When I think about ministry I tend to think of Mother Theresa amongst the poor in Calcutta, or a pastor faithfully teaching from his pulpit, or a missionary floating down the Amazon River, avoiding the piranhas and snakes.
And I always thought, as a young Christian, that I would one day be in ministry.
So there has always been a particular girl in my head, one that looks suspiciously like Amy Carmichael, who has always sort of tut-tutted me about not being in ministry. Now rest assured, there are several other girls in my head who vehemently disagree with her and who firmly believe that my true ministry is in my home and in the reading lesson that I do with my daughter, the same one we have done over and over and which some day I just KNOW she will get. Those girls in my head firmly reassure that that is just as valuable a ministry as anything that happens deep in the Amazon.
God has confirmed that repeatedly in my heart. And God has shown me that He has ministry for me to do all over my home and in the lives of every single person He brings in my life. Let me give you one example.
I am the Minister of TP.
Yes, that TP. The necessary paper. I am the Minister of toilet paper.
And lest you think I am being sacrilegious, let me assure you that I am very serious. Although it does often make me giggle and continually confirms in my heart that along with all His other attributes God has a sense of humor.
How did I get such a high and lofty calling you might ask?
It actually was a calling that God used for a transformation.
Let me give you a little background.
I have a big family. Two adults. Seven kids. Two bathrooms. I will let you do the math.
We can go through a LOT of toilet paper.
But….(and here I am going to confess a real training glitch in my parenting)….no one seems to feel responsible to change out the toilet paper roll when it is empty.
Can I hear an amen here? Anyone know what I am talking about?
It used to make me so mad. Especially when the kids were smaller. I mean, a busy Mom barely has time to GO to the bathroom. You just keep putting it off. And then you finally get there….and….no paper.
OF COURSE, I would always have a good attitude about it and sweetly remind my children of the importance of thinking of those who come in behind you, and…ahem. Well, okay, okay, I would usually just get irritated.
What would actually even make me madder though than no paper was the culprit who would leave just one or two sheets, the ones glued to the roll, on there. Then they could say they did not take ALL the paper. Hmmm.
And then there was the real doozy. The new roll sitting ON TOP of the used roll. I mean really. How hard can it possibly be to put the new roll on the holder? It is right beside you for goodness sake!
But then it happened.
One time I was feeling pretty irritated about the TP situation and I was muttering to myself when the Lord interrupted my thoughts,
My daughter, why are you fussing about such a little thing? In fact, why don’t you just do it and why don’t you do it as a ministry. For Me.
What? My face must have looked like Noah’s when God told him to build the Ark.
Really Lord? You want me to have a ministry of toilet paper?
So I did. I did it for Him. I started looking at every time I was faced with an empty toilet paper roll, or a two sheet roll, or a propped up roll as an opportunity to serve the Lord.
And guess what? It changed my attitude. And do you think that once my attitude about it changed I started having less paper obstacles?
Quite the opposite.
I guess God was really serious about it being my ministry. I have opportunities to practice it everywhere I go. I seem to meet the end of a roll wherever I am! I’ve changed it at restaurants, coffee houses, other people’s homes, churches, gas stations,….you get the idea.
Now, I just sort of chuckle and think, “Thanks Lord for the opportunity to serve You.”
It really makes me think that God is not near as worried about our circumstances as He is about our hearts. And He is willing to use ANYTHING to transform our heart from something that is selfish and self-centered to one that is giving and other-centered.
And it also confirms in my heart something God has been teaching me for the last few years. NOTHING is outside of the redemptive power of God.
Not even toilet paper!
NOTHING. No irritation. No tribulation. No trouble. No menial task.
It is all redeemable and it can ALL be used for His glory.
Now I am sort of reticent to get irritated about things. I mean, how many ministries can a girl handle?
What about you? Is there something that just drives you crazy? Watch out- it may be exactly what God is going to use to transform you into exactly what He wants you to be!
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. -Col 3:23