THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  

Luke 15:4-6

October 24, 2007

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Jon and I agree on most things, but probably the biggest difference of opinion we have is when it comes to clothes and shoes. Rather I should say, shopping for clothes and shoes. These things are on the bottom of the list of priorities for Jon. When we got married two and a half years ago, his wardrobe basically consisted of a few pair of black jeans, some shirts (and t-shirts left over from high school), plus one pair of tennis shoes. The tennis shoes were his work, church, and all occasion shoes. Since we've been married, his wardrobe has grown to include some blue jeans, a pair of dress pants, new shirts, and Jon now has three pairs of shoes, thanks to me shopping for him.

Shopping is probably Jon's least favorite thing to do, unless what we're shopping for is related to computers. I had been telling Jon that he really needed a pair of new shoes for church, because his tennis shoes really don't look that nice anymore. He really didn't see anything wrong with them, but finally agreed to let me buy him a new pair of church shoes. A few days ago, I went shopping to try to find shoes for him. I deliberated and debated and looked and looked, trying to find ones that I thought would be comfortable and something he would like. I later told Jon that I finally heard his voice in my head saying, “Loretta, you're making too big of a deal over this...it's just shoes!”

But I remembered back to when the two us went shoe shopping together for him before our wedding. He walked into the store and the first pair of black shoes he tried on, he wanted to buy. I had asked if they were comfortable and he said not really, but he would make do. I finally convinced him that it wasn't wise to buy a pair of shoes just so he could quit shopping, because that would be a waste of money if he never wore them again after our wedding. He tried on a couple more pair, and finally found a pair he liked, that were comfortable.

When I was recently shopping for him, that was the biggest reason why it was so difficult to pick out shoes for him. I knew that whatever I bought, regardless of how they felt on his feet, he would say they were fine. So I asked him to wear them around the house to see how they felt. Of course, that meant he put them on, walked downstairs, and sat in the chair to watch TV. I kept asking him how they felt, if he liked them, if they were comfortable, was he sure he wanted to keep them or did he want me to exchange them, etc. He finally got frustrated with me and told me to quit questioning him, because he had told me over and over that they were fine, and he wanted to keep them.

Other than buying groceries and things for the house, I'm not a big shopper myself, but I really don't think it's unreasonable to want to buy new clothes or shoes for myself a couple times a year (I'm not talking about a whole new wardrobe, just a few items). I don't spend a lot of money and watch for sales and shop the clearance racks. But anytime I mention anything to my husband about wanting new clothes or shoes he gets this panicked look on his face. He will look in our closet and see that I have those things, so can't understand why I would need more until those things completely wear out and fall apart at the seams. I've come to the conclusion that part of this is a “man thing”, part of it is a “Jon thing”, and the bottom line is he will never, ever get it no matter how many times I try to explain it to him; which I have on numerous occasions!

Many Christians have this same attitude when it comes to their relationship with God. They settle for what they have because it's too much work to try for anything better. What they have may not be comfortable and may “hurt their feet” after a while, but they're okay with it because it's doesn't take any effort. They're saved and know they will go to Heaven when they die, so why do they need anything more? What they have is good enough and if that starts “wearing out” and things start getting bad or going wrong, they will then read their Bible and pray and get what they think they need for the next leg of the journey. Anytime anyone starts talking to them about commitment and trusting God in all situations, they start getting panicked. They are afraid they may have to go through their “closet” and throw away some of the old attitudes or habits, and they want to hold onto those things. They worry about what it may cost them and aren't sure whether or not they want to pay the price.

In John 10:10, Jesus says that He came to not only give life, but to give it more abundantly. We don't have to go through life just merely existing and getting by from day to day, hoping that we can somehow survive until Jesus comes. But Jesus wants us to have abundant life. He wants us to be blessed and wants us to thrive, not just merely survive.

There are also other verses of scripture that talks about abundant mercy and abundant grace. Jesus doesn't just give us what we need to scrape by from day to day. He doesn't offer just enough grace and mercy to ease our conscience and barely cover our need of forgiveness. But Jesus gives us all that we need in abundance. He doesn't just offer the amount needed, but He generously pours out so that it overflows. He wants us to experience life, grace, and mercy above and beyond the norm.

It's like during the summer when conditions are dry. An hour-long rain will help, but an all day rain that is steady and non-stop will do wonders. Sometimes we go through life and are satisfied with the hour-long rain from time to time. We don't ask for more and really don't expect more. But Jesus wants to give us that steady, soaking, non-stop rain, so we will flourish and grow.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

At one point in Jesus' ministry, he sent his disciples to other towns. When he did, he told them to take nothing with them, not even spare sandals. They were to trust that God would provide for them. That's why I don't feel comfortable with having so many spare shoes.

This sounds like a pretty lousy argument. But it's Biblical, so how can it be wrong? Paul warns us that we must be careful what we accept. Just because someone refers to a verse in the Bible doesn't make it correct. Satan knows the Bible as well as any of us and he isn't afraid to use it. He even tried to use it against Jesus. Paul also warns that Satan can appear as an “angel in white”.

So, is there a solution? Most of the time, it isn't too tough. We need to read the quote in the whole context. After that, if it seems like the person using the quote was stretching to make his own point and not use God's point, then be very careful.

So what about the shoes? I really don't have a good argument against buying nicer or newer shoes. I'm just cheap. But that doesn't sound as good.

ON THE MENEWE:

Triple Fudge Cake

1 large pkg. chocolate pudding & pie filling (Not instant)

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 devils food cake mix

½ cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350. In large saucepan, cook chocolate pudding as directed on package; blend dry cake mix thoroughly into hot pudding by mixer for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top of batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

RAM-BLING IDEAS:

For years when I made a grilled cheese sandwich, it would almost always fall apart when I flipped it over. I finally figured out a way to stop that from happening. After I put the sandwich on to cook, I stick a toothpick in the center of the sandwich. I also use a slatted spatula. When I get read to flip it over, I stick the spatula under the sandwich and pick it up, then push the toothpick down even with the bread. When you flip it over, the sandwich will stay together nicely.

LAUGHING LAMBS:

When one of my nephews was small, he was very inquisitive. On one particular occasion, he and his family were driving down the road. The highway had a place where there were ridges in the pavement to indicate to the driver to slow down, due to a very steep and crooked hill. My nephew asked what those ridges in the road were for. His older brothers told him they were for blind drivers so they would know that they were getting ready to go down a steep hill. My younger nephew thought that was a good answer and made a lot of sense, until his brothers started laughing and told him that blind people couldn't drive cars.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

God will move your mountain, but it may be one rock at a time. His timing and His ways are not ours.

God loves you and so do we!

Loretta & Jon

shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org