Cleaning the Kitchen . . .

by Mike Lueken, Senior Pastor

We had a great Thanksgiving.  The worship service the night before was wonderful.  The weather on turkey day was perfectly crisp.  I taught the kids the game of cribbage and then dismantled each of them by an obscene margin, finishing the day at an impressive 3-0.   Many of you remember Katie “Kitty” Albert.  She use to be on staff here at the church, and now lives in Boise, Idaho (home of the blue Smurf turf).  We have known Katie for almost 20 years.  She was Sam and Abbie’s first babysitter back in the great state of Wisconsin.  Katie joined us this past Thanksgiving, and she is like another member of our family.  We had a great day.

As always on big holidays, the meal took most of the day to prepare, and about 20 minutes to devour.  The hours and hours of effort were sliced and stabbed to pieces in a matter of minutes.  And when the meal ended, the kitchen looked like post- world war II Europe.  Rubble everywhere.  Pots and pans I didn’t know we even had were smeared with Roy G. Biv.  The time had come to pick through the rubble and start rebuilding the kitchen.  Sam and I joyfully agreed to complete the assignment (if you believe that I’ve got property in Big Moose, NY that would fulfill all your dreams.).  After withstanding Sam’s argumentation as to why he should be exempt from this task, he and I settled in and got the job done.  And something strange happened on the way to completing this chore – we had fun.  We worked, we laughed and occasionally he complained about how much he does around the house.  But it was a blast, because we did it together.

For the few weeks following, whenever Sam was asked to help out with a chore, he referenced his heroics efforts on Thanksgiving Day.  How could we ask him to take out the garbage when he had done “so much” to clean the kitchen after Thanksgiving?  The injustice was offensive.  It was funny, irritating, and it got me thinking about the church.

Imagine if Thanksgiving evening, Sam and I had balked at cleaning the kitchen because “we aren’t gifted at cleaning up.”  Suppose Abbie and Izzie said the same thing.  And what if Julie had said, “You know I made the whole dinner so I’m not cleaning up.”  What if today, December 15, our kitchen still was buried under the mess of Thanksgiving, not to mention the countless meals since, because none of us thought it was our responsibility and each of us thought someone else could/should/or would do it?

In a family, there are things that have to be done and whether we are gifted or not, interested or not, want to or not, we have to do them.  It’s just the way a family operates.  Things need to be done, and each of us has to contribute.

We are coming down to the wire in our efforts to raise $100,000 in our year-end offering.  This year-end offering, to be given over and above your regular giving,  is one of those church family issues where we need everyone to participate.  It’s like the messy kitchen or the laundry or taking out the trash.  This is a time for us all to pray and talk as families and sacrificially give to support the ministry of Oak Hills.  Regardless of the amount that is given, we would hope that everyone who considers Oak Hills their home would participate.  The truth is, when we dive into a challenge together, the process becomes more interesting and fun.  We get stronger as a church family when we face things together and work to overcome them.

For several years we have been in the process of reducing our expenses to better align with our income, and the offering will go directly into our General Fund to help keep our reserves healthy for 2011.  As always, 10 % of whatever comes in will be given away to an outside ministry.  This year we are helping Restoration Ministries in Brazil and Powerhouse Ministries here in Folsom.  The actual offering will be received on December 19, but you can give throughout the month of December.  If we each do our part, we will have no problem surpassing our goal of $100,000.

I hope you have a blessed holiday season.  And by the way, if you need someone to clean your messy kitchen when it’s all said and done, I’m sure Sam is ready and willing!

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