Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Step Up: When you don't get warm fuzzies

Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone we served was grateful and always made good decisions? Caz talked on Sunday about how unequivocal Jesus is in His command to care for the poor. Not just the poor that we think deserve it.    
            Serving does not always come with warm fuzzies. And yet how often has God reached down to us to show us the way out of our sin, knowing that we will continue to wallow in our darkness? How pure are our motives if we need our actions to be glorified?
            Last weekend I did a 6K for Water race, which helps provide clean water to children in impoverished countries like Zambia. 6K is the distance many children have to walk daily for water. My heart melts for causes like this, and I will probably run charity races all summer.  This is not bad, but what about all of the invisible needs around me?  There are families near us who don’t have the advantage of being sponsored by a large organization and who slip through the cracks of social services. There are families who need help paying bills. And maybe they spend too much money on things they should not. (How many of us can claim we have not?) It is appropriate to have boundaries and some sense of accountability.  But as Caz said, we aren’t excused from the helping the poor. Wouldn’t it be great to develop relationships with families and help them onto a better path? Wouldn’t it be great if our church was seen in the community as a family that helps with yardwork, childcare, and groceries? I like that Caz shared the quote from the book about poverty, and how it is about so much more than money. The poor in our area should not feel inferior and invisible. They are never invisible and inferior to God. They should be served by us, welcomed by us. Who’s in?



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reconciliation with math problems

My six year old can be challenging. She can argue and whine and make me rattle my brain for appropriate consequences. I used to threaten to take away the privilege she has to go to sleep next to me.  Then I realized that no matter her behavior and no matter the need for a consequence, I did not want her to have to fall asleep alone, knowing I was angry with her. Bedtime is our reconciliation time. She needs the routine of a Hidden pictures, telling me the best part of her day, and doing math problems before sleep. She shares things she does not at other times of the day.
            A parent- child relationship is different than other relationships, of course. In other relationships it may be necessary to speak hard truths before bed or even on the way to church.  As Caz pointed out, we cannot claim that we are not a “people person” or that we are right and the other person was wrong. God reached down to reconcile to us. We were not ready to apologize. We were not ready to change. But He valued a relationship with us.       
            Caz shared Matthew 5:21 and how it matters to God that our relationships are right. It is not enough to keep marriage vows and maintain civility. We need to step and up and offer reconciliation.   Someday my six year old will outgrow her bedtime routine, and reconciliation will not be as simple and sweet as my hand on her back. What could my impact be if I offered others the same grace that I offer my kids? What could the impact in your life be?
  Beth Kropf