"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!'"
December 26, 2012
Happy New Year!!
Earlier this year we had a new roof put on. The roofers had to rip off 2 layers of old shingles before installing the new roof. Then a while back, a tree limb fell off the pecan in front of our house, hitting our roof and putting a hole in it, which we had to have repaired.
Since we've had the roofing work done, I have occasionally found bits of old shingles, roofing nails, and staples. The company that we hired to do the work did an excellent job of cleaning up afterwards, but it was almost impossible to find every single nail or staple that was dropped, and the bits of old shingles blend in with the ground.
Whenever I find something, I pick it up and throw it in the trash. I don't want a kid or someone to run barefoot outside and step on one of the nails or staples. I have occasionally ran across a roofing nail in our driveway, and it could cause a flat tire should we run over one with our truck or car.
What if I were to think, "It's not my responsibility to pick up these things when I see them; after all, I'm not the one who dropped them. It's not my problem that there are bits of old shingle, nails, and staples in our yard and driveway!" But the truth is, it may not be my problem, but it is my responsibility. And should I refuse to take that responsibility and someone step on a nail or staple and it go into the bottom of their foot; or should we run over a roofing nail with our car or truck and end up with a flat tire, then it will become my problem.
It is not necessarily always our responsibility to take care of everyone's problems. Sometimes they have to learn responsibility and deal with it themselves, or else they will never learn and grow. Parents can't habitually run to the aid of their kids and bail them out of difficult situations. Sometimes they have to step back and allow their kids to fall down and figure out how to fix it by themselves so that they can mature and grow up.
At times when we consistently help others and step in to bail them out, we are enabling them to continue in their problem. In doing so, we are not being responsible ourselves, and not helping the one we are enabling to be responsible. As hard as it may be, there are times when we have to step back and allow others to fall down and make their mistakes, then we have to let them figure out how to deal with them by themselves without our interference and advice.
At times it's hard for grandparents to not step in and try to "raise" their grandkids; especially if they see their son or daughter making mistakes or not doing things the way they think they should be done. But just as they made mistakes and had to learn as a parent when raising their own kids, their children have to also have the time and room to learn and grow as parents.
Our pastor mentioned a few weeks ago that he found himself stepping in and disciplining his grandson when his son-in-law was present. The thought came to him one time after doing so that he needed to stop trying to take care of his grandson when his dad was there, and allow him to be the one to discipline and teach his small son. His job, as the grandfather, was to support and encourage his son-in-law and reinforce the decisions he makes as a father.
There are times when we have to have the wisdom to know how to help. It may require us getting involved ourselves, or it may require us supporting and encouraging others as they learn and grow and make decisions for themselves.
1 John 3:16-18 says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If any one has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
When we see others in need, it is easy to often think it's not our problem. But I believe that it is our responsibility. According to this scripture, if we love God and His love is in us, then we have to show that love through our actions and in how we live our life.
May we not disregard others, but be willing to take up the responsibilities that God gives each of us to love as He loves, and be willing to reach out to those in need.
As we begin a new year, let us determine in our heart that we will make more of an effort to take on the responsibilities that God places before us; that we will love like Jesus loves; and that we will use wisdom when determining when it's our role to step in and help or when it's time to step back and stop enabling others to stay immature and not learn responsibility themselves.
We put off replacing our roof for quite a while before we finally committed to it. We wanted to save up enough to be certain we could pay for it first. So we were blessed to be able to get the roof done without worrying about the cost too much. It meant waiting for a new car quite a bit longer, but not going without food or other luxuries.
When we did get it replaced, we called our insurance, and they gave us a break on our insurance. Since it was already paid for the year, they gave us a rebate for this year. We took that as a great bonus and blessing.
Later, when a limb punched a hole through the new roof, we were upset, and wondered how we'd pay for it, and how much it would be. But it turned out to be fairly inexpensive. In fact, it was almost exactly what we'd gotten as a rebate.
It seems like a lot of unexpected costs and unexpected surplus match up almost perfectly like that. We're more used to the cost showing up first.
We don't always recognize it easily. But God does have it all worked out.
Hidden Valley Ranch Oyster Crackers
3/4 cup Oil
1/4 tsp. Lemon Pepper
1 (10 oz.) pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Dill Weed
1 pkg. Oyster Crackers
Whisk together oil, dry dressing mix, and spices. Put crackers in a large bowl and pour mixture over the top; stir to evenly coat. Spread out on baking sheet and bake at 275 for 15-20 minutes. Store in ziplock bag or airtight container.
Growing up, our church or one of the other area churches would have a "watch night service" every New Year's eve. We would have a big singing where everyone present who sang would have a turn to sing, and I think we would generally have a break during the service at some point and eat -- at least in later years. It was a time for area church people to get together and fellowship and enjoy listening to singers from other churches. It was something that everyone always looked forward to and enjoyed. We would sing the old year out and the new year in, and the service would end shortly after midnight. We would end with prayer and everyone would gather their sleepy children together and head home.
2012 is almost over and there is nothing you can do to go back and change what happened;
but we can determine to make the most of 2013 and not dwell on the past, but make the most of the future.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon