The Square Peg in the Congregation

A carpenter set out to build a home, a real labour of love which he knew he would keep working on forever as he would be continually improving it. As he set about framing out one of the rooms he reached into his box of pegs and pulled out a square one. The thing is the hole he needed a peg for was round and whilst he knew he could force that square peg into the round hole it would not only put strain on the peg but its sharp edges would put tension on the surrounding wood frame. So he placed the peg back in the box and found one which fitted the hole perfectly. As time passed by that square peg found some of his sharp edges being transformed as he mingled with the other pegs in the box, each one with their own unique bumps and edges also being shaped by the other pegs. Then one day the carpenter found himself with need for a square peg with a few rounded off edges to fill a unique hole and he found that square peg as it now fitted the gap perfectly.

Why am I talking about square pegs and round holes, well a little while back the church I attend had a service all about doing our bit in church and joining one of the teams such as those who set up for the service or serve refreshments afterwards. And the pastor asked me if I was considering joining a team, which I was as I thought maybe being part of the host team would help me meet more people in the church, something as an introvert I have struggled with. But the thing is that the more I thought about it the more I felt uneasy and the more I realised that it wasn’t the position for me right now, I was like that square peg. In fact I know if I had committed to that team I would have ended up dreading those Sunday’s when it was my turn to greet people with a smile and eventually it could have led to me dropping out of church.

But you see I did say “right now” because I know, like that square peg, every time I go to church one of those sharp edges is smoothed down a little by the fellowship and the word and maybe in the future I will slot in to the host team and not feel that it would become a source of dread. I might at the same time find myself also fitting another hole and so might be involved in youth work or doing the refreshments. You see the more time we spend with God and in fellowship with other Christians the more transformed we become which is why for any introvert who reads this and who is struggling with church I encourage you to keep on going. It might take time, maybe a year or more, but slowly things get easier and patience is key as you find yourself being transformed by your church family. The alternative is not going to church or having fellowship with other Christians which leaves you to be shaped by the world.

So you might wonder where a square peg with some edges being rounded off fits in. Well whilst a square peg can’t think I certainly can and I ask myself this simple question; what talent do I have, what can I do which feels so natural that I could do it all the time without getting tired and that I enjoy doing? Much to my surprise that is writing, it would probably surprise my English teacher as well as back when I was at school it didn’t feel like I had any sort of gift for writing. But that is what writing feels to me now, like it is a gift from God that can be used to serve the church and other Christians, some I might never meet who read what I post on this blog from the other side of the planet. Maybe for you that thing which feels like a gift is baking or gardening, maybe you have a real talent for doing accounts or organizing events. What ever that is which feels like it comes from God find a way to use it to serve others in the church.

But there is something else worth knowing about a peg in a wooden frame; over time that frame shifts, it expands, it suffers the stresses of other additions to that building and pegs can end up becoming loose, no longer fitting the hole they once fitted snugly. But that doesn’t mean that peg is no longer any good, it just means that maybe it needs replacing and used somewhere else where it might fit or it needs support from an extra peg next to it in the hole.

It is why I look back to my younger years when I was in church and was part of the behind the scenes team who did the sound and techie stuff as I know that whilst I might be able to help out now it would be temporarily as it isn’t where I would fit in properly now. As such it is worth keeping in mind that whilst you may find yourself with a gift which fits a particular purpose now it doesn’t mean that it will always be that way and we should be prepared that one day things might change and we find ourselves doing some thing else in the church.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work - 1 Corinthians 12:5-6
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work – 1 Corinthians 12:5-6

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