Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…” Matthew 19:14
I saw this adorable little boy at the fair this week. His mom and grandma told me he couldn’t stop talking about all the animals. It was apparent that he was having a good time being at the fair but he stood on the edge of the pavement farthest away from the barn. I was trying to invite him closer so I could let him pet Shannon’s steer but he just gripped grandma’s hand tightly and shook his head. His mom gave me the scoop and said he liked all the animals but he was not about to go anywhere near one. I guess we could call him a distant admirer! We all shared a laugh and they headed off to see the chickens and rabbits hoping they wouldn’t be as intimidating for the little guy.
As I thought about this little boy throughout the day I realized sometimes we behave exactly the same way in our Christian walk! We say we like it, we act interested, we want to be a part of it but are we willing to go all in and walk up close enough to completely embrace it? The little guy was genuinely afraid and overwhelmed. He was sure his spot across the pavement was good enough but I wondered how much more he would have enjoyed his day at the fair if he’d been able to run his little fingers through fluffy fur or get close enough to touch a pig’s curly tail. His experience could have been so much richer…if he had been ready. The whole situation is pretty understandable since he was so young but how about us? He wasn’t ready…are we?
There is a big difference between being a Christian and living as a Christian. Living the faith takes a lot more courage and intention than simply professing it but the rewards are so much richer! I wonder what keeps us from diving in completely. Are we afraid of what we might have to change? Are we worried about what others might think or say? Are we unwilling to set aside the time to pray and worship? Or are we like the little boy at the fair…just overwhelmed and not ready to take that first big step.
Here is the really good news; all we have to do is make the decision and take the first step. It all starts with our heart…invite Jesus in and ask him to be in charge of every detail of your day and he will do the rest. If you’re like that little boy clear across the pavement, take the first step and he will come the rest of the way to you. That little guy would have had more fun at the fair if he had gone all in and the same can be said for us…life would be so much richer, blessed and fun if we would just go all in.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of the things that keep you from going all in then pray over that list and ask God to show you how to navigate around those obstacles so you can get closer.
Blessings on your day!
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you…John 15:16
Well, here we are beginning the last week of July and for the past 14 years that has meant one very important thing…time for the Clinton County Fair! It has always been the highlight and hallmark of summer. I can’t even remember how many animals and projects we’ve hauled to the fair over the past 14 years but the number is a big one. The number that isn’t big however is the number of times we’ve come home with the “Grand Champion” prize ribbon. In all the years with all the projects I can remember only one Grand and 2 or 3 Reserve Grand ribbons, yet the kids go back year after year and love it! When I look around the fair grounds and see the couple hundred kids who come to the fair, all hoping to get chosen “Grand Champion”, it’s a hope but not necessarily the purpose.
There are a lot of lessons and humility building at the fair. I remember standing in line with Shannon one year to have her sewing project judged. She was 10 and the outfit so proudly clutched in her little hands was beautiful but riddled with novice mistakes and flaws. She was so excited to present the judge her work…until a “big girl” took her place in line behind her holding the most gorgeous prom gown I had ever seen. It looked like something a Disney princess would wear. Shannon looked at that gown and then down at her outfit and her head drooped just a wee little bit. That 17 year old 4-Her, not missing a beat, bent down and asked Shannon if she could get a better look at her pretty yellow outfit. At that point I just stood back and watched the “fair magic” unravel. They went on to have a happy chat about first projects and practicing and all the things that make someone good at something. I have great memories of lots of frustrated and often tearful kids sitting on the bench in the barn after realizing that animal that looked magnificent in their barn, didn’t get chosen because it didn’t look quite as magnificent as the one somebody else brought. One year a neighbor girl with a naughty steer said through tears, “It’s just too hard!” I smiled and replied “That’s what makes being here so great, if it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it! It’s really about having the courage and drive to be here, not about being chosen as the best.”
Thank goodness being a child of God isn’t like competing for the Grand Champion ribbon at the County Fair! We don’t have to worry about everything being perfect to be chosen. We don’t have to size up the competition and worry about being chosen the judges favorite. In every event or category at the fair there is only one chosen by the judge…we are loved by a God who chose us and what’s more, He picked us first so we know He wants us for his own. We are his “pearl of great price!” Even though we’ve been chosen, living a life as God’s chosen is much better if we all take a lesson or two from the fair. Life is just better if we encourage each other like the big girl in the sewing line. Life is just better if we don’t compare ourselves and our talents with those of others. Life is just better if we realize it’s about the drive, courage and hard work. Sometimes life is a team sport and it’s a good idea to remember that the teammate you stop to lend a helping hand to is also chosen by the same God who loves you and that gives them great value. I suppose as we load up the stuff and head to the fair we’d all do well to remember the one Grand Champion prize that matters…heaven.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of three things you can start doing this week to remind yourself that the competition is over…you won…you have been chosen!
Blessings on your day!
Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14
Wait is not my favorite word! I’m more of a GO kind of girl rather than a WAIT kind of girl! I saw a great quote the other day that said “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for.” It made me stop a while and think about my posture and attitude while waiting, needless to say, I didn’t really like what I discovered about myself. The last post I wrote was about patience, this quote appeared on my Facebook newsfeed and then I “stumbled” across this verse from Psalm 27 that contains the word WAIT twice…out of only twelve words total! Think there is a message there? I’m passing it along to all of you today and I sure hope I’m not the only one who needs it!
After God was done whapping me upside the head, I had to stop and figure out what I was waiting for. As I began to make my list, I realized some of the things were pretty silly. When I thought about how much I actually valued some of the things on my list I understood why waiting is hard. Most of the things on my list weren’t important enough to wait for or really even wish for so I crossed all those off the list. When it boiled down to the bottom of the pot here’s what I learned; the only thing on my list really worth waiting patiently, courageously and stoutheartedly for…is meeting Jesus. Most of the stuff on my list, like Godly spouses for my children or happy retirement will just come in Gods own time, but Heaven…that’s the one I need to focus on. I suppose if my focus is really truly there every day, everything else will be just as God desires…in his time…for his purpose and in his ultimate perfection. As I came to this conclusion my peace was interrupted by panic when I thought, what if God doesn’t give me what I’m waiting for? Then my heart answered my mind as only God can instruct it to and I heard; if he doesn’t give me what I’m waiting for, that means he’s got something better…just wait and see!
Here’s another thought I have about waiting, it isn’t work. It doesn’t require great effort like scrubbing the porch or organizing the office files or losing 40 pounds. (All silly things I’ve been waiting for…I told you there was some silly stuff on my list!) If we truly live the words of this verse from Psalm 27 our lives will get instantly calmer, more peaceful and much easier. I’d like to end this post with a passage from Jim Beckman’s book God Help Me, “Think of the image of a sailboat. The boat doesn’t do anything burdensome to respond to the wind in its sails – it simply moves forward propelled by the wind. The sailboat responds by moving forward, but it is the wind that is carrying it.” What are you waiting for? If it is something of great value than be still and know God will provide the wind to move your sailboat! I’m thinking it just might be the perfect time to wish for a sailboat instead of a speedboat!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of all the things you’re waiting for. (Silly ones too!) Tuck it away for a day or two. When you get it back out, ask God to give you eyes to see his plan and his timing as you evaluate each item on your list and think about its value.
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.