17 June, 2017

Treasure Seeker

This week I stumbled.  Stumbled to apologize, stumbled in love, stumbled in service and stumbled in following Him.  In other words, real life happened!  But amidst the stumbling, love arrived...a treasure realized again.

Years and years ago, my mama gave me her first wedding rings.  I treasure these rings.  I wore her thin wedding band for years.  Upon my mother's death, we received many other items from her jewelry box, her kitchen, her china cabinet, her life.  We worked and worked to clean out her house and disperse the items she had collected over the years.  We cried at memories, we laughed, and we despaired at all the STUFF!  But it got done and we returned to our lives with all receiving bits and pieces of treasure from our parents' lives.  I wear a certain bracelet of my mama's quite a bit and I cook in her famous cast-iron skillet.  But those wedding rings...have been lost.  I lost them.  My most valued possession from my mama were lost because of my carelessness.  It physically made me sick when I realized the loss.

Why would I have put so much value in that temporal treasure?  It was a simple, thin gold band yet its value to me was enormous.  The verses below have forced me to think about what I treasure today.  And honestly, it's not my parent's possessions that come between my heart and God it's my own
ME-ness treasure.  My desires, my children, my husband, my plans....you get the flow.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darknessMatthew 6:19-23
These verses have always inferred wealth to me or how I spend my money, i.e. treasure.  But the reality is that my treasure is not found in my bank account.  My treasure is my family, my temporal life, my to-do list.  I treasure the days when all is well with my children and their relationships and my relationships. Those are the days when I feel the most peace.  But one phone call or one text expressing sorrow, pain or stress and I seem to move from joy to despair rather quickly.

Could my treasure also be in my plans and my expectations for how my life should run?  Is my treasure in that I "have it all together, all in control"?  Could my treasure be church attendance and church service?  Could my treasure be in my appearance and community work?

I don't know your answers.  I just know that I often lose my way by focusing on earthly treasure.  I can't follow Him because I'm following me and my me-ness.

I wondered this week if my prayers have always been conditional....conditional to how I think things should go or how I think an answered prayer should look?  I wondered if my trust in God has always be conditional as to my own expectations?  And isn't that a false treasure?  A treasure I think I can control?

I pray that my eyes, the lamp of my body, will be healthy and full of Light.  I pray He will give my eyes a way to see His treasure only.

03 June, 2017

A Pinch of Salt and a Night-Light

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

Salt adds flavor.  Salt preserves. Salt heals.  Some people like salt and some LOVE salt.  How much is too much?  How much is not enough?  Light has similar characteristics.  It adds, it reveals, it exposes, it guides.  Some people like a lot of light and some prefer darkness.  How much is too much?  How much is not enough?

You are the salt, you are the light.

How about some honesty?  Even though I've read these words for years what resonates within me today are two odd and maybe off-putting thoughts.
1.  First, I don't really find comfort in these words; I really don't like them too much! I mean it sounds good and noble but it's too much, too big.  These words make me uncomfortable; for Jesus is stating that we, me and you are to be salt for the earth and light of the world.  Ummm, those are big places and big responsibilities and frankly, this instruction scares me.  How? How? How?

2.  And next, what if I don't have any salt left?  What if my saltiness has been watered down, what if I've lost the savory self He created?  What if my light has been dimmed? What if my light is more like a weak night-light?

I acknowledge that my life has been easy and privileged; however, my life has also been painful and disappointing at times.  There have been times of shame, failure and great humiliation.  Images fill my memory of "you're not enough, you've lost your way, just quit and end the embarrassment."  My salt has lost it's saltiness and my light has become a flicker.

But here, we read these striking words of 'you are the salt and you are the light.'  Don't we have enough pressure to just get through life holding on to our Christian beliefs, to live as He would live, to teach our children His words?  Why oh why, does he add the task of 'the earth' and 'the world' to my list of life.

Perhaps, I'm asking the wrong questions....again!!!

I notice that Jesus' words about salt and light follow reassuring words from Him:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. . .

Could He be saying....? Yes, you are going to hurt and be harmed.  Evil things will happen.  But...Rejoice and be glad and be salt and light.  For it's in these hard times that I will 're-salt' you; or it is in these hard times that you find the healing properties of salt and light.  So, take your hurt life, unsavory, flickering life and offer even that.

He's not asking me or you to be the entire Salt Shaker for the entire earth or the Light to whole world!  Thank God, He's already in that role!!!  But he is asking me to take my one and only little, wounded life and offer a pinch of salt to someone else who is hurting in the same way.  Or He is asking me to take my flickering night-light into someone else's dark home and heart and just plug in for a time.  Over and over I try to become my own solution to life's problems.  I try to become my own savior as if, I know best.  Its in those times that I try to take on the whole world in my way and in my time when that has never been His request of me.

Just a pinch of salt goes a long way.  A night-light can fill an entire room.



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