At the end of July, I spent 4 days in the Utah desert cooking and serving food for 270 people for a reenactment of Utah Mormon pioneers trekking west in the mid 1800’s. Trek, as it’s termed, is a thing in the west that youth groups do about every four years. Everyone dresses up as pioneers, pulls handcarts, camps, and lives the trek life for a few days.
It was not a thing when I was growing up so I never had the “trek experience.” I had heard about it, but never been asked to participate. Until this last April. I received a text asking if I’d be on the Trek food committee. I asked what that entailed and the reply was being at Trek and helping plan and prepare ahead of time. I asked and received the time off of work and sent my reply, “yes!”
I thought I was saying yes to getting time off work, helping to plan here and there, and then going to serve food. We had our first meeting and I realized I had said yes to a much bigger commitment. We didn’t just have to plan menus, we had to bring all the equipment we’d need to cook out on the prairie to feed 270 people. Everything would be done with propane powered grills and burners. We would be moving camp every day. We would also need to be wearing pioneer attire while we cooked. We were in charge of all snacks and treats at the Hoe Down. We had so many more meetings than I anticipated. We had a spreadsheet for everything from the menu to the budget to the equipment. We then had to get all the equipment donated and track the donations to return. We had to do all the shopping, organizing, and loading.
There were ten of us on the food committee. I didn’t know it, but I had said yes to feeling overwhelmed by how many details we had to figure out. We were all in agreement that we wanted to provide delicious food so we’d make much ahead of time so we’d just have to warm it. I didn’t know I’d said yes to many days of cooking on the weekends and then vacuum sealing all that food for 270 people. We made shredded chicken, pulled pork, spaghetti sauce, salsa, beans, and brownies.
Have you ever said yes to something not really knowing the full extent of what you had agreed to? My expectations are normally focused on the good things, the happy things, the end result. When I said yes to being baptized and being a disciple of Christ as an eight year old, I certainly didn’t understand the full commitment I was making. Discipleship requires much discipline as the etiology of the word suggests. It demands commitment even when the good and happy things are not on the horizon and are slow to come. Faith is found and strengthened by saying yes and stepping into the unknown.
We had a devotional for our committee the last night at Trek. One of the other trek leaders came and thanked us for all we did. She mentioned that many others had said no to being there. We laughed about not necessarily being the first choice or first called. It’ a big commitment and takes time away from work and family so logistically, not everyone can say yes. Perhaps others understood better what saying yes entailed.
Matthew 22:14 says “many are called, but few are chosen.” One thing I’ve learned about the price of discipleship is willingness or saying yes is more important than just about any other gift or talent. Thinking about my Trek experience and my discipleship of Christ, I think those that are chosen are those that are willing. They’re willing to say yes when called. They are “chosen” because they choose to say yes. Just as we don’t know all the hardships that may come when we say yes, we also do not know all the blessings and miracles that come.
I said yes to working with amazing people. I said yes to serving great kids. I said yes to the most frustrating part of everyday, which was finding enough tasks for the kids who were eager and willing to complete their cleaning assignments. I said yes to watching kids leave every comfort from home (and their phones!) to reenact pioneers pulling handcarts through rugged terrain. I don’t descend from any Mormon pioneers that walked to Utah, but I said yes to following after my parents and other leaders when I was a youth who also planned and prepared so I could have unique experiences, form friendships, and grow spiritually. I said yes to forming new friendships and inside jokes. I said yes to working so hard, I came home with swollen and sore hands. I said yes to laughing more than I thought possible while being so dirty and tired and no access to a shower or bath. I said yes to seeing so many unexpected miracles and mercies that we created a Google document for our committee to share them all. Saying yes to discipleship of Jesus is a call we continually choose and affirm.
Saying yes is a privilege. How have you been blessed by saying yes?