Last year my wife brought home a five hundred piece puzzle and placed the box on top of a chest we have in our family room. This chest is in front of our couch and serves as a coffee table of sorts. At first I didn’t think much of this puzzle box and thought maybe she bought the puzzle as a gift for someone. Amy does things like that. She is known to surprise friends and family with gifts; especially, when it comes to what I consider unique gifts like a puzzle. Well, I was wrong because the next day it was open and pieces were spread all over the top of the chest. Amy was sitting on the ottoman in front of the chest working on this puzzle. I thought to myself, what is she doing? Doesn’t she know that before you know it, we are going to end up with missing puzzle pieces everywhere …. under the sofa, under the chest and not to mention inside our vacuum when I go to vacuum the carpet. I can’t be searching for puzzle pieces every time I go to vacuum the carpet. I tried not to voice my opinion to Amy but I was bursting at the seams. “Amy, don’t you realize that we’re going to end up with puzzle pieces all over the house, not to mention, who’s going to retrieve them from the vacuum when they get sucked up?” I said. Amy laughed, “I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal about a puzzle. I thought that putting a puzzle together would be a relaxing and fun activity for our family to do.” Oh …” I said, on the outside but on the inside I thought, It might be fun for you and the girls, but not for me.
ALL IN GOOD TIME
I am sure some of you have heard the phrase, “All in good time.” Well, that’s just what happened to me. My wife patiently waited until I came around. She never got discouraged by my nay-saying and enjoyed working on this puzzle. One evening I decided to sit with Amy in the family room for a few minutes while she was working on her puzzle. We were having a conversation about the events our of our day, and without even realizing it, I started searching for pieces of the puzzle to put together. Before I knew it, I was knee deep in this puzzle and was actually enjoying myself. It didn’t stop there. I got hooked on this activity. I couldn’t wait to sit together with my wife and work on the puzzle. There were even nights that Amy would come looking for me at midnight and found me trying to finish one more section of the puzzle. I felt bad for ever giving my wife such a hard time in the first place. Of course, I didn’t say anything to Amy about what was going through my mind. I needed to take some time to myself and process it all.
I went to The Lord and asked, what was I thinking? Why had I been so resistant to this puzzle and what are you teaching me, Jesus? Here’s what The Lord gave me in just one word, COMMUNITY! That’s right; Jesus was using my wife to bring our family closer together with this puzzle. All too often we allow the cares of this world with all it’s technical gizmos to separate us and consume our time. We don’t even notice just how little interaction is taking place among our family. I was consumed with selfish desires; you know, the “me stuff.” How is this going to affect me in a negative way … and only me? I gave no thought to what it could build. I was only looking at what it could take away. Community is not something that just happens. It’s like Amy’s puzzle; you build it piece by piece, one by one, until you have the complete picture. Jesus was using this puzzle to draw my family closer together. It was not long before our two girls, Emma Grace and Ella, joined in on helping put the puzzle together. Or sometimes, they’d just park it in the family room to be around us while we worked on the puzzle and chatted. We enjoyed this activity so much that puzzles became a regular occurrence around our house.
This sense of community, didn’t stop with just our family, it extended to those who came into our home as well. I could give so many examples of how this simple activity, of putting out a puzzle, has brought about community in my home. Most recently we had friends over for dinner whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. After dinner we hung around the kitchen counter for desert and coffee. Soon my wife, my friend’s wife and my daughters were gathered in the family room, around the chest with the puzzle, talking. My older daughter was showing off all the cool things she could do on her Kindle. The wives laughed and marveled at the technological wisdom of a nine year old. Only able to take so much of the world of apps, the wives soon turned their attention to adult conversation as they slowing began putting small sections of this puzzle together. The next thing I know, the husband and I are pulling up seats and joining in the conversation. You see it really isn’t about the puzzle … It’s about the fellowship. The fellowship that should be at the heart of our families and the fellowship we should seek with other believers.
The author of the book of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. The Bible talks about this kind of community as love toward each other. We are to encourage each other through our acts of kindness, having a loving Spirit towards one another. I realize that this portion of scriptures deals with the assembly of the body of Christ which is the church, but the church was never intended to be a mere building made of cement and bricks but a living structure made up of living stones. If I have trouble coming together in fellowship with my immediate family, how is it possible for me to have the proper fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ? Fellowship and community should start in my home first and continue as extension towards others.
I have been so richly blessed by what The Lord has shown me through this puzzle experience and I have more to share with you next time. Get ready for this …
You are one of God’s puzzle pieces!