Oh, the vacuum story.
I was in my office when the phone rang. A parishioner called because they thought the church needed a new vacuum. There was a lot of carpet in that church. So, why not?
When they came to deliver our new machine I got the whole story.
They had bought a new vacuum for their home. That meant, of course, their old one needed a new home. The church wasn’t getting a new vacuum. We were getting a new-to-us vacuum.
Except, we didn’t get it.
Mind you, this wasn’t just their old vacuum. I’m pretty sure it was their first vacuum. There was more electrical tape on the power chord than I’ve used in all my electrical tape experience. It was dirty, and with all sincerity, I don’t know how anyone could’ve thought to bring that to the church.
Imagine their surprise when I turned it down. Yes, they were a little taken back. I just wasn’t grateful enough, I suppose.
I’ve told that story before and one person told me that I should’ve received their gift. It’s what was in their heart. They thought of the church, after all.
But shouldn’t we also hold higher standards for one another and for our ministry? I would have never called anyone else to “give” them that rickety vacuum. My impression was the church was the first place they called. That wasn’t out of a sense of gratitude to God or desire to see the church’s ministry flourish. The church was the easiest place to drop it off.
I think about that vacuum from time to time. It helps me reflect on what I’m offering to God and to the church. I want to ensure I’m giving the best of who I am and what I have to offer for the glory of God. Someone once said it best: Give God what’s right, not what’s left.
That aligns with a takeaway from 1 Kings 7. We’re told that King Solomon took thirteen years to build his house. It was a wonder to behold! Now, you’ll have to read the last verse of chapter six and the first verse of chapter seven together to appreciate what the author might be trying to tell us. When you do, you’ll see that Solomon took thirteen years to build his house and seven years building God’s.
Is that a commentary on Solomon’s priorities? It might very well be.
He took almost double the time for his own house than he did for God’s. Now, God’s house was nice, no doubt. But isn’t it like us to double our efforts for ourselves and get around to God’s stuff?
This, of course, is about more than a new vacuum. And it’s not about giving stuff to the church. It’s about an attitude and approach to ministry. Imagine what could change about our church’s ministries if we taught one another to offer God our absolute best, not the rest of what we have! Let’s decide what God is leading us to do and become, and pursue it with passion, excellence and sincerity.