Fishers UMC Blog

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A Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

As we begin this new year of 2017 our Church Council has created a new Vision Team to help us look intentionally and very carefully at where God is leading Fishers United Methodist Church for the next five or more years and we’re excited!  The process may take some time as we seek to do this right.   Our community and congregation continue to change and grow and we must realign our priorities to be sure we are offering what our changing mission field of Fishers & surrounding community needs.  We will look at our current ministries and priorities and see if there are areas we need to build up and maybe even shift away from if they are not meeting our objectives for impacting our community.  We will dig deep into demographic information and studies to get a clear picture of the people we hope to serve for the sake of Christ; as well as understanding who we as a church are today and will become over the next five years.  Lots of things to think about and so much to do as we start a new year seeking to honor and glorify God in all we do as a church!  So it’s even more important that we keep our focus sharp as we prioritize our lives to be sure we have things in the right perspective and, at the same time, be sure we keep our lives in balance so we can not only maintain our sanity but thrive through what will be an incredibly busy and exhaustive process.  The story I’m about to share may be familiar to you – it’s been around the internet in various versions but I think it is worth sharing.  Sorry, I don’t know the author.  I think you will find it worth the read:  

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.  The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."  The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.  The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."  

Anyone want a cup of coffee?  I’m buying……  2017 is on me!

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Pastor Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
Posted by Kevin McKinney with

“Thank You” The Oil Can of Living

Recently I have seen 2 commercials for the same company [can’t remember the product – guess that wouldn’t please the advertisers].  Both ads feature a conversation between 2 people that begins to go terribly wrong.  In one, a woman confronts her “boyfriend” at dinner in a fancy restaurant about his fear of commitment after their long dating relationship and wants to know if he will ever propose.  In the other, two women are chatting while inspecting melons in the produce aisle of the grocery store.  Woman #1 asks woman #2 when the baby is due to which the second replies, “What baby?”  Both the man in the first ad and Woman #1 in the second ad panic and then try to deflect the woundedness of the person to whom he/she was speaking by saying hesitantly, “……Thank You?”  After a moment of real bafflement and confusion both the young woman in the restaurant and woman #2 in the grocery story become emotional – overwhelmed that someone was thanking them for something – for anything!  The hurt and frustration just seconds earlier are replaced by smiles and tears of appreciation……..

The scenes are laughable, to be sure.  If only it were that easy to get out of a jam when confronted or to remove one’s foot from one’s mouth!  [Been there, done that and I never got away that easily!]  For me, the ads worked in that the message was the power of gratitude and the company paying for the ad was saying “Thank You” to its customers [now if only I could remember who was thanking me and for using what product].

But there is a point to be made here, I think.  We live in a “grace-less” age where people see people as objects and the graciousness of civility is being lost, let alone the ability to value one another.  People are so hungry for validation and affirmation that even something as simple as a “Thank You” really can move them to tears.  As this hunger goes on unfulfilled we often respond negatively – some withdraw into a self-imposed loneliness believing we are not accepted and, we think, rightly so for we are not worthy of acceptance and affirmation; others become ill-tempered and lash out at those around them.  Neither response allows for health and wholeness needed for real redemptive community.  So what do we do about it?

There was an old man who went around carrying an oil can, and whenever he went through a door that creaked, he would pour a little oil on the hinges.  If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch.  It seemed that it was his mission in life to take the squeak and squawk out of things, and to make it a little easier for those who came after him.  People called him eccentric, of course.  They said he was more than a little batty.  But he went merrily on, refilling his oil can when it became empty, and oiling the hard places in life. 

You know, there really are hard places in life.  We come upon them unexpectedly – in fact, one or more of you reading this article is in the middle of one right now – the hinges are groaning and the latches are nearly frozen with rust.  When we find ourselves, or come upon others, in a situation like that what we need is a little lubrication with what Isaiah calls in chapter 61, verse 4 the oil of joy or gladness.  Take minute to read Isaiah 61:1-4 – it is the scripture Jesus read in the synagogue as his call to ministry: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord….To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness…that He [the Lord] may be glorified.”

As we come upon the season of Thanksgiving what is God calling you to be about in your relationships?  For the next 24 hours try to really see the people around you – are they weary? Worn? Sad? Lonely? Isolated?  Ill-tempered?  Can you hear their hinges creaking or see them struggling against frozen latches?  What can you do about it?  What will you do about it?  Maybe something as simple as…..“Thank You.”

… where did I put my oil can?

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
Posted by Kevin McKinney with