Monday, April 17, 2006

Gospel Cheerleader

Recently, my pastor paused his sermon and playfully hinted, “This would be a good place to insert an ‘amen.’” People chuckled and obliged him. Then he joked, “Sometimes when you preach, you have to be your own cheerleader.”

That’s when my mind drifted out the church windows, bought a ticket to “Imagination Station,” and discovered a whole new ministry. I whispered to my daughter, “What if there really was a gospel cheerleader? She could stand to one side of the pastor, like an interpreter for the deaf, and do her thing when he pauses; you know, pump up the crowd to keep them engaged.” She gave me that teenager-to-mom look that says, “Even your very thoughts embarrass me, Mother.”

But I couldn’t let it go. For example, take the moment when the angel announces the resurrection to the women at the tomb. The pastor would pause, look to his right, and then Gospel Cheerleader would step forward in her uniform and chant, “I said He’s not here! It’s not a con; Jesus, Jesus, He is GONE! Yaaaaaay Jesus!” After a jump and wild cheering from the congregation, she would step back, snap her arms behind her, lower her chin and reverently wait for the next pause. Note to youth leaders: this would make a great skit or contest at your next event.

I thought about his words again: “Sometimes when you preach, you have to be your own cheerleader.” Interesting. I think you could substitute whatever it is that you do, school work, sports, babysitting, paying bills, lawn mowing, etc., for “preach” because a lot of what we do goes unnoticed or unappreciated (until it doesn’t get done, of course.) Pats on the back are nice, but we don’t give or get them as often as we should. So why not be your own cheerleader--look at your completed project and think, “Hey, I did all right this time!” and acknowledge the accomplishment.

True, it’s tough to see significance when you’re, say, moving rocks from one place to another, but in Matthew 25:21, we’re reminded that God does notice our faithfulness in small tasks, and in Zechariah 4:10, we’re told that God is pleased by the quality of our work, no matter how menial it is in the eyes of our culture. I work for a youth ministry, which is usually pretty interesting and fun, but on days when I’m stuffing envelopes, I have to remember that although I’m working on a small link in a big chain, every link is important, so that makes every envelope important.

Also, knowing that God is pleased by our faithfulness in routine tasks is energizing. Romans 15:5 says that he’s cheering us on and encouraging us to keep at it. So for all I know, when I’m stuffing envelopes, there may be a cheerleader angel sitting on my desk wearing a white sweater with a big “J” on it. He may be chanting, “Come on, Linda, you gotta stay tough; into those envelopes stuff, stuff, stuff! Now fold it to the left; fold it to the right! Get this mailing out tonight! Bulk mail, postcards, yucky glue-do it for Jesus; He loves you! Go youth ministry! Yay!” (OK, Gospel Cheerleader Angel is a little over-the-top, but he can’t help it; he’s full of Spirit.)


1 comment:

Katie said...

oh mom. this was pretty good.