The Parable of the Two Servants
There once was a man who had two indentured servants. One day a disagreement arose between them as to who was the greatest in the eyes of their master. So they went to the master of the house and asked him, "My lord, which of us is greater?"
The master of the house replied, "I will let you discover that for yourself. I will ask each of you a question and you must answer truthfully."
So the servants stood before him and he started to question them. To the first servant, he asked, "What do you do for me?"
"Sir, I work in the fields all day long to grow wheat for my lord's granary," the first servant replied. "Then, at night, I go through the house and fill all the lamps so that my lord will have light. For this you pay me a wage, but I hope that one day that I may earn my freedom."
The master nodded his head. He turned to the second indentured servant and asked, "And what do you do for me?"
"Sir," he replied, "I am an educated man. I am well-versed in literature, music, mathematics and science. I teach your children all that I know so that one day they may leave your house and make a success in the world. And when they do, I hope that you will grant me my freedom. In the meantime, you give me a wage for what I do."
Again, the master nodded. Then he turned to a lowly slave who was standing nearby, and asked, "And what do you do for me?"
"You know that I love you, my lord, and my only wish is to do whatever you ask," the slave answered without hesitation. "You bought me and I know that I will be a slave for life, therefore I earn no wage. But you are kind and merciful to me, and do not beat me as other masters beat their slaves. You are wise and just and kind and that is why I love you."
The master of the house smiled. "Then you are the greatest of all my servants and I will make you a free man."
When they heard this, the two servants were aghast. "Why him?" they cried. "We do much more work than he does. He waits around for you to give him an order, but we labor in your fields without orders, teach your children, and light your lamps. We work unceasingly and should be rewarded."
"Yes," the master of the house replied. "You do work in my fields, and do all the other things that you said. But this man wants only to serve me, not himself. He waits patiently until I tell him what I want him to do. His faithfulness has never failed him. He now has his reward -- his freedom. And I will place him as overseer, and you will be his servants. Because of his faithful service to me -- though he was once a lowly slave -- he is truly the greater."
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. (Ephesians 6:6-8 NIV)
Author Unknown (Source:
The Parable Of The Two Screws
Once upon a time there were two screws fastening a vital part of a gasoline engine. One of the screws was haughty and proud of it's shining head. The second screw was quiet, intent only on doing its job to the best of its ability.
One day a speck of rust appeared on the head of the second screw. Filled with vain pride of its own beauty, the first screw began to laugh at the second. "Your head is tarnished," the first said to the second. "Look at you. Your perfect luster is gone."
The second screw said nothing. Instead, it concentrated on what it was doing.
"How ugly you have become," the first screw chortled, "and how beautiful I have remained." Then it began to laugh so hard at the second screw that it failed to notice that it was working itself loose. Finally it dropped off the engine and plunged into a small pool of dirty oil below.
With the first screw no longer holding up its end of the load, the second was faced with doing the work of two. Meanwhile the first screw, now covered with grimy oil, wailed and lamented. "Just look at me! I'm dirty and filthy and all my beauty is gone. By laughing at the blemish on my friend the second screw, I worked myself loose and fell into the muck. Now I'm doomed."
Now, it just so happened that a short time later the owner of the engine started it up. He immediately noticed that something didn't sound right -- the engine was running rough. When he checked, he instantly saw that one of the two screws holding the vital part was missing. "Ah ha!" the owner said. "One of the screws must have worked itself loose and fell to the ground, but I don't see it. Maybe it fell into that puddle of old oil."
The owner reached into the oil and found the missing screw. "Look at you," the owner said. "You're all covered with grime and oil. How ugly you are. But I will fix that right away." The owner reached for a nearby rag and wiped all the oil and grime off the first screw until it shone even brighter than before. Then he replaced it on the part. Before he turned away, he noticed a little speck of tarnish on the head of the second screw. With the second rag, he wiped the head clean and bright. Then the owner walked away.
Finally the engine was started. The two screws, now equally beautiful, held the part tight. "Forgive me, my friend," the first screw said to the second. "In my vanity, I was so busy laughing at your blemish that I did not notice that I was working myself loose."
"And what have you learned?" the second screw quietly asked.
"I learned not to judge others because I have my own sins to deal with."
"Then," the second screw said, "I forgive you."
"Thank you, my friend. And rest assured, my vanity will remain forever at the bottom of that dirty puddle of oil."
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." (Psalm 32:1 NIV)
Ed Price (Source:
The Parable of the Push-Ups
There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending school in Utah. Brother Christianson taught at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson's class. Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over. One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"
Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."
Then Brother Christianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"
Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."
"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Brother Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."
"Do you think you could?" Again asked Brother Christianson.
"Well, I can try," said Steve.
"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," Brother Christianson said.
Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."
Brother Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday."
Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.
Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want a donut?"
Cynthia said, "Yes."
Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.
Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk. Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes."
Bro. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Bro. Christianson asked, "Scott do you want a donut?" Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"
Bro. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."
Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."
Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"
Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"
Bro. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"
Jenny said, "No."
Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.
By now, the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved. Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.
During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters located on the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked Bro. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"
Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your pushups.. You can do them any way that you want." And Bro. Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"
Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come in."
Bro. Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him."
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."
Bro. Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
"Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started among those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut? Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda..
Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?" Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Bro. Christianson, can I help him?"
Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?"
As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
Brother Christianson turned to the room and said.
"And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died - even for those that didn't want His gift. And just like some of those in this room, many choose not to accept the gift that was provided for them.
It was a warm breezy summer day in July and a perfect day for a walk. My first thought was to go to the meadow, a place where I feel comfortable and secure as if God's hands are around me. The meadow is a place where you can see all of God's handiwork if you take the time and watch closely, looking beyond the obvious.
Upon entering the meadow the first thing that caught my eye was the way the winds blew softly across the sea of yellow goldenrods. It was as though each flower was in sync with the other as they moved in unison to and fro in the gentle summer breeze.
The time passed quickly as I became mesmerized by the swaying motion of this sea of yellow flowers. I could hear the soft, soothing sounds of the bees as they flew from flower to flower. There was a yellow haze over the flowers as pollen filled the air, and its fragrance was sweet and refreshing. I realized that was God's way of helping the bees do their never ending task of pollinating the flowers of the meadow.
As I looked closer I could see the small birds that were clinging to the golden rods. They seem so peaceful as they rode back and forth on the stems, almost as if God had created this motion just for their enjoyment. What was actually happening was, they were being fed by God's handiwork. The wind was causing the bugs that lit on the flowers to become airborne and as they did the birds would feast upon them. It was as though they knew that all this was being done, just for them.
At the extreme end of the meadow I noticed several raspberry bushes which were blessed with an abundance of ripened fruit. Looking closer, under the bushes, were rabbits, field mice and woodchucks feeding on the ripened berries that were close to the ground. Just behind them were deer eating the berries, that were higher on the bush. It was obvious at this point that God was providing food for his creatures.
The day passed all too quickly but that was of no importance to me. The things I had seen were so beautiful and special that time seemed to have stood still. I had been lost in the overwhelming creations of God, and had learned that he provides for all his creatures no matter what their needs. I felt safe and secure in all that was around me, realizing that I too was a creature of God and that He was providing for me.
Sleep well my friend, wherever you may be . . .
YMIRon © YMIRon@aol.com (Source:
The Little Raggedy Girl
There was once a little raggedy girl who lived with her widowed mother in what could only be charitably called a shack, just outside of town. She had few clothes to wear and those that she had were worn and patched in many places. She was clean and tidy. Her mother saw to that. But, her schoolmates could not see past her ragged clothing and they enjoyed making fun of her.
The little raggedy girl bore the insults of the other children in silence. One little boy, in particular, liked to make fun of the coat she always wore. Like the rest of her clothes, the coat had seen much better days. It was an ugly green color with pulls and rawls all over it. Some places had dark stains that no amount of washing could ever remove. But the coat was warm and it was the only one she had, so the little raggedy girl wore it to school every day.
Christmas was only a few days away now, and it was the last school day before the long vacation. On her way home that day, a wet snow was falling accompanied by a biting north wind. It was cold and miserable. She was happy about her old coat and the warmth it provided. Still she wanted to get home quickly to the warmth of her house.
Several blocks from the school she saw three boys standing on the sidewalk. They seemed to be arguing, but she couldn't make out the words -- just a lot of shouting. Then one of the boys suddenly snatched the coat off one the other boy's back. The boy tried to hold onto his coat, but the other one was stronger. As soon as the coat was free, he and his friend ran off with it, laughing. The boy started to run after them but, in his haste, slipped and fell in the slushy snow, landing heavily on the sidewalk. The raggedy girl ran up to the boy on the ground. She was startled to find it was the very same boy who had always taunted her about her coat at school.
"What happened?" she shouted.
The boy on the ground was crying, tears streaming down his face. "They took my coat," he wailed. "Now I'll freeze to death."
The little raggedy girl smiled. "I doubt that," she said, "but you're going to get mighty cold before you get home. You might catch a bad cold and that's no good around Christmas.
Then the boy felt a gentle, soft hand wiping the tears from his cheek. "Don't cry," she said. "Here. Wear my coat until you get home."
"But you'll freeze."
"No I won't," the little raggedy girl answered as she took off the coat. "Mama always makes me wear this old sweater under my coat for extra protection. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. Now put on my coat and we'll walk over to your house. If we hurry, it won't be so bad."
