Wednesday, September 22, 2010

All My Needs?

Until recently, you hadn’t given much thought to what you’d eat or wear. You just headed to the fridge or went out for pizza when hungry. That was before your Dad’s company down-sized and he lost his job. For a while, there was enough money in savings, and you barely noticed any change. Your parents talked a lot, but stopped when you came into the room. Lately, you’ve noticed many changes. Dad doesn’t go on as many job interviews. You never eat at restaurants anymore, and hamburger is appearing for supper more and more.

One day you spotted Dad looking in the paper at real estate ads. "Are we selling our house?" you ask nervously. "Will we have a place to live? Please tell me what’s going on!" Together your parents sit down with you. They explain that you need a smaller house, may sell one of the cars, and the family vacation has been postponed. Your stomach knots up in fear, and yet you can’t help noticing that your parents seem very calm. Your dad explains when you ask. "I know God will supply everything we really need," he says. "Philippians 4:19 says so. I am doing my best—and so is your mother—to seek God’s will in where to live and what jobs to pursue. We’re praying and trusting God to provide. I know he will. He’s never let us down before."

You wish you had your parents’ faith, but you do feel calmer because they seem so sure. Several days later, you come home to find a "For Sale" sign in the yard. "We’re down-sizing too," Dad says, "and we’re moving closer to my new job!" You all celebrate with hot dogs by candlelight, laughing and praising God for his provision. And you’re grateful for both of the fathers who take care of you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dress for Success

You’re late for church again, and as you hurry toward the youth building, you spot a girl in your group with her arms full. The large flat box she’s carrying looks like a donut box. Trying to buy popularity again, you think, slowing down. You’ve watched her for several weeks. She was new to the church, but everyone knew her name by now—especially the boys. She always brought food, and they swarmed around her at every meeting. You understand that she wants to be accepted, but in your opinion, that’s not the way to go about it. Most of the girls could barely stand her now.

You see her trying to balance the box of donuts and her Bible and get the door open. Maybe she’ll spill them on the ground, you think hopefully. Then you hear the unmistakable nudge from God. If she were in a wheelchair, wouldn’t you hurry and open the door for her? Do you have to like a person or feel superior in order to be kind to someone? Ouch. You decide to "put on kindness" and hurry to open the door. You even carry her Bible for her as you enter the youth room together.

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12 NIV) The next time you’re dressing for success, give less thought to your color scheme and more thought to the character clothing you want to wear. Envision yourself dressing in a shirt of kindness, a hat of patience, a coat of gentleness, a skirt of humility, and shoes of peace. Now that makes a godly fashion statement!