Tag Archives: relationship with God

The Snob

Story of the Day for Thursday March 22, 2012

The Snob

                 And to those who tried to assure themselves they were righteous and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this story . . .

                                       Luke 18:9

When I was in third grade we learned a song called “Little Robin Redbreast.” It’s a chirpy number that recounts the epic conflict of wills between a robin and a pussycat.

After we learned the song our teacher gave everyone a sheet a paper with a robin on it and we got our crayons out to color it in.

This was my favorite time of the day. I loved art. Whenever my mind wandered during other classes, which was just about all the time, I would draw dinosaurs or football players or soldiers blowing things up.

But, as we colored in our robins, events took a disturbing turn.

Kids are busybodies and like to check up on each other’s progress, and as I looked at my classmates, I was horrified. Oblivious to reality, they were actually coloring the robin’s breast red! A robin’s breast isn’t red – it’s burnt-orange. Granted, we didn’t have burnt-orange in our arsenal of crayons back then, but at the very least, orange would be the better choice. And, if you take a brown crayon, you can lightly feather it over top of the orange for a pleasing effect.

I knew, however, exactly why they were coloring their robin’s breast red. They had been manipulated by a stupid song. And why? Because some two-bit poet lacked the literary skill to compose a song called, “Little Robin Burnt-Orange Breast.”

Nevertheless, the song, didn’t account for why Ronnie chose to color the rest of his robin’s body black. It didn’t even look like a robin; it looked like a raven hugging the top of a traffic light.

My classmates had no idea they were under covert investigation by the Color Police. They just colored away and were happy to be alive while I glumly brooded over their lack of aesthetic rigor.

As I look back on those days, I realize I was an art snob before I even knew what an art snob was. Snobbery has nothing to do with striving for excellence, nor even with thinking you can do something better than others. Snobbery is a dark smugness that enjoys feeling superior to others.

Spiritual snobbery is especially distasteful and dangerous. The Pharisees validated their lives by feeling holier than the common rabble. By seeking to be superior, they were silently acknowledging their secret insecurity in their relationship with God.

Once we know the mercy of Jesus, we enter into a secure relationship with God. He frees us from the desperate need to be holier or “righter” than others . . . or better able to draw robins.

But RED, for Pete’s sake! I still can’t believe it.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

That’s What Love Does

Story of the Day for Friday March 9, 2012

That’s What Love Does

                 The chief priests and elders of the people approached Jesus while he was teaching and asked, “By what authority do you do these things?” 

                                                                   Matthew 21:23

Derek Redman posted the fastest time in the first round of the 440 meter sprints at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.

In the semi-final run, Redman is racing at the front of the pack when suddenly he  goes down on the track – grabbing his hamstring. When the medical crew arrives with a stretcher, Derek tells them, “I’m going to finish this race.”

Slowly, Redman stands up and begins to hobble down the track.

Derek’s face is twisted in pain, when, suddenly, his father jumps over the railing and runs onto the track to help. When Derek recognizes his dad holding onto him he collapses in tears in his father’s arms.

Jim Redman tells his son, “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes. I do.”

“Then,” his father said, “We’ll finish together.”

And so, arm in arm, father and son slowly make their way to the finish line.

 

The 65,000 spectators in the stadium have risen to their feet with a thunderous roar. The television announcer for the race says, “He’s getting THE cheer of the Games!”

The poignant finish of Derek Redman and his father is considered one of the most moving events in all of Olympic history.

 

But not everyone saw it that way. When Jim ran to help his son, security guards chased after him to remove him. He was, after all, not allowed on the racetrack.  Even after Jim reaches his son, an official runs up to them, and you can see Derek’s dad trying to swat him away.

The rules clearly state that a runner is not allowed to receive assistance in a race. And even though Derek was lying on his back in agony while the other racers finished, he still was officially racing, was he not?

Weren’t the officials who tried to force Jim Redman off the track simply doing their duty? Following the rules?

Perhaps. But that’s the problem with legalism: it sees rules, but not people. Legalism follows the letter of the law, but is blind to circumstances.

Legalism could never make sense of Jesus.

 

Some see the Bible as nothing more than a list of rules to be obeyed. But, at its heart, the Bible invites us into a relationship. Jesus came to break down the barriers that keep us from fellowship with him. He came to restore the relationship between God and man.

 

Yes, Derek Redman and his dad broke the rules. From time to time, that’s what love does.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

“The Flyswatter”

Story of the Day for Friday January 27, 2012

“The Flyswatter”

                 Don’t forget to do good and share with others, because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

                                                                      Hebrews 13:16

One hot, summer day, our family shared the living room with a pesky fly. My dad asked my sister, Mary, who was two years old, to get the flyswatter. Mary eagerly scooted off on her mission. She returned without the flyswatter, but my parents were pleased nonetheless.

 

Before I tell you why my parents were so delighted with their little daughter, let me ask you a question: Do you live with an on-going sense of failure in your relationship with God? I’m not talking about the times you deliberately do wrong things, but the times you’re trying to get it right. When you pray, does it feel as if God expected you to have prayed more? When you share with others, does it always feel as if God wanted you to give more than you did?

If you picture the Lord as looking at you with his arms folded across his chest in a perpetual scowl, then maybe you’ve forgotten how you laughed at a baby’s first words.

What do parents do when they hear their child first say, “Mama” or “Dada”?  Or when their child attempts those first wobbly steps?  They’re ecstatic!  They can hardly wait to call friends and family and tell them the news. Parents are so very pleased by every step of growth in their children’s lives.

 

But can I ask you another question: Do you think parents are satisfied by the first, immature actions of their children? Of course not. They won’t be satisfied until their kids learn to talk and walk and act like adults.

 

The Scottish writer, George MacDonald, points out that, in the same way, our heavenly Father is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.

If we don’t know God as our Father, but only as Judge, then everything we do is doomed to failure. We simply can’t keep his perfect law.

But once we become his children, everything changes. God is not only pleased, but delighted by our far-from-perfect attempts to do his will. We don’t have to be perfect in order to please him. Like any loving parent, our heavenly Father is pleased by every step of growth that his children take.

If you feel as if your every action is a deep disappointment to God, maybe you need to ponder the kind of relationship you were meant to have with him.

 

When my two-year-old sister was asked to bring the flyswatter, she bounded off to do what she was told. Instead of getting the flyswatter, however, she ran into the kitchen and returned with a glass of water. She proudly handed the glass to my dad, “Here’s the flies’ water!”

And my dad could hardly have been more pleased.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)