Ten minutes later, the pair arrived at the boy's house and stepped onto the porch. "Can you come in with me?" he asked. "You look positively frigid. Mom always has some hot chocolate and cookies for me when I get home on days like this."
The little raggedy girl felt funny going into such a fine house, but before she knew it the little boy had taken her by the hand and was dragging her through the front door. Inside, the house looked just as nice as it had from the outside. Just as the boy was taking off the ragged coat to return to the girl, his mother met them in the vestibule. "Who is this?" she asked. "And just where is your coat, young man?"
The little raggedy girl had never tasted anything so good as the cookies and cocoa in her life. Her mother was far too poor to buy such luxuries. Just before she finished, the mother walked into the kitchen with a huge box wrapped in shiny red ribbon. She placed the box in front of the little raggedy girl. "Go on and open it, honey," she said. "It's for you."
The little raggedy girl opened the box. Her heart leaped into her throat. There, folded neatly inside, was a brand new coat. She looked up at the boy's mother. "Go on," the mother urged. "It's yours. Try it on. See if it fits."
The little raggedy girl took the coat from the box and held it out in front of her. It was beautiful -- bright red with a warm liner and a thick, soft fur hood. And there wasn't a spot on it. She had never seen anything so beautiful in all her life. She looked up at the boy's mother. She was smiling broadly. "I had bought that coat for my niece for Christmas, but I think you deserve it much more," she said.
Then the mother drove the little raggedy girl to her own front door. She thanked the woman, then ran into the house to show her Mama the new coat. After she had finished telling her story, she saw that her mother was crying. She put a small arm around her mother's thin shoulders.
"I thought you would be happy, Mama," she said softly. "But if you want, I'll take the coat back. See? I still have my old one."
The mother gathered her little daughter on her lap and hugged her. "I"m not unhappy, honey," she sniffed. "I'm overcome with joy. I knew that I would never be able to buy you a new coat for Christmas. Even used coats down at the mission cost too much for me. So I prayed to God that he would provide you with a new coat. And He did -- and a finer coat than I ever imagined."
The mother kissed her daughter on the cheek. The little girl could feel the warm wetness of her mother's tears against her dry, cool skin. "You know," the little ragged girl said as she hugged her mother, "I really am so very rich to have a mother like you."
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
(Romans 8:28 NIV)
Ed Price (Source:
The Lassie Dog
As Kevin sat intently in front of the old 19 inch Zenith television set with 'rabbit ears' and poor reception, his mother watched her little seven year boy move almost theatrically as he cheered Lassie on. "Go get 'em girl, go get 'em!" He'd look forward to each episode as Lassie would save the day on each and every airing of this show. His mother had memorized Kevin's question as it was sure to follow at the end of every episode of "Lassie." Per usual, he quickly spun around while sitting 'Indian Style' on the floor and asked, "Mom?, Can I have a Lassie dog? Please mom!?"
As she gazed into his eager eyes she replied, "Honey, I'd love to give you a dog like Lassie, but I've said it before--dogs like Lassie like to be outside and run." Desperately trying to convince him she added, "Kevin, I have told you over and over again that our yard is too small for a Lassie dog!"
Kevin appeared pensive for a moment and then excitingly exclaimed, "I have an idea mom! I'll teach the Lassie dog to stay by me all of the time so she won't get lost or hurt!" His mother appeared surprised that Kevin could creatively think on his feet so quickly.
"That's a really neat idea sweetheart, but Lassie is what's known as a Collie and you can't teach a Collie to stay by your side all of the time because they're outside dogs and I'm afraid your Lassie dog would run away. Do you understand what I'm saying honey?"
Kevin looked down and was clearly disappointed by what he felt was his last ditch effort to gain his mother's favor as it would relate to his getting his youthful mind's hero -- a dog and friend like Lassie.
Months passed and Kevin stopped asking his mother whether or not he could get a dog like Lassie. She noticed his increasing quietness and sadness with each passing episode and thought back to her childhood. Her parents surprised her one Christmas with a little scroungy mutt that she adored. She got this ugly little dog that Christmas when she was about her son's age and the guilt of not allowing Kevin to have a dog to be his best friend finally got to her. One afternoon after yet another episode of "Lassie", she decided, right or wrong, to give in to Kevin's earlier repeated desire to have a dog of his own. "Kevin?", she asked, "How about us going down to the dog pound today and getting you a dog? The dog won't be as pretty as Lassie, but I know we can find a dog that you'd love."
Kevin's eyes lit up like a 50 watt bulb with no lamp shade as he exclaimed, "Really mom?! Yes, I don't care anymore about getting a Lassie dog! Can we go now?", he enthusiastically asked. "We sure can honey! Put your shoes on and let's go on down to the dog pound and find you the perfect dog!" Kevin jumped up and hurriedly put his shoes on and headed directly to the car.
