not death, wins, and that we will see our loved ones again when we, too, spend eternity with God. I left work a little lighter and more thankful for my job, for where else would such a great reminder of the resurrection happen? As ministers it is easy to get bogged down in the many tasks we have, but it is my hope that hope, love, and the resurrection will break into your life as well.
Jessica Asbell is minister to children, First Baptist Church, Roswell, Georgia.