Yesterday morning, I dropped by the local IHOP for a bite of breakfast. While waiting to be seated, I noticed the windows were covered with tags, filled in with handwritten names. Dozens upon dozens of tags and names. I didn’t think much of it, and I didn’t even read what the tags were for. I was seated, ordered, and proceeded to read the newspaper.
When the waitress brought my meal, I couldn’t help but notice her right arm. It was scarred past her elbow, well inside the short-sleeved uniform she wore. Her arm bore the telltale signs of surgery following a severe burn- random scars, the waffling effect of skin grafts, the inconsistent pigmentation that ran from dark red to almost white. It was hard to not stare, and I knew it was impolite. Accustomed to having people stare, she smiled and told me her story. As a child, she was badly burned in a house fire. Her life was saved by the physicians at Shriner’s Hospital Burn Center. At that time, her family had no insurance, and the enormous expense for the dozen or so surgeries she endured could never be paid by her family. She told me she owed her arm- and her life- to the good people at the Shriner’s Hospital Burn Center.
Then she told me that the restaurant was raising awareness and money for the Shriners Hospital. For a few dollars, I could get my own name tag and have it displayed in the foyer, showing my support for the Shriners. Impressed by her service and inspired by her story, I now have my own name tag in the window.
We all have stories of pain, struggle, failure, and success. I hope we are not afraid or ashamed to own our stories, and use them as a catalyst for good. The Bible says that we should always be prepared, with gentleness and respect, to share the story of the hope we have with any who inquire (I Peter 3:15).
The evidence of the waitress’ story was in her arm. Where is the evidence of your story?
(for information about donating to Shriners Hospitals, click here.)
Sorry for the bulk postings. I am importing some posts from a blog for which I no longer write…
Take a look at this fantastic video. It is an astounding display of cooperation, performed beautifully! Imagine the hours and hours of cooperation required to pull this off! The amount of individual skill involved, the commitment to excellence and helping one another succeed. When one succeeds, they both are successful!
In what ways will cooperation make your life / work / relationships more successful?
A fantastic resource for your personal study is found at MyStudyBible.com. It contains a wealth of supplemental information to aid in study and meditation and understanding of the scriptures. Published by Lifeway, it includes the entire Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, and at least half a dozen study aids.
I am not compensated in any way for my endorsement. I think it is a resource worth using!
What Bible study resources do you find valuable?
When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher gave us a special test. The entire class was excited because this test would have no affect on our grades, and would only take a few minutes. Mrs. Sara promoted this test as one that will tell who the smart kids are. She pressed us to take the questions one at a time; we were encouraged to answer every question in order, and to do exactly what every question said to do. Man, I was excited! I wanted to be known as one of the smart ones, so I determined to glance through the questions, answer the easy ones first, and then double-check my answers before I turned the test in to Mrs. Sara.
“Do not pick up your pencil or turn your paper over until I tell you…”.
“Answer every question in order and do everything it says…”.
“Don’t skip any questions…”.
Committed to my game plan, I skimmed through the questions. I read the words, but the directions of the very first question never penetrated the adrenaline coursing through my brain. I remember writing some things. “Easy“, I thought to myself. In my peripheral vision, I could see other kids working furiously. I was determined I was going to win this one! So I pressed even harder…
“Hmm…” One of the questions required me to stand up and say the alphabet aloud. So, I did. Snickers drifted through the room, but soon, another kid was reciting, then another. Another question had us say aloud the color of our socks (I think). “White…”
Soon enough, all the questions were answered, and I victoriously laid down my pencil, turned my test over, and raised my hand. With a wide grin, I looked toward my teacher, Mrs. Sara. Mrs. Sara didn’t look too happy.
Shortly, all the pencils were down, and the testing was complete. Because I finished first, I would now have my moment in the spotlight!
Mrs. Sara asked me to repeat the directions to the test. I answered, “Um, read every question, work as fast as you can, um, do everything each question said, um, don’t skip any…”
“Eric, turn your paper over, and read to the class the first question.”
My stomach sank when I read question one; “1. Do not go any farther on this test. Please put your pencil down. The test is over.” (or something similar- it has been 37 years…).
I missed the first, and most important question of the entire test. I was the first loser, the first to fail because I didn’t take the time to read and understand the first question.
No glory, no praises. Only emptiness and failure.
In Matthew’s gospel, Chapter 6, verse 33, Jesus is teaching about worry, and the fact that there is no value in worrying. The answer we often overlook in the frenzy of life? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
No hype, no glory. Don’t miss the answer to the first question in life. Seeking first the kingdom of God will take care of all the other questions. Eternity, hope, salvation, freedom, anything. It all starts here.
What areas of your life need to be filtered through Matthew 6:33?