Life Lessons: Bucket Brigade – an Object Lesson
I am a visual learner. As a teacher, speaker, and preacher I will almost always use an object lesson if possible. That’s not original, but it does imitate the very best Teacher. Jesus often employed object lessons. Other than buckets, hands, and water, what do you see in the bucket brigade? I see a tool God chooses to use and you are part of it!
Life Lessons: See Eternity in the Temporary
The picture was taken as a team of ROW mission volunteers helped build a church. The brigade solved a problem: there was no water hose! Was the goal of the mission volunteers to leave home and form this bucket brigade. No. The goal was to mix cement, which requires water. Why mix the cement? To build the church – which was the reason the team was present in the first place.
Life Lessons: God’s Method is Key to Mission
The brigade in the picture was employed beause other options weren’t available. Every person understood their job was take a bucket from the person behind them and pass to the person in front of them. Simple, right? Everyone did that and enough water got to the barrel at the end for the cement crew to do their job.
Suppose someone in the brigade decided they didn’t like the attire of the person in front of them and refused to pass them a bucket. What would happen? The brigade would fail and the mission of building would stall. Suppose someone didn’t like their spot in the line and refused to take a bucket or pass one. What then? Same failing result. By now, you are probably ahead of me.
It may come as a surprise, but your church is that bucket brigade. And like the brigade, the success of the church’s mission of making disciples depends on each member doing his/her part. Why? There is no “direct feed” option. What’s that? The team could have had a water hose – a way to get water directly from the sourse to the mixing barrel. In its absence the brigade was formed. God, in His infinite widsom, has chosen to place you and me in the brigade. There’s no “water hose” available. Don’t think so?
Life Lessons: It’s not about the buckets!
In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructed Timothy to:
Entrust the Gospel to faithful men who will in turn entrust it to others.
That sounds like a bucket brigade! And in John 4, when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He said if one drinks of the water He offers:
From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.
We have a pattern going here! Let me add one more. Paul said in 2 Corinthians that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. He said we are Christ’s ambassadors. As such, we have His treasure:
Hidden in earthen vessels.
Those vessels are you and me – believers, redeemed sinnners. Some of the buckets in that brigade were small, some were larger, some were dirty, and others dirtier. Did it matter? NO! What was the point – the bucket or the water inside?
Sometimes God uses pastors and teachers to equip you and fill you. Sometimes he uses you to fill and equip others. He may use you to equip a ministry like this one. No matter whether you are receiving or being used to fill and equip, the point is you are always being poured out! And when or if you refuse to be emptied, the message of reconciliation ceases to go forth. And that is mission failure on a grand scale! That’s the installment of Life Lessons a bucket brigade can teach. Think about it!
Soli Deo Gloria!