Have you ever been Grout?

This
summer our church put on an awesome Kids Kamp. 
I volunteered to take part.  My
official job was to be in charge of the kitchen and to provide snacks and help
with the lunch process. Praying for this outreach,   I thought about the
years I had written, led and taught in many Vacation Bible Schools.  I remember how exhausting it was. How could
our team help with that? My creative juices began to run.  As I ask the Lord for wisdom and insight some
ideas began to rise.

 

Why not have a few
snacks in the kitchen for the teachers, helpers and workers?  Our team
graciously set about to provide tasty refreshments for each of these hard
workers. More prayer and thinking, Hmm, it's going to be quite warm and we
don't want the children or staff to get dehydrated, nor do we want them to take
a lot of time running to find their water bottles or beg for a drink from the
kitchen.  Why not set up water stations for them close by the activities.

Wow, the day is over.
They still have an after program meeting to debrief and get marching
orders for the next day. Some of our workers were teen agers—who of course are
always hungry.  How could we help them
stay focused during these after day meetings? 
As I watch them sprawl on the platform exhausted waiting for the meeting
to begin the thought came: pass the extra snacks to them.  Serve them individually so they don’t have to
leave the meeting room.  It was a simple
solution.

 

I had fun looking for
ways our team could fill in the gaps without being asked, to help and support
the rest of the ministry team better accomplish their goals.  It wasn't
until we were done that I realized that we helped plug some holes that while
the program wouldn't have flopped, it wouldn't have gone quite as smoothly.
As I was thinking about our team I felt the Holy Spirit said, you
functioned like grout!  Grout is the sandy cement stuff that is placed
between tiles to help strengthen them. 
Grout is an essential part of any tiling job.  It brings stability to the tiles, holding them
in place and keeping them from getting chipped or broken.

 

The Lord showed me
that as grout, we helped strengthen the unity of the team and filled in gaps so
people could do their job easier.  It helped bring encouragement and a
sense of being cared for to the hard workers.  Our team grew closer
together as we looked for ways to fill in.  The church kitchen became a
place of respite for the workers during their break and some great spiritual
conversations took place as well.  

 

All of our team
members used the gift of hospitality to serve the others, but that really isn't
any of our main gifting.  We served out of love and care for the Lord and
these little ones.  As we cared for the leaders, it helped them focus on
their jobs.  When we join together as our individual families or the
church family we help bring a layer of protection against the wiles of the
enemy.  We strengthen our position on the kingdom wall and bring
encouragement to our brothers and sisters.  Jesus said, in as much as you
have done to these, you have done to me.  A cup of cold water in His name
could help a child focus on the lesson, or teachers have a bit more patience
giving instructions.  Grout does not get much glory, it serves the
tiles.  Our team did receive
appreciation, and people noticed which is always nice.  Many times the places we fill in and help are
so small that only God notices.  But He
does notice.  It is always a plus when
you can lift the load of others.

 

Jesus also said, if
your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to
drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their
heads. Matthew 5:44  Being grout does not just apply to those we
are close to, but to anyone he brings our way.

 

In 2
Corinthians 12:15 Paul declares:  I will gladly spend myself and
all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you
love me.  Ouch!  Grout takes a beating.  It is usually ignored.
It can show signs of being used and abused.  But, it is so
necessary.  The beautiful tiles would quickly be chipped, broken and
destroyed without it.  It was a blessing to function as "grout"
that week, and I am glad to be God's Grout anytime He asks.