Theatrical productions are put together in stages: casting, read through, character development, rehearsal, set build, tech, dress and run. Most of these phases also have component pieces they are broken into. With a set build for instance there is the design , the construction, painting and the final touch-ups which my sister calls “dits and fratz”.
“Dits and fratz” is the fine tuning of a set: Hanging curtains in fake windows, fluffing pillows, hanging pictures on the walls, you know, all the stuff that makes the suspension of disbelief easier for an audience.
Ditsing and fratzing is always the last part of set build. After all you can’t very well hang pictures on a wall that hasn’t yet been constructed can you?
Now I dits and fratz with the best of ’em. After all it doesn’t take much to dust an end table or fold a throw. Sometimes the crew will even let me slap a coat of paint on the wall once it’s up as long as it doesn’t have to look too pretty. That however is the limit of my set build ability. Set carpenters usually send me for the coffee or the pizza when it comes time to break out the power tools (maybe its the story about trying to install a toilet with a pipe cutter that gets to them).
My point is, I need the carpenters to do their work before I can dits or fratz. I have to wait for them to finish their job if I want my work to stand under the pain of scrutiny. I get that when it comes to building a set. So often I forget it when it comes to my Christianity.
Jesus said “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. ” John 15:3,4 NLT
Apart from Jesus I can do nothing! Oh, how I want to deny the fact that all my work…my “very important” ministry is essentially just dits and fratz in the scheme of kingdom building. I want to be noticed. I want people to applaud me. I want the credit. So I start ditsing and fratzing before God even comes up with a design for the stage.
I tell God how I’ve got it all figured out. I start hanging my event posters and setting up chairs for my “awesome” ministry programs thinking that the work is the point. I forget that God hasn’t even started giving directions for the set build never mind a solid foundation of anointing for the ministry to hang on.
I was meditating on these verses this morning when God whispered in my ear “This is the point. This is the most effective place of ministry. Much of your work is just a context for you to pray in. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Man what a heavy revvy! Most of my years as a minister I have considered prayer the thing you do so that the really important ministry work can be blessed of God. Now I am beginning to see that the ministry work is the thing I do so that the really important prayers can be directed and lifted up to God!
I am not negating the importance of a minister’s labor. Preaching, charity, visitation is all necessary. Yet I have done the job long enough to know that in and of themselves these things are just dits and fratz helping people with a temporary suspension of disbelief. When God gets involved through the prayers of one of his saints, though, disbelief goes out the window all together and lives are changed for eternity.
I’d say its time for less ditsing and fratzing. I’m off to pray!