Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Offering Plate

The phone rang mid-morning. It was my Man. Oh no. Why's he calling? He usually just texts. What's the matter? Who is hurting? Why an actual phone call?

"Hello?"

"Hi. How's your morning going?"

"Fine. What's up? What's going on? Who died? Why are you calling?"

"Everything's fine. I was calling to ask if you'd sing Sunday since the choir hasn't had a chance to practice for the last three weeks."

Everything's FINE? No everything is not fine! I'm too old and scared to sing...the young girl is gone who you'd take along to sing when you preached so that it would take up more time because the sermons were not as long as the church expected them to be! 

"Sure, I'll do it."

"You sure? I can call someone else if you don't want to. I almost didn't even call. I know how overwhelmed you get these days. You really don't have to."

"No. It's alright. I've just decided not to get nervous."

{Knowing chuckle heard on the other end of the line...}

"Really. I'll be fine."

"Ok, thank you."

And I was fine. I found a song and practiced when it was quiet at home, trying not to allow butterflies and random worries to take over my determination. Left to wander, my mind likes to whisper less-than-sweet-nothings in my ear... You'll mess up. You'll forget. You'll miss a note or seven. What were you thinking? There are 87 other people who could have handled this better than you. You are too nervous. Remember the last solo you sang?

Saturday came and passed and I almost forgot what Sunday had waiting for me. Sunday, between curling hair and ironing a shirt, I practiced one more time in the kitchen at the computer while the swirl of Sunday morning chaos was in high gear.

Nerves set on me like boulders. It was hard to breathe deeply.

Legions of butterflies...little resolve.

"Mom," said Cole from another room, "is that for today?"

"Yes."

{Crickets}

"Mom, is that for the offering plate?" asked Kate wondering whether I would be singing in the normal choir spot in the worship service while the offering was being collected.

But her question struck me literally.

IS your song for the offering plate Mom? Will it be your offering to the God who saved you and allowed you to be able to sing? WILL it Mom? Is your song your OFFERING?

"Yes, Kate it is indeed for the offering plate."

Nerves eased. Knots relaxed. Prayers answered.

After all, what kind of person is too old or too nervous or too full of herself to be scared while placing her offering in the offering plate when it passes by?

Yes, Kate, yes, it's for the offering plate and for no other thing. Not for the approval of man, woman, or child. Not for applause. Not for your Daddy, though I like to see him grin. Not so I can say I did it well or not so well. Not so you'll be proud of me. All of that is nice, but it completely disqualifies the singing from the offering plate. If I do it for any other reason than as an offering to God...it no longer becomes an offering to Him, it becomes a performance by be motivated by the applause of the earthly which is short-lived and glory-stealing.

The music began, the plates were passed, and my offering was added along with all the rest.



Thank you Kate...

Thank You Lord.

"Never saved by our performance, never sanctified by our performance, 
never finally delivered by our performance. It's all done by grace." 
~Paul David Tripp

3 comments:

G'ma suz said...

Bet God thought the "offering" was over the top this Sunday. What a lesson in a blog!!! Love you, Mom

Mr R said...

Amen

Pam W said...

This is the type of memory I hold dear when I think of you and your family. I could cry each time I think of you all leaving our church and our ring of friends. You are dearly missed but I'm so glad blogs and social media keep us connected.

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