I made a mistake this week.
A big one. A big scary accounting mistake. Like the kind that has you seeing visions of being chased in the streets, or put in stocks, or being ex-communicated. According to my sheets, the camp petty cash is out by (a lot of) dollars. Can you see the sweat on my forehead? Can you feel the knot in my stomach? Can you see my visions of angry deacons?
It doesn’t matter that I had four and a half weeks of perfectly reconciled petty cash leading up to this. That all goes out the window now. My fingers were actually sore from all the frustrated calculator punching. Four hours of adding and adding again. I found the only place the mistake could be. Its also the only place I can’t prove the mistake is. I had to have written down the cash coming in wrong on Monday. I can prove that its likely that I made the mistake there, but I can’t prove it for sure.
In the midst of this horrible day yesterday, my Pastor shows up. I know that I must confess this to him so I mention it pretty quickly and kind of skitter out until I have a better explanation. So this morning I go over to his trailer, knock on his door with my sort of proof that I’m not a thief in hand. I stand on his porch and go over my numbers with him, explaining this must be how I made the mistake. The next words out of his mouth will either cause me to burst into tears and run away or bring great relief.
“Jen, you work hard and I appreciate everything you do out here.”
I may have gotten a few words wrong, but that was basically his response to my mistake.
There are days that the ministry chews you up and spits you out. There are times that other people in the ministry crush your spirit. There are people who seem to constantly assume the worst about you, that seem anxious to spill their frustrations out on you. I’ve cried because it seems as though I can’t do anything right, never measure up to people’s expectations.
Then there are people who actually minister. Have I ever disagreed with my pastor? Absolutely. But have I ever felt as though I wasn’t good enough? I can’t remember a time. Working for my church is a joy. A feeling of being appreciated and loved. I know, I know. I shouldn’t do it for that. And I don’t. But it sure is nice along the way:) And Pastor is not the only one who makes me feel that way.
I won’t forget this day for a long time.
God’s been working on my heart at camp this year, well on a lot of things:), but especially on seeing the good in people. In not assuming the worst about them. In appreciating volunteers, even when I might be frustrated with something they’re doing. They are, after all, volunteers. People who have taken a week or two or a month of their life to devote to God and serving together with us. How awesome is that? So, sometimes they don’t do everything the way we asked. So what. I want to love them anyways. There have been days I have epically failed at this. Too many. But this summer I’ve been making a conscious effort to change that. And today, God showed me how important it is to keep trying to change. My Pastor is awesome at it. Maybe not always in his head:) But in his words. I would like it if one day the same could be said about me. That my words encouraged and supported and thought the best about people. This won’t be easy for me but so important. I want to be a minister who minsters.
Pastor’s words made me cry in the end, but not in the burst into tears and run away, way, but rather tears of thankfulness that I get to be part of such a church. Pastor and Patti have my back. And that makes all the difference.