Story telling is an important part of our communicating the miracle of Christmas. Recently I heard one of our state missionaries, Jim Misloski, tell a unique story using a bungie cord. I asked him where he got the story? He said his wife Paula came up with it. I asked Paula to tell her story.
As the Christmas holiday season approached, their pastor asked if she would consider gathering and leading an adult Christmas program. She said, “Ha, I had participated in many “cantatas” over the years, but had never led one. For 25 years, my sister was a church choir director. I knew what she did and knew I couldn’t do it.”
Then Paula told the rest of the story, she agreed to give it a try, announced the plan, picked a musical and prepared rehearsal tapes for anyone that would join the group. “I was hoping for a mixed ensemble (8-12 people) that could present a madrigal style of worship experience. Instead, we had about 40 people join the choir. I was shocked and humbled!”
At the first rehearsal, “I let these brave individuals know my limitations. I asked that they join me in preparing something that would not be a Christmas performance, but instead lead the congregation and guests in a Christmas worship experience.”
According to Paula, after several weeks of laughter-filled rehearsals, and many hours of members listening to rehearsal tapes to memorize the entire program, the event was a hit! It was a wonderful Christmas worship experience, not only for those in the audience, but most meaningful for those in the choir.
To say “thank you,” she made a quick trip to Wal-Mart on the day of the final rehearsal. She picked up a tub of 40 assorted bungie cords. “Out of a grateful heart, the Lord gave me this “thank you” for the precious individuals that had partnered with me to bring our church the gift of music.”
• Bungie cords are often associated with bungie-jumping – She told the group “thank you” for jumping off the bridge into the unknown of allowing a novice to lead the choir. It was truly a leap of faith. (Reaching for Peter’s hand, Jesus said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matt. 14:31). You may think a small cord will not suffice but it has a way of doing more than you think it would do. We are gifted and equipped for the context God has for us.
• Bungie cords (at least the ones she was presenting to them) were many colors and sizes – “I was so thankful that God brought a diverse group of ages and abilities together, enough for a full sounding choir. Everyone brought their own gifts and style to our group.” (There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. I Cor. 12:4-6) Our Lord knows how unique we all are. We need each other’s giftedness. We need the diversities of our family origins. One day, people from every nation, every tribe and every language will join the choir of the Lord. (Rev. 14:6). You suppose we need to start now learning to celebrate our differences and unique-nesses of race, languages, economics, family backgrounds?
• Bungie cords can stretch beyond what you expect – everyone had pushed themselves to memorize the music, and learn things on short-notice. “All of us agreed that we had accomplished something we didn’t think we could do,” Paula said. (Jesus looked at his disciples and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26). Our Lord loves to stretch His people toward His purposes and not their own way. How is God stretching your faith?
• Bungie cords are most helpful when they link together to hold something in place – “This group of people had learned to rely on one another, work together as a group and stayed faithful to our plan. We were stronger together, than any one of us was on our own,” reported Paula. (Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:12). It is the Lord’s design that His people work together to accomplish His purposes.
• Bungie cords each have a J-shaped hook on each end –Paula focused, “This reminds us of why we did the Christmas presentation. It is at all about – JESUS!” (Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:9-11)
• Bungie cords, when the end is inverted, the hook on the Bungie cord becomes a shepherd’s hook representing the call to care for and shepherd His flock and those around us. (I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11). Jesus is the shepherd of our souls. No matter what you are facing in this life, Jesus is with you and cares for you.
Maybe you have used this object lesson and have some contributing ideas. But don’t lose the object of the lesson. Look beyond the Christmas trappings, the object must remain King Jesus!
Tell the world about our Jesus
Make a generous gift to Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions through your local church. The new IMB president Paul Chitwood is appealing to Missouri Southern Baptists. He writes:
“As you know, the greatest source of funding for the overseas Great Commission work of Southern Baptists is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This year’s offering goal is $160 million, and your missionaries need your help if we’re going to get anywhere close to that amount. I’m boldly asking God for our biggest offering this year.
If we get the message out and keep it before our people, I believe Southern Baptists will respond to His voice and pray and give. On behalf of our missionaries and a lost world, thank you for your partnership in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.”