Many people strive to be the most honored, the most admired, the most beautiful with perfect best clothes, to have the best house or the classiest car, to have a picture-perfect family and take picture perfect vacations to exotic locales. The stress of
Many people strive to be the most honored, the most admired, the most beautiful with perfect best clothes, to have the best house or the classiest car, to have a picture-perfect family and take picture perfect vacations to exotic locales. The stress of trying to maintain appearances must be overwhelming at times. I am so thankful my relaxed lifestyle is the opposite. It would be awesome to have a magnificent house with killer landscaping, but ours is a limp opposite. The grass is in our front yard is almost tall enough for cows to graze, the hedges are sprouting errant branches everywhere, and the muddy edge of our front yard has been irreparably damaged by the cars that park where the grass used to be. On a rainy day, Amazon drivers delivering to our house have to leap over a river of water between the street and our front door. The inside of our home is “lived in”, with the carpet sporting spots of areas needing vacuuming, (especially on those rainy days.) The curtains have a few cobwebs here and there, and the windowsills may be dusty. Used dishes may be in the sink, and the beds may be unmade. Housekeeping has never been one of my strong points, and I am so relieved that I don’t care!
Like many people, I strive to be my best. However, my perception of “best” may be drastically different than other’s perceptions of their best. My mom used to say that “God don’t make junk!” and that philosophy infiltrates my life. I try to be kind to everyone and accept them as they are, whether they be male or female or somewhere in between, African American, Venezuelan or Tuvaluan, Lutheran, Buddhist or Agnostic, curly haired, straight haired, dreadlocked or bald, blind, deaf, developmentally delayed or comatose, old or young, short or tall, plump or thin.
Last weekend, our pastor, with a broken right arm, had the misfortune of getting a flat tire in a poor neighborhood. Just as she was surveying the situation and trying not to panic, a young father with two young daughters in tow were walking by. The dad gathered his daughters by his side and told them “We are going to change this nice lady’s flat tire!” He patiently demonstrated each step as the girls watched, wide eyed. When he was finished, the pastor tried to give him some money, which he declined. With a smile, he and his admiring daughters walked away down the street to their home. These girls learned a valuable lesson that day. Their humble father had served a person in need and needed no thanks in return.
Rumor has it, (as documented in the Bible,) that James and John, disciples of Jesus, were arguing about which of them would sit at his right hand and which would sit at his left hand when Jesus was celebrated as the new King. They wanted to share in his success without yet realizing that He would HAVE no success in life as he would soon be captured, tortured, and killed. Like James and John, many people strive to sit at the head of the table, be the most admired, the most esteemed, the most revered, the most venerated, and the most idolized. But it is reported that Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
That means that my mother, who was always the last one to eat the pork chops to make sure there was enough to go around, who would stop her car by the side of the road to give a homeless person her coat, and who would fish out her “mad money” from the hidden spot in her wallet to give it to a disheveled shopper who did not have enough money to pay for his purchase at the case register, was first when she made her way to heaven.
I imagine she was greeted with a plateful of pork chops, a cashmere coat, and an outpouring of gold coins. Such is the honor bestowed on those who serve the needs of others.
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