Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shelf Life

We are moving---yes, I know, we just moved.
Our landlord has decided to sell our house--yes, we had a one year lease and have only been here eight months.
He listed the house on Wednesday---yes, the housing market is really bad, so many houses are on the market for a long, long time.
It sold on Saturday and he got more than he asked for it----yes, we did do lots of work to fix it up.
And so we are moving---and yes, I hate moving!
As we begin the process of looking for a place to live, a place with a living room large enough to have home bible studies and a place that allows dogs, I have started going through cabinets, deciding what to take and what to throw away. During this process, I have found myself reading the labels---labels on toothpaste, sunscreen, ketchup and baking soda. Listed along with the ingredients is a date--the "best if used by" date. That date tells us what the shelf life is.
Wikipedia defines shelf life as the length of time perishable items are given before they are considered unsuitable.
I began thinking about Christians, and how many of us are content to simply sit on the pew (shelf) doing nothing. I recently asked a woman if she would be interested in teaching or co-teaching a Sunday school class---her response was "No, I did that before and I don't think I want to put that much preparation into Sunday morning." I was a little bit shocked at that response. I asked another woman who said she had taught when her children were young but had "grown beyond that kind of service". Amazing! I know those are not unique responses. I am sure you have heard similar excuses from men and women alike, who explain why they would rather not serve.
I am concerned that congregations are filled with members who prefer to sit on the shelf, (in the pew), unused and unwilling to be used. We know that we are indeed perishable---that we will all die and return to dust. We also know that God commands us and yes, even expects us, to be useful. We are to be a community of servants. That is our calling and our duty. We also believe that if we do not use our gifts, they will be taken from us and given to another.
And so, as I pack ---again, I wonder, "What is the shelf life of a Christian?"


Anonymous nb said...

Hey, you're back!

Sorry to hear about the move - not fun. :(

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Tucker said...

Sorry about moving, but at least you aren't moving because the pew sitters booted you out of town. Love your blog! You guys are welcome at Ogallala anytime, but you might find a pew sitter here too.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous -bill said...

What a bummer! Moving is so disruptive. I hope you are able to find the house you are looking for and get through the move quickly.

Shelf life? I get the point. But, I'm just wondering if God's Spirit is flowing through, will we ever be out-of-date? My dear wife's mother is 86 years young. Even though her health is failing, faith is vibrant and contagious.


7:48 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Moving? Hate it, but will probably be doing the same later this year. But another thought, why not ask Ned to candidate for this position so you can come back to Texas?


btw-and you too, Bill. :)

Shelf life? There are some of our congregations that have always been shelf sitters. Likewise, there have always been shelf-movers - maybe not all have a gift to teach a class [like yours truly] but have other gifts they exercise daily, maybe even more quietly, ergo go unnoticed. Unfortunately, the 80-20% applies to churches just as it does in all other organizations. 80% do the work while 20% complain about the way it's being done, but never lift a fingernail to help. In some cases, it can be a gift to the congregation that they ARE shelf-sitters. ;)
I echo NB's "Hey! you're back!" and am I glad too!!

9:58 AM  
Blogger AncientWanderer said...

Hey Welcome back.

I hate the moving part but I love to move. My wife and I have moved 17 times.

It sounds like God has some big plans for you for all those "negatives" to go "good" to get you out of that house.

I know deep down you're excited to see what He has in store for you.

Shelf life. I agree. I wonder what God does when He rummages through the pews of each congregation?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy to see you back on line, I've missed you!
About your moving, here's a tip; get yourself a 5th wheel and you will never have to pack again ;) I've thought the shelf life thing myself. Our time on this earth is so short compaired to eternity, and if we aren't moving forward spritualy then we are lost. Ther is an older hymn that isn't in any of the new books that
tels us we need to "work for the night is comming, work til the day is done"

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops! I sent the wrong copy. Anyway, see you in September. Take care of each other.
ps. I was serious about the 5th wheel!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Oh I am sorry!!! 8 months are just enough to feel and home and then to start all fresh again with having invested money, work and heart is not easy.

Wishing you a lot of strenght for the next time.

And thanks for the thoughtful words about shelf life. It is a good picture that I can keep in mind and think about.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between choosing a different kind of service and sitting on the shelf---IMO
I get very frustrated with pew sitters---do something! Do anything! Be God's message!
Great post Neva, sorry about the move!


7:27 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Thanks, NB
Tucker--we love it here and for every pew sitter there are 50+ good hard workers. We love the church in Ogallala too. My former brother in law just started worshipping there when he is in town and Bobby and Linda are some of our very favorites.
Bill--good point, I don't know that we ever go out of date, but I do believe we can sit around doing nothing so long that we stop producing fruit. Amazing that the more we work, the longer our "best if used by" date is.
Kathy my sister, we don't want to come back to Texas. We couldn't wait to get back to Nebraska--I love Texans but I am a Nebraskan at heart.
Don--it is kind of exciting but it would be cool to have everything unpacked before I move again. If you know what I mean.
CW--can't wait to see you, sorry we missed you last time you were here.
Rachel--you are so right! Anybody that is serving I don't consider a pew sitter---it is only those who do no service as if just showing up were encouragement enough!


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me sorry ya got to move!

you hit a chord with this post!


8:07 PM  
Anonymous Pat said...

Yuk! I hate moving! Sorry you get to have that experience so soon, but I know God will bless you wherever he puts you.

So glad you are back, I missed ya.


8:23 PM  
Anonymous Jarrod said...

Bummer about the move! But great post!


9:02 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I'll be praying for you as you prepare to move again.


5:24 AM  
Anonymous Georgian Peach said...

Oh my, moving is such an ordeal! I am so sorry and will most certainly pray for you. I am sure God has something great in store for the two of you.


5:43 PM  
Blogger Paula Harrington said...

Sounds like you and Ned were good luck for your landlord :)

7:57 PM  
Blogger AncientWanderer said...


9:49 AM  
Blogger AncientWanderer said...


9:50 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I want you to know you and your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
God will be with you.
I am thankful that God joins us on the ash-heap when we expereince difficult times.

10:17 AM  

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