At some point in the history of the early church, there seemed to be some conflict caused by who might get credit for what in the grand scheme of things. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul sought to defuse that particular time bomb:
After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God’s servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. For we are partners working together for God, and you are God’s field. (I Cor 3:5-9, GNT)
Our fourth day on the job was an exercise in remembering that we are all in this together. By the time we got to the home that will be occupied by Angelica and her seven children, a group from one community in Texas had already laid the foundation and built the walls. Another group, from a vastly different community, had gathered to begin to paint the outside. And we, in our foolishness, thought we might “finish” the place.
Oh, we did great things – the walls are all up and taped. Electrical sockets and switches are in, as are most of the plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, and a lot of other bells and whistles. But “done”? Nope. Someone else is going to have to put the finish coat of drywall mud down, and lay the carpeting, and connect the sewage drains.
But it’s ok. That family is one step closer to the freedom of a new home, and we got to help. That’s something. Desmond Tutu, of South Africa, once said, “the privilege is ours to share in the loving.”
And that’s what we did this week. We shared in the loving – we extended some of ourselves, to be sure. But we were treated royally – by a congregation that welcomed us into their building with amazing hospitality and more grapefruit than we know what to do with; by another congregation that invited us to worship and dine with them tonight in a feast of spiritual and physical food that lasted until 10 pm; by a young widow who doesn’t speak English, but who shared the fruit from the tree in her garden because we asked to try it; by her children who wanted just to play a little soccer…
Here are some images of the good life in Texas from today. There are stories behind them, but it’s after midnight and we’ve got more to do in the morning.