Puzzle Pieces

My favorite rainy day activity was always putting together jigsaw puzzles. I’d dump the box on the table and begin by sorting the edges from the inside pieces. Next, I would separate by the image. Then, I would finally begin to put together the picture on the cover.

When you look at the pieces, they are all different. Although it would make the assembly quicker, puzzle pieces are not interchangeable. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error before you find exactly the right fit for each one.

Groups can be a lot like jigsaw puzzles. When you first gather all your pieces, it can be a little intimidating. How can you create a picture when everyone is so different? What is the correct order that will make everyone fit? But part of the mystery is realizing that each piece is different. Each person is coming with a different story, a different background, and at a different point in their walk with Christ. Learning their individual personalities, strengths, and weaknesses will only help you to lead them. Sometimes you’ll have a few struggles along the way as people work to break down walls and push themselves. That’s ok. Remember that sometimes a puzzle piece has to be turned over, flipped around, and sometimes it takes a few tries, but eventually, you figure it out together.

One key ingredient for putting together a puzzle is patience. I’ve had a lot more luck at assembling puzzles when I took my time and guided the pieces than when I just wanted them to fit where I thought they belonged, and I tried to cram them in angrily. Sometimes I’ve had to come back to a puzzle several times. Some days I had a lot more success than others. It’s a work in progress, but it does progress.

Have you ever gotten to the end of a jigsaw puzzle, only to find you are missing one piece? You’re so close to creating that masterpiece, but there it sits…incomplete. Make sure you make time every time you meet to invite God into your group. Because you don’t want your puzzle missing that vital piece that it needs to become a complete, beautiful picture. He is the most important piece in the whole box.