Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Inspiration, Jesus, Religion, Spirituality
We had the most wonderful children in our neighborhood when we lived in Rhode Island. It always seemed like there were children around when Calla and I would go out to play. These children loved to be with Calla, go to the beach to collect glass and swing our giant rope swing in our front yard. It is always nice to have a lot of children around. They bring a sense of life, exuberance and optimism that seems to ebb away from our day-to-day cynical lives. One of the other reasons that children are so wonderful is because in a very direct way they can illustrate a complicated concept in the most straightforward way. This is something that these children were always doing for me.
I remember once that Carol and I had decided that our small 950 square foot house had become too crowded with junk. We needed to get rid of all the unnecessary clutter that had accumulated over the years. Carol and I sorted and sorted and sorted until we had a garage full of things to get rid of. So, we put an advertisement in the Providence Journal announcing that we would have a massive garage sale.
When Spencer and Jake heard they immediately asked if they could help. It was amazing how much work those two 10-year-old boys put into our sale. They looked exhausted by the end of the day. I felt like it was only right to give them something to reward all that hard work. Going into the closet I grabbed an old beat up cardboard box and presented it to these two boys. In it were all the baseball cards that I had collected when I was a child.
“Cool!” Spencer exclaimed and I smiled at them as they sat in our driveway examining the cards one-by-one.
That night I slept well and felt quite happy to get rid of so much of my old possession. When the morning came I looked out of our window with my coffee mug in hand. As I surveyed the Forsythia, the poor dying Dogwood tree and our Swamp Maple something caught my eye. Something was on the trunk of our car. I did not recognize it as something from our previous day’s garage sale. It was too curious to ignore and before long I was exiting the front door to investigate this small stack of paper.
When I rounded the back of the car I immediately recognized a stack of baseball cards neatly placed where I would find them. Picking them up I leafed through them. Yankee, Yankee, Yankee, Yankee, Yankee…I when through them all and realized that these two boys had taken out every single New York Yankee baseball card. As loyal Boston Red Sox fans they would see it as an act of betrayal to take home a card that had a Yankee on it. In that action I learned something new about loyalty. God was using these children to teach me something I needed to understand. We must have the faith of children to understand the kingdom of God.
In a society that puts a premium on consumer choice the type of loyalty that Spencer and Jake displayed is oftentimes quite rare. If we don’t like something that is difficult we don’t necessarily have to work it out, understand it or attempt to fix it we just move on to something new. Living in community means a commitment to others in the midst of our good, bad or indifference. It is not loyalty to a particular church, but to each other. When we are loyal to each other we display the unity that Christ so desires from his disciples.
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