Posts filed under: Parenting

It’s amazing to me as a mother what my children treasure. My oldest son has for years collected plastic bottle caps. Why is unbeknownst to me yet he has a fondness for those orange plastic caps. Each of my boys have found pleasure in bringing me rocks of all shapes, colors and sizes. It really is the small things in life. As a child I was fascinated with a bottle that sat in my parents room on my dad’s dresser. It was a clear, glass bottle filled with marbles. Reds, blues, greens, oranges, yellows. They were all there. I always just assumed my dad was a master marble player. Later I’d find out that he just liked marbles…never even played! Those marbles still intrigue me. Why marbles in a glass bottle? I guess I could ask the same of bottle caps or rocks.

Our oldest son has started taking extra time at night to read before bed, which usually means I miss tucking him in because he goes to sleep a little later than his brothers. Last night I heard the bathroom door open so I went to his room with hopes of tucking him in bed. He was sitting there about to turn off his light when I came in the room. He smiled and I tucked him in. Now this kid is so easy to read, when something is troubling him you can see it all over his face. He looked up at me and ask, “Mom, what is religion?” I was a little surprised by the question seeing as his dad is a pastor and he has been in church since nine months before he was born. He pulled the book he had been reading down and showed me the page that made him question. I quickly read the passage and tried as best I could to answer his question. Here are a few things I shared with him:

  1. Religion is mans way of trying to earn heaven.
  2. Religion often weighs our deeds.
  3. Religion is something we carry – good and bad.

As I talked with him, I thought about those marbles that sat in that bottle on my dad’s side of the bed. Religion takes one marble and writes one deed on it. And it does so for each good and bad deed, thought, and attitude each day. Then we must carry those bags of marbles until we die. Religion says that if somehow our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, heaven it is. The sad truth is that we are crushed under the weight of all our deeds – good and bad. My son said that it was like a line or two from Black Beauty, a character had “fell down with great force” and “he walked as if he were in great pain.” That is what sin does, it cripples us as we try to live good enough. Religion is us trying to get to a higher power or a heaven of sorts, all depending on which religion is followed.  Christ, however, came to us to carry our burdens to the cross so that we could have a relationship with him that would not crush us. He was crushed for us and defeated death, hell and the grave so that we could walk with Him. Doesn’t mean our life is perfect or easy. It does mean Jesus carried the weight for us because He loves us. The burden He gives us is love – for God and one another. And how we live that out daily is in obedience to Him.

So today, and everyday, I am choosing to treasure my relationship with Christ, instead of marbles of good and bad deeds. I’m choosing to take His yoke because it “is easy and His burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

I’ve always been a fan of sports. Not in the way that made me want to play as much as I enjoyed watching them. My younger brother played baseball from when he was young through high school. I enjoyed watching him play because of his love for the game. He would watch his favorite players and try his best to do as they did. And he was good at the game. Now, as a mom I have the privilege of being their biggest cheerleader when they take a field in competition.

Recently our oldest son started playing Upward basketball. Now, basketball has never been my favorite sport, but I am enjoying watching him grow in his skills, love of the game and sportsmanship. But just like anything, it’s a process. Last week, he had a pretty good game, save for the fact he kept guarding whomever had the ball instead of sticking with his assigned man. So after the game as we were walking to the vehicle I just reminded him that the coach gave him a man to guard, if he chose not to no one else is going to do his job and he wasn’t meant to do another man’s job. Which got me to really thinking…how often do we do this in the church?

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Romans 12:6-8

It is so easy to get caught up in what we want to do well, what we can’t do well, what someone else does well that we don’t see what God has graciously gifted us to do well. So many times in my life I have fallen into the trap of comparison. “But God if only I could do what this person does, then I could serve you better.” or “But God if I only had this gift, opportunity, platform, then I could serve you better.” And then there have been times of “why this gift, opportunity or platform?” I made it about me.

If only I…

Don’t we all want to ball? Don’t we all want to make the basket, hit the home run, make the big play? His word says, He has given us different gifts, for different purposes. Not to compare to the rest of the body of Christ, but to build them up. A team works best when every person does their part, guards their man, runs their route, plays their position. And sometimes that means we need to do a little self evaluation.

What are my motives for wanting to do this? Is this something The Lord has gifted me to do? Will this benefit the Body of Christ?

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

This is the way of life for the church. And the church is not a building where the people meet. It’s not a set meeting time. It is the people of God. The way we are to live Every. Single. Day. Day after day, month after month, year after year. We live in a constant state of self sacrifice – laying our pride, selfish desires, comparisons on the altar before Christ. Daily choosing His will, His way. Which means using our giftedness for His purpose and for the building of His church and His kingdom. Oh church, that we would desire what is good. Not what we think is good for us, not what we want to be good for us, not what is good for someone else. But that we would learn to live our lives and use the gifts He’s graciously given to each of us as a means of daily glorifying Him.

Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path…

Psalm 27:11

_______________________

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Church, when we each use our gifts, and stop desiring what was never meant for us, we will learn He is good. And we will edify the body of Christ in the process.