a screw loose?

So we managed to survive the transfer of the Essex box fort to become the Devon box fort! The removal men were really good and it was surprisingly swift. I would say that it was at the lower end of possible stress levels for a move, although we’re both really tired now.

Most rooms still have residual boxes in them, and please don’t look in the garage, but we have managed to find most of the important things (eventually). I took apart my desk before the move and put the eight screws in a safe place. I put almost all the important screws in a compartment in my tool box. But of course, for reasons I can’t remember, I didn’t put the desk screws in that compartment. I have unpacked all of the likely boxes, all of the unlikely but still possible ones, and looked in all the drawers in my study units.

Nope.

In the garage in our new manse there are some jars of screws, bolts, nuts, washers, nails and other useful bits and pieces hanging by their lids that are screwed into a shelf above (see below). These were left by the previous occupants, but have the look of something that has been a fixture here for many years. I had a rummage in the relevant jar and managed to find four that fitted so that I could reattach the keyboard shelf. However there was nothing to match the other four. Some were the right width and thread, but too long. Others were the right length but the wrong thread. In the end a visit to the local DIY superstore enabled me to find some that were just right. (Is it just me or does this sound a bit like a DIY version of Goldilocks and the 3 bears!)

So, in the end the desk is not complete, most books are on the shelves and my workspace is usable.

Why am I telling you this innocuous story? Well, little things can make a big difference. Compared to the rest of the desk eight screws don’t really look much. But without them the desk was not as useful as it now is. You may not think you are significant, but you matter. You are useful.

In the New Testament there’s a tiny little letter that Paul wrote to a friend of his called Phil (okay, Philemon, but give me credit for trying to be contemporary). Phil had a slave (different times) called Onesie (Onesimus) who ran away. You can’t blame Onesie for seeking his freedom. But he bumped into Paul, who suggested that he should go back to Phil’s house, and he wrote him a letter to take back and explain that there were new circumstances (Onesie had become a follower of Jesus).

It seems that Onesie had not been a particularly good slave. But Paul wrote in the letter, “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.” Onesie’s full name actually means ‘useful’ (ironically).

And that’s the point I am trying to make. Onesie was regarded as useless, but Paul saw his potential and how he could live up to his name.

Be blessed, be a blessing

The bootiful voos

Yesterday we went for a walk in the Devon countryside. We walked along a ridge and were presented with this beautiful view (pronounced differently with a Devon accent).

From there we walked along the gorge and ended up for lunch next to this bridge.

And then after lunch we walked back along the river Teign.

And we came across this dry stone wall. I was so impressed with how all of the differently shaped stones are fitted together. All have a place. All complement each other. All can be used. Even little ones. It’s not uniform but it’s strong and useful and impressive. 

An image of church?

Be blessed, be a blessing 

 

Grandma’s lamp

I love the simplicity of this image yet it is clearly a desk lamp(freeimages.com)

I love the simplicity of this image – yet it is clearly a desk lamp(freeimages.com)

I have a desk lamp that belonged to one of my Grandmas. I have had it for a while and when I came to Colchester I thought it would be useful at the church.

I put it on my desk in the ministers’ office at the church when I was setting up there, and it lived there for the past 6+ years. (For you grammar pedants, it was an office for both ministers so the apostrophe is in the right place here even if it never got changed on the door!). Yesterday evening I went to the church to empty out some bits and pieces from the office (cue more lumps in throat and tears in eyes – what a softie!).

I almost forgot to pick up Grandma’s lamp because it had been a regular ‘fixture’ on my desk for the past 6+ years and I had grown used to it being there. As I was gathering up my bits and pieces I noticed Grandma’s lamp and realised that I needed to bring it with me. I managed to get it gently in my bag and brought it back. I have found the perfect place for it above my desk and realised that I could have used it there much more helpfully than I used it in the church office.

Two brief reflections on that:

Do we treat people like Grandma’s lamp? How often do we become so familiar with people that we take them for granted? How often do they blend into the background and we forget that they have a story, an inherent value and significance?

And is it also possible that we are like the lamp? We may be doing wonderfully where we are, but might God have us use our gifts in another way or another place in order to bless people in a different way? This is what is happening to me this week!

Be blessed, be a blessing