Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…

Soffit… Webster’s, “the underside of a part or member of a building.”

Soffits are not typically a topic of conversation. They are not a part of construction that typically captures one’s attention. They are the eaves for goodness’ sake. That is, unless you have just had your roof replaced, which of course means the fascia boards will need to be replaced, which means of course the plywood underneath will be found sufficiently rotted and need to be replaced, which means of course the gutters will no longer be sufficient… which is why God created HELOC loans (thank you, Lord).

Now this dandy new roof is prepared to shed water for years to come, keeping us all toasty and dry come winter, or summer, rains. That is, as long as the soffits get painted. All that new plywood hanging out beneath the eaves now stands out like a matronly African American Woman from an inner-city Baptist Church talking back to a Lutheran pastor during his Sunday sermon, “Umm ummm Preacher, don’t stop now. Preach it, we’ve got time. Ummm ummm!” (My experience… for another blog).

Anyway, much to our satisfaction, the professionals did their part and we are pleased. Now it is time for the amateur(s) to do their part… me (and me). Old paint chipped, scraped, and primed. New paint applied in awkward small places often from the top of an extended ladder (don’t bother to tell me why I should not be up a ladder… I’ve heard it all… it turns out God’s gift of HELOC has limits). My neighbor, who shall remain nameless (LeRoy), made some comment about the condition of my painting clothes which appeared to have something do with the amount of paint I wore as well as the generally frayed quality of my garments. I am considering forgiving him. At any rate, it is no small task scrubbing the paint off me at the end of a day.

I am comfortable in saying a professional would accomplish my efforts with a paint brush in a fifth of the time. And they would finish cleaner, with far fewer reasons to be wearing Band-Aids… ugh.

So, what does a soffit have in common with Jesus? Nothing!

Except to say that when Jesus got around to calling those who would take responsibility to share the Good News that the world had been saved (past tense), who did he call? Amateurs. Now, there is a place for the professionals, albeit a small place for us clergy/diaconal/shaman types. Yet, in the economy of God’s plan, we need to be regularly reminded that, according to Luther, authority for ministry is given by virtue of Baptism not ordination. Love is our credential for serving. When we love God with heart, mind, and soul, then even though our efforts might at times feel feeble, it is love that honors the labor. Even messy labor bears fruit.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them.
In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:16b-18

Your labors, born out of love for God and neighbor, will bear fruit. God doesn’t grade on neat (I wish that were true for my soffits). Stay out there! I am praying for you.

Thanks for loving in our Lord’s Name.

Pastor Tom