Saturday, September 30, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes...Well, Out of First Graders!

It's been a "significant" week as our church family met for our annual fall revival. Tim Tapp, our church's former associate pastor ('98-'00), was our guest speaker, and the Lord did a great job through him reminding us of our core foundations in living the abundant life. We had significant times of prayer as a church family, including a special time of affirming our youth on Sunday night. Several of our teen-agers shared, and it was extraordinarily encouraging to this pastor! Another brief, but very encouraging word, came not from a teen-ager or adult, but from a first grader!

Tim's family, Amy, Carrie aged 12, and John almost 7. Amy and the kids came down for Sunday, and had to leave after church. I gave the kids some stuff from "Andy's Gift Shop"...i.e. my closet of bargains accumulated after years of shopping research! Anyway, I gave John a little Lego set, and he (without parental prompting no less) quickly said, "Thank you," but then added, "do you know that you are a good man?" That surprised me...sure I enjoyed the comment immensely, and I overlooked John's lack of information about me, and focused only the gift, and the goodness of life...receiving something good while not expecting it...and then reacting positively...with gratitude. I hope John keeps that perspective (I think he has a great chance in that his parents are excellent in engendering in their kids, positive self-value, faith, and gratitude. I have interacted with a lot of people in my almost 50 years, and I have seen so many fall prey to a life lacking basic gratitude, and it's not a great way to go.

Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. John thought I was a good man because I have him something good. These days, Christians can become so obsessed with "being right" in terms of political opinions, and doctrinal positions on non-essentials, that they forget the power of basic kindness to impact others. We, as believers, need to respond to God's gifts to us, by being grateful to Him, and kind to others that they, too, might know our generous and loving and forgiving and saving Father. How long has it been since you've given an unexpected gift to someone? Maybe it's time to look in your closet to find something to bless someone else with!

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