Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Stubbed Toes and Stitches

Once I was walking through my parent’s room in the dark. They had been out of town and there was a suitcase on the floor that I didn’t see. I straddled the latch of their suitcase between my “pinky toe” and whatever you call the toe next to it. Hard! I had to go get stitches between my toes! The healing was worse than the hit!

I wish I could have decided then and there that I would never straddle my toes on a suitcase latch or even stub a toe again, but I couldn’t. The only way to keep from stubbing your toe is to stand still – all the time. That’s just not an option.

To get somewhere, you’ve got to move. When you move, there is potential for toe stubs. It is only in movement, however, that there is potential for getting somewhere. I believe that going nowhere is worse than getting hurt in the travel.

Paul talked about his own race in life. He declared that he would press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God had called him in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). He knew that his race meant stubbed toes and stitches, but he also knew that races aren’t won standing still. Been hurt? What do you need to get back in the race? Scared of getting hurt? The prize from God is worth the pain. That’s a promise! That’s Life at Work!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Happily-Ever-After Depends on Today

Life at Work
“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis” – Margaret Bonano.

Do you want to have a great marriage 5 years from now? Ten years? Twenty-five, forty, and fifty years from now? I hope you are planning on that. I hope you dream about it, and talk about your dream with your spouse. Whatever happiness you’ll find on your anniversary fifteen years from today depends on what you do today and tomorrow.

The age old wisdom of Proverbs offers this instruction that can be applied to your marriage today:

“Do not say to your neighbor (or spouse),
‘Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow’--
when you now have it with you.”

You’ve got some great things to give to your spouse today. Maybe you’ve been holding them back for some reason. No reason is good enough if you want to live happily-ever-after. You’ve got to create that day-to-day. Give your spouse your gifts of love, attention, fun, and commitment today! That’s Life at Work!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Jesus Perspective: Blessed are those who Mourn

The Baby Centre lists seven reasons why babies cry. I noticed that being in pain is not one of them, so the list is not exhaustive. Maybe this list is the seven reasons babies cry when there isn’t an obvious pain source. Here are the reasons a baby would tell you she is crying if she could talk:

I need food
I need to be comfortable
I need to be warm — and not too hot or too cold
I need to be held
I need a rest
I need something to make me feel better
I need something ... but I don't know what

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Those are the reasons I cry! I don’t think that means I’m a baby. I think it means that those things that make us mourn stay pretty consistent and last a lifetime. I’m glad that Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” That’s not just a word for babies. It’s a word for me.

Jesus knew when he said “Happy are the mourners” that some don’t mourn. They never allow themselves to feel hungry, uncomfortable, cold, alone, weary, less than perfect, or unsatisfied. They take care of themselves. Oh, maybe they’ll give to another if they aren’t put out any by their giving; but they will never have to ask for comfort. They make sure they are comfortable.

The assumption of Jesus is that all of us have reason to mourn, but people who have hardened their hearts – like those who won’t acknowledge sin, feel compassion for others, admit their inadequacy, or recognize their helpless estate – never will.

As Matthew tells the story, those who won’t mourn simply miss out on the blessing of comfort. But Luke reveals more. He tells us that Jesus went on to say, “Woe to you who laugh now. You will mourn and weep.”

Those who don’t mourn have shut their hearts from the reality of their own insufficiency and from the pain of others. Jesus said that those who will keep their hearts open will receive comfort. That’s good. That’s Life at Work!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thanks for Helping

John, Al, Mike, Gary and their families appreciate people like you for your generosity and concern towards people like them. They are friends of mine who cannot live in their own homes because of Hurricane Katrina. They are victims of what will likely be declared the worst natural disaster in American history. People like you, many of you, have contributed to organizations that are going to help the displaced and despairing thousands. Some of you have volunteered your own time in our town and cities nearby to serve hand in hand with other volunteers, and face to face with those who have lost nearly everything.

I believe that’s something of God in you, prompting you to do something for others who are hurting. I believe that when God created us in his own image, he placed in us a conscience that carries a seed of God’s own character. That’s why I believe that ultimately, for all that any of us do, God gets the glory.

But some people suppress that urge in them to help the hurting. Some sear their consciences with flames of greed and self-centeredness. They don’t respond to that voice on the inside that says “love your neighbor.”

You’ve let your heart have your ear. And you’ve helped. My friends in south Mississippi would have me tell you, “Thanks.” I’ll say it, too. “Thanks!” That’s Life at Work!