Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Take Turns


For many years, there was a poster attached to the wall above the drinking fountain at church.  There was a row of penguins lined up at the edge of a cliff and one by one they were jumping into the icy cold water.

That poster served as a reminder to everyone at the drinking fountain to take turns.  Don't push ahead to the front of the line.  Don't swarm the drinking fountain in a pack.  I'd often point at the poster as a reminder to the children and say, "Look, the penguins are all waiting their turn and we should wait our turn also.  Be patient, your turn is coming."

Another drinking fountain rule I establish was counting to 10 while children were getting their drinks.  I had to enforce this rule because we all know that preschoolers are part camel.  As soon as it was a child's turn at the water fountain, they stepped up and embraced the "possession is 9/10's of law" rule.   

Once a child placed their hands against the cool, stainless steel of the drinking fountain, they were not willingly going to surrender that place of power.  When I had a child that refused to stop drinking or step away, I would gently tap them on the shoulder to remind them that their turn was over.  It's time for someone else to step up. 

This drinking fountain story has a spiritual comparisons that relates to taking turns.  In the church today, music has caused many conversations and stirred up generational differences due to song selection and music style.  I wish I could say that I have never been one of the complainers, but I have.  I've complained about the repeating of a phase over and over...and over again, the loudness of the drums and the hard to follow song melodies.  I wonder why my favorite songs--the ones I know all the words to--aren't sung anymore.  

Maybe you too have harbored some of these same issues.

I was in a church service a few months ago and another new song was thrust upon me as I struggled to find the right notes to sing.  The music would go up when I thought it should go down and I tried to make sense of the mismatched words while I sang.  

Then my focus moved from the words on the screen to the group of young people on the platform.  They stood with their eyes pinched tight, hands lifted high and I swear I felt a tap on my shoulder.  A gentle reminder that I needed to take turns.  

This is what Isaiah 43:18-21(GW) says about taking turns

Forget what happened in the past,
and do not dwell on events from long ago.
I am going to do something new.
It is already happening. 
Don’t you recognize it?
I will clear a way in the desert.
I will make rivers on dry land…
I have formed these people for myself.
They will praise me.

Maybe you, along with me, have been holding tightly to the drinking fountain while God has been gently tapping us on the shoulder.  If you listen closely, maybe your heart will also clearly hear His voice say, "Take Turns."



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