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Posts Tagged ‘brothers and sisters’

maylee

She searched for three days.  She pillaged through every toy, underneath every seat in the truck, and even in the garage.  Still, her iPad was nowhere in sight.  It wasn’t until three days of rain had passed, the sun emerged, and I submitted to picking up the yard in preparatory duty before mowing that the discovery was made.  Here sister had left her beloved electronic toy in the tree house.  Soaked and soundless, it was quite obvious that this gadget had given up the ghost.

Surprisingly, my seven year-old did not cry.  She didn’t pout or fight or fall on the floor flailing.  It almost seemed as though she was completely unaffected.  Puzzled, but somewhat concerned knowing that this is the same girl who, when she is physically injured holds all emotion inside until she is positively certain no one can see her, I went back out to my yard duties.

Later, when dinner was ready and Daddy entered from work, the mystery of my mini-me was solved.  As her father greeted her, she grinned from ear to ear telling the tale.  She disclosed the item she was holding behind her back, and with unwavering confidence she handed her rain-soaked iPad back to the one who gave it to her.

“Addie left my iPad outside,” she said still smiling like it was the best news in the world, “and I can never use it again!”

Bewildered as any dad might be given the situation he replied, “I guess you can’t play your games anymore then.”

Then the key to her strange behavior was revealed as her eyes moved toward the kitchen.  “But you have another one, Daddy!  You have two other ones!  Maybe I can use that one!” she said as she pointed at the unopened box that had been lying on the counter for the past two months.

Upon changing phone companies we had received a free iPad that no one was using.  She was happy when her old broken screen iPad was left in the rain because she was counting on her daddy’s incredible generosity.  She was was depending on his unbelievable grace.  She was altogether certain of her I-can-melt-your-heart-because-I-know-exactly-who-I-am place in his great big can’t-help-but-give-you-everything heart.

As if pretending that making her wait a week would fool any of us.  We all knew he would give it to her eventually.  We knew because we know him and he’s probably the most generous man we know.  That and having four little girls does not do much for the hearts of even big tough guys who try to pretend they aren’t soft.

She did whisper the occasional, “Mommy, do you think he’ll give me that iPad?”  throughout the waiting week.  I just encouraged her.  I reminded her that Daddy would most definitely do something.  “Don’t you worry.  He will not forget about you,”  I told her.

Oh, to have that kind of hope!  To be that confident and certain of my Father’s goodness!  If I could just get a glimpse of the position I hold in his heart!  Surely I would stop crying when my favorite ideas and plans are left alone and forgotten.  Surely I would stop hurting when what I long for is washed completely away by the waters of loss.  Surely I would understand my place in His heart even when I feel altogether unnecessary in this wide world.  Surely I would stop struggling to be what I already am.  Surely I would stop wondering why I have to wait so long to be used by His perfect power.  Surely I would simply whisper my fearful doubts to my brothers and sisters and trust their reassurance.

I know my heavenly Father and he knows me.  I just wish I could be like my daughter.  I wish I could stand smiling with complete confidence while I wait for glory.

Maybe I am whispering now.

Maybe I just need what Maylee needed during the long week of waiting.  Maybe I just need my brothers and sisters to encourage me.  Maybe I’m asking.  Please.

 I know Daddy is so, so good.  I know how outrageously generous He is.  I know my place in His heart.  I know he had great gifts lying on His shelf that already belong to me.  But like Maylee’s toy, I am often desperately broken.  I often feel very alone and abandoned.  I often do not feel needed or useful and I do not know why.  I feel like I am forever reaching and rarely being reach for.  Thankfully, I do not live by feelings.  I live by the Truth.  So I’m asking.

From one who is real good at looking put together when I’m falling apart, help me.  I need you.  Be my real friend.  Tell me to persevere.  Share your struggles.  Correct me.  Help me hear His voice.  Reassure me with His words.  Encourage me with your joy.  I just want to wait faithfully.

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unity

As a mom of three girls, it is a rare day when no sibling unrest occurs.  Despite the conflicts, usually they play without needing my assistance for some time.  They often figure out how to reconcile their differences alone.  Yesterday, however, was not one of those days.

Somewhere between dragging them to the phlebotomist with me and grabbing school supplies, two girls were fighting.  One was being selfish, the other self-righteous.  One was crying, one pouting.  It occurred to me after much repeated correction (this went on for some time)  that once the issue was over and the cosmic balance of our home had been restored, I had not made it a point to sit down with either of them and just talk about what had happened.  Between the busyness of the day and the struggle to call an effective cease-fire, by the time it was over I think we all just wanted to forget about it.

I feel like I forgot to be a parent.  Comfort and convenience have a way of producing selective memory.  Maybe we will revisit World War 3 today…

Anyway, Paul does not seem to have this problem with churches.  Paul never forgets to parent God’s church.  First, he instructs and corrects.  Correction is almost always followed up by exhortation.

In the closing of Colossians, Paul’s final address stresses the importance of inclusion and unity.  He mentions ten specific people, including himself, as well as an entire church body.  He urges the people in the Colossian church to “welcome” and accept them.  Consider his words.

“Tychius...is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.  I have sent him

Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner…

Mark, the cousin of Barnabus…welcome him…

Jesus who is called Justus.  These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God and they have been a comfort to me…

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Jesus Christ…for I bear him witness...

Luke the beloved physician greets you as does Demas…

Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house

…I, Paul…remember my chains.”

Why does Paul name these people?  What is the point?

Doubtless, this is a father managing his children.  He is saying, “Hey guys, I’m not there but here comes your brothers and sisters.  Here’s how they’ve served me, you, and the Lord faithfully.  These people are part of God’s kingdom.  Welcome them.  Accept them.  Treat them as your own.  Consider their sacrifices for the gospel and include them as your own when they come to you.  It couldn’t be more clear what Paul is saying here.

Why would Paul close his letter this way?  What reason would he have to tell them these things and name these individuals?

Paul spent his efforts on this letter making sure the Colossians knew who not to listen to.  Perhaps he does not want them to get conveniently confused.

Tychius was a fellow minister.  Onesimus had been a poor slave who’d been converted from a particularly wicked lifestyle.  Mark had been at odds with Paul previously.  Epaphrus prayed fervently for these people.  Jesus, now called Justus had changed his very name out of respect for the Redeemer.  Luke was a doctor.  Nympha was a woman who held church in her home.  Archippus was of the of the ministers in Colosse with them.  Paul himself was a prisoner for the gospel and an overseer of the churches.

Surely the temptation was to exclude certain types of people from the church.  Little wonder why Paul does this end of letter name dropping.  These mentioned are very different types of people.  There is no doubt Paul mentions them by name so that the Colossians make no mistake.

These are your people, church.  These – the pastors as well as the paupers.  Those from the wrong side of the tracks just the same as the doctors.  The women as well as the men.  The ones who have had differences with me and you as well as the chum buddies who’ve been serving alongside you.

Welcome them.  They are all beloved.  They are all your brothers.  They are all faithful.  They are all of you.  Greet them.  Hear them.  Include them.  Welcome them.

Remember me.

~Love, Dad

“The meanest circumstance of life, and the greatest wickedness of former life, make no difference in the spiritual relation among sincere Christians: they partake of the same privileges, and are entitled to the same regards.”  ~Matthew Henry

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