Handprints and Hope

One of the most neglected aspects of our church’s first impression is our windows. Nobody enters the church without passing them and sometimes they are a mess! It’s not that we never clean, it’s just a never-ending job.

The doors have handles, but that requires aim and the glass is a much larger and more accessible target. I’m guilty of this, so I’m not throwing stones (although that would take care of cleaning the windows). Every week, several sets of telltale signs appear on the outside: the greasy nose-print and the cupped hands of curiosity. The kids from the restaurant in the food court are evidently still curious … even after looking in 4,362 times. Sometimes, I even clean lip prints off the glass. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Just before a recent event, we had cleaned all the noticeable marks off the glass. After the service, I spotted them: two distinct little handprints about a foot and half from the floor. I couldn’t help the feeling that came over me when I saw those smudges. The words just tumbled out in my head … “Thank you God for little hands.” Really! I found myself thanking God for little hands. Little hands that had been to church and then charged out into the world through our doors. I remember a time when people here scratched their heads as to why we were building a nursery and buying little chairs for kids we had yet to see. God has been so good in answering our hope … with little hands.

In this next year, I’m going to purpose to use every mark as a prompting for praise. I will be thankful for the people peering through our windows … maybe they’ll come in and find life in Christ. I’ll be thankful that the kids from the food court smile and wave when they see us inside. Their feeling about our church is positive. I don’t know how to thank God for people who kiss the windows … still working on that one. It’s not just the windows. I have and will continue to try and thank God every time I pick up a broom or a mop. Perpetually clean churches are perpetually empty churches … and they do exist. Thank God that’s not our problem.

The more God grows our fellowship, the more of these issues we’ll encounter. Wherever there is growth there will be costs and inconveniences and sacrifices. One of these days we may need to create some dust to enlarge our worship space. Whatever comes along in 2020 … let’s decide now to greet these challenges to our time and comfort with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving requires that we think of the good of others and not just ourselves.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4