My fiancé told me about a team-building activity at a ladies retreat she recently attended. Each team of four had to make a bridge to cross a fairly large room using only what they had with them at the moment. They could use each item only once and they could not use any item of clothing that had protected the world from seeing their body from their necks to their knees. Off came coats, scarves, necklaces, watches, shoes, socks and even earrings (yep, some of those danglies covered a lot of territory).
There was a time limit and as people were running out of time and things to use, one member of the team that won went back and took the laces out of her tennis shoes to complete the bridge. OK, it may take me a long time to make this up to my girlfriend, but she said she’d thought of doing that but didn’t think the shoelaces would make much of a difference (keep in mind the earrings; also, I measured a pair of tennis shoelaces with a combined length of seven feet).
We often underestimate the value of things and even more so, people and abilities. Many times I’ve heard someone turn down an opportunity to serve because they didn’t feel adequate for the task. In Romans 12: 1-3, Paul says that when we offer ourselves to God, we’ll become transformed to recognize his will as pleasing. Part of that recognition is realizing that God gives us abilities and, while we’re not to think of ourselves too highly, we’re also not to think too lowly of ourselves (or others for that fact, 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27). Each of us has something through which God can accomplish great things (Philippians 2: 12, 13; Ephesians 3: 20, 21). That’s the very reason he gave us the abilities we have – to bring him glory on earth.
At Christmastime, we’re reminded of the great gift God gave through his son. Remember his humble beginnings – borrowing a bed from livestock, having no place of his own to lay his head throughout his life, and then even being buried in a borrowed tomb (Luke 2: 1-7; 9: 58; 24: 50-53). God used some seemingly insignificant things (a manger, two pieces of wood for the cross, and a hole in the ground) to bring about the redemption of humankind and he can use whatever talents he’s given us to bring about the redemption of at least one other person.
So, let’s not neglect our opportunity for salvation (Hebrews 2: 1-4; Ephesians 5: 15-17). Rather, as our proper response to God’s love shown in sending Jesus into the world, let’s give back what are rightfully his – our living selves and the abilities he’s given us never underestimating what he can do on a shoestring.
Now my next step is to see if I have the ability to make up with my fiancé. I’m looking forward to trying.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at