Friday, April 30, 2010

The Dilemma of Keeping One's Word

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. - Matthew 9:36 (NLT)

Tomorrow is the 31st Annual Virginia Championship Chili Cook Off in downtown Roanoke.

For the past seven years, Living Water Christian Church has participated in some form.

It all started about eight years ago, when the Hatfield family was at the Cook Off and Paul said to us, "I would love for Living Water to be a part of this some year."  Way to think outside of the evangelism box, right?  So we started working on it, and became a fixture at the event back in 2003.  For the first five years, we cooked gallons of chili to be sampled by the masses.  Starting in 2005, we began providing a diaper changing station over in the Kids Fun Area where parents could find a clean changing table, free diapers, hand sanitizer and wipes - just an unexpected service to families who needed it.  A few years ago, we introduced helium balloons to the Chili Cook Off.  Well, last year, we couldn't find a chili cook able to take off Friday and Saturday from work to be able to cook the sheer volume of chili needed to be prepared for such an event (about 50 gallons).  So, we just set up the changing table service and the balloons.  Still, a great way to reach out to the community and show that we care about families (and that we're kind of fun to hang out with too).

I have come to believe very strongly in our participation in this event: we can trace three families in our church directly from the Chili Cook Off.  For the cost of the helium, balloons, T-shirts, giveaways, chili ingredients and man hours all those years, we have gained three families that we can't imagine doing life without at Living Water.  Three families who now know the love and grace of Jesus and are imparting that to their families, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  

This weekend is a busy one for Living Water.  About 10 guys are attending the Men's Retreat at Blue Ridge Christian Camp and one of my most dedicated set-up people is the point man for the retreat.  A bridal shower is being held tomorrow for one of my most dedicated balloon girls.  Her fiance's family has always been a big part of helping with the diaper changing station.

My daughter has two soccer games tomorrow, which I am going to miss because we aren't appropriately staffed for the event.  I'm faced with a huge dilemma.  Do I keep my word to Greenvale School, the organizers and beneficiaries of the Cook Off and be at the event with the two or three volunteers I can wrangle, or do I cancel the helium tank and go to my daughter's soccer games?

It's a dilemma further deepened by the knowledge that thousands of people will see our balloons, be blessed by the service to their families, and maybe consider church or Jesus for the first time.  Is God telling me he is not directing us toward this event this year, or is he wanting me to overcome the challenges that have been put in my path?  What should I do, friends?  What should I do?


josie said...

Your daughter will have many soccer games. It is good for children to know how vastly important they are to us. It is important for them to know that we care about what they care about. It is also important that they know sometimes we care about other things too. Even if this were not such an important event for the church, even if it were only an "interest" of yours, I would say go to it. Elisa will not be harmed because you miss two soccer games in one season and it is good for her to see that she is important, valuable, and that keeping your word is important and valuable.


devon said...

I agree with Josie. From what you've posted, it doesn't sound like you've made any particular promise to your daughter to attend her game. You have made a promise to be elsewhere. Keep the promise.

To be quite honest, I wouldn't see this as a dilemma at all. See it as a teaching opportunity. Tell her that you really, really want to go to her game (probably more than a chili cook-off!) but that sometimes we do things we don't want to because there's a higher purpose. If kids don't learn that from mom and dad, they're certainly not going to get it from anyone else.

Jamie Hatfield said...

Thanks Josie and Devon. Elisa will be just fine at the games without me, I know she will.
But I do have a bullheaded habit of plowing ahead with things even when it may be a superhuman feat for one person to do just because I said I'd do it, and it hasn't necessarily been the best thing in the end. So, I needed some objective observers. Thanks.

Katie said...


I know that we are one of the families that came to LWCC from this event. I wish I had known in January the dates for the event and I would have scheduled myself off to help. I know where you are coming are only one person and you do so very much. I say to follow your heart. If you feel like God is telling you to be there, then go and have faith that the help you need will show. If you feel like He is telling you to back off and spend the day with your kids, I think you should do it. I'll be praying for you.

Jamie Hatfield said...

Katie, I wouldn't have even considered asking you to take time off to help! I really appreciate you and that is part of my dilemma ... you wouldn't be a part of my life if it weren't for those balloons! Thank you for your prayers. That means so much to me.

Sara at Miller Moments: said...

Wow - so many facets to this! Here is my two cents' worth....

You said that Elisa will be fine at the game without you. Will the Chili event people miss your presence? Will it create a "hole" where your booth is supposed to be? I know that as our family has gotten in the tradition of attending specific festivals - we notice if a long-standing group is missing. Evangelism sometimes takes YEARS to produce perhaps THIS could be the year that Living Water has the most impact.

Now, on the other hand, I can tell by your posts that you and your hubs do A LOT for the church. Please don't take this the wrong way - but as one who has also seen our family spend MANY many hours investing in the kingdom at the expense of our KIDS, is it the best thing for you to go and work your tail off all on your own? I know that my personality is "if we signed up to do this commitment, I'll do whatever it takes to get it done - even if that means at my own personal expense." (physical exhaustion - throwing your back out and then needing a chiro, etc...) It's important to keep YOU in balance, and while it may be heartbreaking to you to say no to the event, it may be the best thing overall for your life.

I do not have an easy answer for you. It appears that your daughter is a "go-with-the-flow" kinda gal, so she'll most likely be OK. I love how Josie said that she'll have other games...she's right, she will...and it's OK if you're not at EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I will be praying for you and your decision. So thankful you were willing to share - it gives me lots to think about in my own life, as well!

God bless.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

You can't lose; both places are wonderful places to be. :) While I believe my first ministry is my family and kids, I also don't want them to think my world revolves around them...There have been several times when I couldn't be at "their" thing b/c I had a commitment elsewhere or was needed in a big capacity. I want them to know I love them, always want to be there, but the fact of the matter is I won't be able to be at EVERY single thing for EVERY one of my girls. They are always fine, and I think it is good for them to see their parents serving even when it isn't convenient. But I also have had a few times when I knew it REALLY mattered to the girls... you know your child best! :)

Chrys said...

Perhaps, you can set all the responsibility aside in your mind and really dig deep inside to figure out where your heart really leans and go with what you really want. As a mother of several, including 3 out of my nest, the time is so fleeting. For me personally, when I became a mom, I committed for the duration of their childhood years to be their biggest cheerleader in all the things they were a part of. I find nothing wrong with setting a boundary that in either decision that represents the standards you've set personally for your family. But, I will say that you are a wonderfully Godly woman and your children and the multitudes of people you come in contact with, know the servants heart and trustworthiness you possess.