It’s a beautiful late spring day as I walk up the front walk of my house at 9 o’clock at night. It’s been a long day and as I draw near I can smell my wife baking through the kitchen windows open next to the front door. As I step in the smell is intoxicating. I follow my nose through the kitchen to the dining room where she stands laying muffins out to cool. There are dozens of them; pumpkin, blueberry, and lemon. Each one made from scratch. My mouth waters even now as I write. I wrap an arm around her waste and kiss her on the cheek. “You’re amazing, thank you” is all I have to say. I had asked her if she could make muffins for my youth group the next morning. She’s always willing, but this time was different. It was baccalaureate weekend for the seniors graduating from our school. She looks back at me with a tear in her eye. “I’m going to miss them” she says. I knew she had got closer to this class than years past, so I just smile and nod. She stands in silence holding a blueberry muffin in her hand like it’s a baby bird. She’s somewhere else now. “You know I pray for them” she says. Of course she prays for them I think. I pray for our students too. “I pray for every muffin. Every time I bake for the youth group I pray for each one.” Then it hits me as I realize there are 100 muffins sitting on the table. I may be the face of our youth group, but she’s the heart.
Over the years my wife has baked thousands of cookies and muffins for the youth group. It’s just a given. No one turns down an invitation to our house for lunch because they know if they hang around long enough there will be a batch of fresh cookies. We don’t put money in graduation cards, each card is redeemable for a dozen cookies whenever they like. It’s what my wife does and she doesn’t think twice about it. And until this weekend I didn’t realize the full extent to which those little medallions of goodness change my youth group. Each student who consumes cookies by the handful has had multiple prayers for them. Not a “God bless the youth group” prayer, a “God bless the person who finds this” prayer. Looking back at the countless times I’ve served muffins and cookies, I now realize those prayer filled pastries are the reason my youth group is as good as it is. More than all my crazy camping trips or youth rallies or sermons, it’s a little prayer whispered over a muffin.
I’m humbled. My wife is the widow with two mites who gave more than the richest ruler. She’s the tax collector quietly praying in the corner while I stand in the courtyard drawing attention to myself. She’ll never be up front giving speeches or leading a small group. She won’t spend the one on one time I do with students. She doesn’t need to. And she’s a better youth pastor than me because of it.