I told you that my wife, Christy, was going to Essex Village yesterday to work with some children who are having trouble learning to read. I didn’t tell you that she was taking nearly 300 children’s books with her, part of the bounty she gleaned from the library book sale at St. Michael’s Episcopal School (where she teaches kindergarten).
She realized she was going to need some help getting the books into the building at Essex Village and putting together the bookcases she had bought at Target, but she didn’t know that there were some willing and able volunteers just waiting for something to do.
That’s where the picture comes in.
I recognize Glen Scott as one of those willing and able volunteers, and it doesn’t surprise me. Glen is one of our most faithful members at First Baptist, and seems to be willing and able to do almost anything that will help. I didn’t know he was going to be at Essex Village yesterday and neither did Christy, but he was one of the first to volunteer. The other two Christy identified as Mr. Roy, a teacher who was helping his wife with the program at Essex Village, and a young man named Eric.
But look at what’s happening here: these three men are working together to build a bookshelf. They’re doing it simply because it needed to be done and they were willing and able. But look at what else is happening: they are so focused on their mission that they probably haven’t taken time to ask if they all believe the same things; it seems obvious that they haven’t set up any racial boundaries; they may not be aware that they’re doing this because Ms. Somerville is trying to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, by helping little children learn to read. They’re just building a bookshelf.
They’re focused on the mission.
It’s when we’re not focused on the mission that we begin to divide ourselves along social and racial and doctrinal lines. That’s when we start insisting that everyone look the same way and think the same way and believe the same way. But when the mission is clear and the cause is just we can simply put our shoulders to the wheel and push. And when we achieve our mission—even if it’s only getting a bookshelf built—we can celebrate. Or, as one of Christy’s children’s books might sum it up:
The more we work together the happier we’ll be.