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

March 25, 2015

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

There's an old adage that says, "You can't fit a square peg in a round hole." We all know that to be true. If the square peg should be a lot smaller than the round hole, you may be able to get it in the hole, but it's not going to fit properly.

Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance who wanted you to like everything that they liked? They wanted there to be a common bond between you, so presumed that you would have the same interest as they. This scenario can go two ways: either you will end up being pulled into doing things you really don't enjoy, and end up spending a lot of time being miserable; or you will be pushed out of your comfort zone and find a few new things that you really do enjoy doing. But I daresay the former is more common than the latter. Most of us don't like being pushed into trying new things, being presumed upon that we have the same interest as someone else, or being pushed into a role that doesn't fit our personality.

Perhaps someone thinks because they like shopping, then you should enjoy it, too. Or someone may be into sports, and want you to enjoy watching or playing the same sports that they do. But just because someone thoroughly enjoys a particular things doesn't mean everyone around them does also.

At times we may become frustrated or irritated with someone because we feel that they should be more organized or be doing things differently. We may look at their situation or their home or their schedule and think, "If only they would do it like this, then it would make their life so much easier and more efficient!" If we're not careful, we may become critical of them because we become focused on their shortcomings or areas that may be a weakness, instead of looking at what they are good at and how they are efficient or talented in other areas of their life, that may be a weakness for us. Trying to get them to do things like we do is the same as trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; we're trying to get them to do things like we think they should be done, and think they're wrong when they don't.

I've heard some think that all women like to spend their time shopping. It's true that some do, but I do not. Granted, I like clothes, shoes, and purses and I like to look like I care about myself when I go out in public; but the thought of spending an entire day shopping sounds like torture. If I go shoe shopping, I may go to a couple of shoe stores and look around, but if I don't find anything I like, then I'm ready to go home and call it good.

There are women who wouldn't dream of leaving their house without first putting on makeup. Perhaps I should.... but I don't. I will put on makeup for church or special occasions, but otherwise could care less. On the other hand, I have been coloring my hair since I was in my early twenties and am not ready to go natural and be gray-headed. But there are others who are perfectly happy and comfortable with the natural look and their white/gray hair doesn't bother them in the least.

We're all different with different likes and dislikes and ways of doing things and various talents. How foolish I would be to expect all my friends and family to have the same interest and like everything exactly as I do. God didn't create us to be clones of one another; but created us to be unique individuals.

When we try and force someone to like or do or be something that is contrary to their personality or nature, then we're trying to force them into a role that doesn't fit them. It would be like me trying to squish my size 9-wide foot into a size 8-narrow shoe. If I should somehow manage to get the shoe on, it's going to be so uncomfortable and pinch my foot so badly that I won't be able to walk without limping, and will end up with blisters and sores on my foot.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing, and perfect will."

When we become a christian, we no longer truly fit in with this world. Our attitude towards sin changes, and we no longer enjoy many of the same worldly pleasures that non-believers do. It's not that we're better than the sinners, but our desire has changed and we want to please and honor God. Our goal is to live a life that is pleasing to God and to one day hear Him say, "Well done." Those who haven't committed their heart whole-heartedly to God don't understand and may sometimes taunt or mock us. But you can't fit a devoted man or women of God into the same mold that the world fits into.

Churches and christians who try to fit into the world, in order to better reach the lost and be sinner friendly, often begin losing their spiritual edge and begin compromising their commitment. They want the sinner to feel comfortable coming to their church, so they preach only those thing that tickle the ears and make people feel good about themselves.

Jesus was a friend to sinners. He ate with them, talked with them, and spent time in their homes. But never once did He compromise the message of the gospel. He preached that repentance was necessary in order to be saved. Jesus called sin by name, and didn't beat around the bush. He never told anyone that they could live any type of lifestyle they wanted and do as they pleased, or that He loved them so much that they would make it to heaven anyway. There is only one way to receive salvation and only one way to heaven, and that is through repenting of sin and accepting the forgiveness of God. Trying to get there any other way is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; it just won't work.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

We all have our place to fill. We can't expect someone to fill the same niche we like, but there is a place for them. And for ourselves.

At work, we used to make a good effort to make sure each new employee is welcomed, invited to lunch, and has a good place in the company. Lately, we've slacked off in that respect. We have quite a few employees that come and go, and many that aren't around the office very often. So we've quit making that effort to make sure each new person is welcomed as well as we should. Most of us have found friends we don't expect to leave soon, and feel comfortable in that little group, so avoid anything that might change it. My personal excuse is that I have such a hard time remembering names that I hate meeting someone, then not knowing who they are a week later. It's even more awkward if we go to lunch together the whole week, and I still don't know their name or what they do at work.

It's bad enough that we (I should say "I") do that at work. But we can do that at church, too. We can see someone we don't recognize, and just hope someone else will welcome them. It's hard, but I have walked up to someone I didn't recognize to welcome them to the church. Unfortunately, they had been coming for months, and I just didn't recognize them. But that just means that I should have paid more attention the first time they came.

ON THE MENEWE:

Delicious Pot Roast

Beef roast

1 package Au Jus Gravy Mix (dry)

1 package Ranch Dressing (dry)

1 stick butter

Place roast in a crock-pot. Pour the dry package mixes of both the Au Jus Gravy and Ranch Dressing over the top of the roast. Put a stick of butter on top. Add no water or liquid. Cook for 4-6 hours until roast is tender.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Recently, I was lying beside my 4 year old great-niece trying to get her to fall asleep. I had told her a story, then was singing to her to see if that would work. I sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'Jesus Loves the Little Children'. She stopped me and said, "Aunt Retta, how do you know the same songs that I sing in my Sunday School class?!" I told her that I had sung those songs in Sunday School when I was her age. "Really?!?!" I don't think she really quite believed me. I'm not sure if she had a hard time imagining that I was ever 4 years old, or that I would have sung the exact same songs that she is now singing in Sunday School.... or both.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. - C.S. Lewis

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org