But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own…1 Peter 2:9
I came across a story a couple of weeks ago and it was a good one! It was one of those stories that sticks with you and applies to lots of different things. I found the story in a Lenten reflection book written by F. Joe Kempf and I decided all of you needed to read it too.
When Thomas Edison was working on improving his first light bulb, he handed the finished bulb to a young helper, who nervously and slowly carried it upstairs, but near the top step he dropped and shattered it. After a moment of horrified silence, the whole team set back to work. It took them 24 more hours of hard work to make another bulb. When it was finished they needed someone to take it upstairs again, Edison looked around, found the same boy and handed the new bulb to him to do the job. Edison knew that something more important than the bulb was at stake.
I think one of the reasons I love this story is because it so clearly illustrates trust, mercy, forgiveness and unselfishness. It made me think of all the things I fuss about. It made me think about all the things I take so seriously. It made me think of all the things I think I have to be in charge of myself. It made me think of all the silly things I believe are so valuable. But the biggie…it made me realize how easy it should be to give second chances and how grateful I am that God is so good at giving them again and again.
The invention of the light bulb was a pretty big stinkin deal for heaven sakes but Mr. Edison realized the human spirit was far more valuable! The whole story makes me think about how I treat others and what I truly value. It makes me think of some advice I got as a young teacher; people are ALWAYS more important than paper and stuff. Maybe this Monday morning short post can be a reminder to us all.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of your top 5 priorities…do they match the way you balance your time and attitude? Make someone feel important today!
Blessings on your day!
…but the Lord was not in the wind…but the Lord was not in the earthquake…but the Lord was not in the fire…then there was a tiny whisper… 1 Kings 19:11-12
I have chosen a noisy profession. I spend each day with 260 kids and the moments of silence in our building are few and far between. While it makes me crazy at times, it really is one of the things I love about my job. I love to hear the kids talk, laugh, think out loud and I love listening to them pray and read Scripture. When I was a kid I remember my mom saying, “Ok kids, zip it! You’re so loud I can’t hear myself think!” I used to think that was so weird but now that I’m older and my ears are getting tired I completely understand what she meant!
Today is a snow day and I’m the only one home and it is so quiet! It’s so quiet in fact I sat in my prayer chair for an extra hour and it vanished like a minute. I learned something this week about this story from the first book of Kings. I had another post planned for today but things changed course as I enjoyed my hot coffee and quiet morning. God used a little boy this week to teach me how to hear his tiny whisper so he could answer a prayer.
We live in a world of noise, and God is waiting for us to quiet ourselves and listen to him but a kindergartener taught me this week that quieting ourselves means more than turning down the volume and zipping our lips. The kind of still God is asking involves not just our ears but also our mind and our heart. I’m one of those folks who have a really hard time turning off the world and its distractions. It seems like no matter how hard I try to sit still and be quiet, I still have thoughts bouncing in my mind like jumping monkeys. Sometimes I feel like the wind and the earthquake and the fire are all happening in my mind at one time. I think some days I try so darn hard to make it all quiet I end up adding a roaring freight train to all the other noise. During Lent it has been one of my goals to get better at hearing the tiny voice amidst the noise. I was at Mass Saturday evening and right before Communion I was praying that God would help me hear his tiny whisper. As I was praying, this beautiful little kindergarten boy who was sitting right in the pew in front of me was on his way up to the altar. His older brother who is one of my middle lovelies offered me the sign of peace on the way by and then his little brother did the same but then he turned back around, crawled up in the pew and gave me a giant hug. My heart was so full! On Monday I was heading to the office in a panic over something I forgot to take care of and this same little guy popped out of his classroom and came at me open armed with a giant hug. Not a word was spoken but I physically felt all the tension melt as I finished my walk to the office. At the end of the day I held open the doors so the kids could head to the bus and this same little guy rushed out toward the bus then doubled back and gave me a hug and showed me his wiggly tooth.
I’ve been praying about a big decision for a few weeks and really trying to hear God’s response to my prayer. It’s that time of year when we sign our letters of intent for next year and I was battling to decide whether God was calling me to stay in the classroom or whether he was inviting me to do full time ministry and writing. I was waiting for clarity amidst the fire, wind and earthquake but I just couldn’t find his will. I shared my dilemma with my principal and asked him to pray as well. I prayed that God would give me one swift sign so I could move on. That very next morning I was again walking through the halls, thoughts and tasks furiously rushing through my head and this little guy again appeared in the hallway and gave me a giant hug. This time he squeezed a little tighter and smiled a little bigger. That was the quiet whisper I’d been asking for. I realized that morning I hadn’t been listening the right way. As I looked back over the week, each time that little guy had given me a hug it had been so out of the blue and such a sweet surprise that time almost stood still. I realized that each time he had given me a hug I stopped thinking, worrying, rushing, fretting and planning. Each time he wrapped his little arms around me I felt such peace! I realized that once again God had used a child to show his love and grant his grace. Each hug made me pause and as I reflected on those brief pauses God’s whisper spoke to me and said; stay, rest here for a while longer.
What a week! We often hear that God cannot be outdone in generosity and love. He could have done a dozen different things to answer my prayers but he chose an adorable little boy with a wiggly tooth who gives world class hugs to soften my heart and open my ears to the quiet whisper of his will. The next time I’m trying to quiet the wind, fire and earthquakes that rage on around me I will remember those sweet hugs at the perfect time, then imagine the Father himself wrapping me in his embrace and I’ll let the world evaporate around me. Thank you Lord for the perfect example, image and answer to my prayer.
A Seed To Plant: Use this passage from 1 Kings to settle yourself in prayer and ask to hear his tiny whisper today.
Blessings on your day!
Just so, your light must shine before others, so they may see the good that you do and give glory to God. Matthew 5:16
I got stuck in a long grocery store line not long ago behind a couple folks who were apparently old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. After the preliminary catch up, they began to carry on about the economy, government, gas prices, insurance costs and even proclaim that the human spirit wasn’t worth much anymore. One of the gentlemen talked about how hard it was to even get out of bed and deal with it all. The other man agreed and said he was glad he never brought children into this disastrous world. I nearly bit a hole right through my tongue trying not to jump in and point out a hundred places to find joy. I decided the better thing to do while I was standing there was to pray for them because I was afraid if I didn’t; the gloom would choke me to death before I paid for my bananas!
We can find most things we’re after if we just look hard enough. That includes good and bad stuff. The two men in the grocery store certainly had a radar lock on the bad stuff! I suppose there was some truth to their words but dad gum it, if the bad stuff is all you’re looking for, that will end up being all you see and pretty soon it clouds your vision completely. I live in the same world they were talking about but I’ve seen some pretty great stuff lately that trumps the bad stuff. I think it depends on where you’re looking and how your perspective is adjusted. Earlier this month at a school fundraising event, a couple hundred people opened their wallets and handed over more than twenty-five thousand dollars in a matter of minutes to make some necessary upgrades to the school. Just this week, I learned about a couple who donated all the milk and butter for a community fundraiser breakfast. Two weeks ago the middle lovelies and their families raised over $1,300 in 4 days to give to a young woman on her way to Haiti to do some mission work. She was able to place every penny into the hands of the priest and nuns caring for some of Haiti’s poor. I also recently heard a story about a woman whose husband was very sick and she mailed the car payment only to have the check returned with a note saying the balance on her vehicle had been paid. These are just a few examples of God’s goodness in the past couple weeks. It happens all the time…all over the country! Generosity is a beautiful and God inspired thing. You’ll be amazed how many times you see it when you begin to look for it.
The magic of this verse from Matthews Gospel is in the intention of the generosity and good works. The purpose of these words is to remind us that our goal in being generous and compassionate is to give glory to God not to ourselves. It’s not nearly as impressive or “Christ-like” when people feel the need to announce the good they do. That whole “toot your own horn” thing isn’t cool. What I love is when someone does a great good or beautiful service as a way to thank and praise the God who has blessed them. There is a lot of darkness in our world but we are called in this Gospel reading to be Christ’s light of goodness to those in need. See, the thing about light, it never touches just one thing…it spreads! The antidote to the gloom and darkness the men in the grocery store were talking about is the light of Christ and his goodness and kindness. Look around and see where you could spread a little of that light and compassion. The good that you do doesn’t have to be huge or costly, simple and sincere is just as powerful. Ask God to point out someone who could use a little “good light” in their life and then share a gift of time or talent with them as a way to give Glory to the Father. I guarantee your heart will be as bright as a sunny spring day if you praise Him in this way. We have to take some time to train our eyes to look for the light and goodness that surrounds us and if we can't see it, then it's our job to create it.
A Seed To Plant: Jot down the names of three people who are going through a tough time right now. Think of a simple “good” you can do for each of them. The second part of your homework is to make a list of all the “good things” you witness for a week.
Blessings on your day!
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