Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I like to "do" events. I enjoy the planning and preparation, but I mostly enjoy watching memories being made. I have been "doing" events since I was in my teens. School dances, talent shows, a high-school homecoming parade that actually shut down streets (with city permission). Now it's parties, auctions, banquets, weddings.  I looked back at some of the things I helped to organize and develop and I finally came to the conclusion that doing these events is a result of my spiritual gift of administration, not hospitality.

Because if it were hospitality I think I would be smiling at them more than I am. When the thing is underway, whatever it is, I am usually making my rounds to ensure that there is plenty of food and the beverage containers are full, trash is picked up, and no one is trapped by some of the complicated decorations (which happened once at a western event with prop fences and rope). I am also making sure that the amazing people - mostly my husband - who are there to help me haven't abandoned me, finally being pushed over the edge at the request of "can this table go away?" or, even worse, " I need that table back!"

Most recently I was part of planning and hosting a birthday party for a friend. A friend who also plans events. No pressure there. The party wasn't going to be a surprise, but I wanted to add something that would bring a smile to her face; something that would cause her to know that I had given her event an extra touch. Since the theme was "Winter Wonderland" I decided to throw in a white chocolate fountain. Fruit, cake, pretzels all coated in smooth, creamy white chocolate cascading down and landing in a pool surrounded by strawberries. Yum.

Now let me say that I have a true love/hate relationship with the chocolate fountain that our ministry has. It takes forever to warm up, has user-unfriendly buttons, and is...very functional-looking. But anything that streams melted chocolate can't be all bad.
Or can it?

At the appropriate time I constructed the beast and placed it in the center of the table that was solely dedicated to it. Featured, even. I added the chocolate pieces and tried to remember which button to press to heat the warmer. This machine, in addition to having non-descript buttons, also has a mechanism that causes them to blink. The trick is to remember whether they are blinking because they are READY or because they are NOT. Or because it is about to blow chocolate all over the table. That happens too. Really.

Now you may be thinking that I should just refer to the instructions. I would had they not been discarded years ago. Years.

I went about my business of preparing the treats to dip, checking the other food items I was responsible for, and enjoying the company of the ladies who had worked harder than I had and had decorated the room beautifully. We were very busy and time was racing by.

And the chocolate was actually melting! I had pressed the right button- Winter Wonderland indeed! The next step was to press another button to allow the chocolate to...flow up. Nothing happened. I stirred, melted more, did some pre-melting, added a little oil. Nothing. No flow. No matter what I did, I could not make the chocolate come up from deep inside the machine and emerge at the top, to flow down the sides. It was, most certainly, NOT going to be the lovely focal point of the room. Instead of oohs and aahs  this area was now just another food station.

Not to let the idea become a total failure (for no other reason than to NEVER WASTE CHOCOLATE),  I used a spare crock pot (yes, I had a spare crock pot) and it became the White Chocolate Fondue Experience. It was...okay. It served a purpose and it was still, after all, melted chocolate. But the effect was just not the same and I doubted it would bring a smile to her face and be the blessing I was hoping for.

During the cleanup process, and packing the beast back up, I noticed a false bottom in the box. There, under the cardboard was a long, gray piece of spiral-shaped plastic. The coil. The coil! THE COIL!!!!!

I had forgotten to put the one piece in the center that made the chocolate go from the very bottom of the pan to the top of the fountain. Without this key center piece, the solid that had now become moldable, pourable liquid could not perform how it was expected to. It had to be pulled upward in order to flow down. In order to be what it was supposed to be, the very center had to be just right.

So it is with us, dear friends. When we do not have Christ as our center, our core, we cannot flourish. Even as prepared and ready and moldable as we are, we cannot "pour out" until He is central and is pulling us upward.

Make sure you are completely constructed in Him and then be ready for His love to cascade down around you in a sweet, warm, and glorious way.

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