Upon arriving at the dog pound, she asked the old man who ran the shelter which dog out of all of the dogs there would be the most loyal and well trained dog for her eager little boy. Without a moment's pause, the man replied, "Oh, that's an easy question to answer. Follow me back and I'll show you the perfect dog for your son."
Kevin and his mother followed the old man back to the last cage on the right. "There she is ma'am. This would be the dog I'd choose and I'd already have her myself but we have a half-dozen dogs at home and just don't have room for "Fire." She was taken back as she looked at this homely dog with little hair as the mutt looked like she had been badly burned. After she got over the initial shock of such a sight, she asked, "Has this dog been burned and are you sure this would be the right dog for Kevin?" The old man looked at Kevin and noticed his eyes were misting with tears. "Oh I'd bet my life on it ma'am!", he confidently replied.
"Ma'am?", he inquired, "Did you not hear about the dog that laid on top of the little girl during the forest fire up on Red Bird Mountain? This was the dog that they featured in the local paper. This rascal saved the little girl's life and just about lost her own by covering that little girl with her body!" She thought for a bit and answered, "Well of course I did! Are you telling me that this is that dog?" "Yes, it sure is. No one has taken her because of how she looks and I would have put her to sleep but it's hard to end a life that saved one!", he somberly replied.
"Do you want this dog Kevin? Sounds like you'd have yourself a hero like Lassie if we brought her home." Kevin's eyes had full-blown tears in them now. "I want her mom! Can we take her back with us?" She quickly glanced at the old man who was moved to tears himself at this point. "She's ours sweetheart."
They took "Fire" home and she never left Kevin's side and was his constant companion--never once even attempting to leave the yard or run out of the gate if mistakenly left open. Every night Kevin would say his prayers when his mother would tuck him in and he never failed to pray that "Fire" would be healed and get her hair back. After about five weeks, Kevin's constant prayers were obviously being answered as the once terribly disfigured mutt's hair rapidly began to grow back. Perhaps it was Kevin and his mother's imagination, but the more "Fire's" hair grew back, the more she resembled Lassie.
Kevin's mother opted to call the old man at the dog pound as her curiosity was overwhelmingly piqued. "Hello," the old man responded on the other end of the phone, "Corbin County dog pound. My name is Joe and how can we help you today?" "Hi Joe, I came in a month or so ago with my son and we got the dog you named "Fire." "Yes ma'am, he replied happily, "I'm glad you called... been wondering how old "Fire" has been doing. How can I help you?" She took a deep breath and asked, "Well Joe, I'm curious about just one thing and thought you might know the answer. What kind of mutt is 'Fire'?"
The old man softly chuckled before replying. "Ma'am", 'Fire' isn't a mutt." Confused she continued, "If she's not a mutt, what kind of dog is she?" He chuckled again and replied, "Fire's momma' and daddy are both show dogs. 'Fire' is a full-bred Collie."
Brian G. Jett (Source:
The Flat Tire
My tire had a staple in it. Of all times for this to happen -- a flat tire. But when is a good time for a flat tire? Not when you are wearing a suit and you have been traveling for nearly five hours and, adding to this bleak picture, nightfall is approaching.
Wait; did I mention that I was on a country road? Okay, now you have the picture. There was only one thing to do: call AAA. Yeah, right. The cell phone I bought for security and protection in moments like this isn't in range to call anyone. "No Service" it says. No kidding!
I sat for a few minutes moaning and complaining. It's a male thing. Then I began emptying my trunk so that I could get at the tire and tools needed to get the job done. I carry a large plastic container filled with what I call "just-in-case-stuff." When I am training or speaking, I love to have props with me. I hate leaving anything home so I bring everything ...just in case.
Cars buzz by me. A few beep sarcastically. I hear the horn saying "ha ha!" I say, "You'll get yours!" Darkness begins to settle in. It's becoming a bit difficult to see. The tire is on the passenger side, thank God, away from all the traffic, but making it difficult to benefit from the headlights of passing cars.
Suddenly a car pulls off the road behind me. In the blinding light I see a male figure approaching me. "Hey, do you need any help?" "Well, it certainly isn't easy doing this with a white dress shirt and suit on," I said. Then he steps into the light. I literally was frightened.
This young guy was dressed in black. Nearly everything imaginable was pierced and tattooed. His hair was cropped and poorly cut. He had leather bracelets with spikes on each wrist. "How about I give you a hand?" he said. "Well, I don't know . . . I think I can . . . " "Come on, it will only take me a few minutes." He took right over. While watching him I happened to look back at his car and noticed for the first time someone sitting in the passenger seat. That concerned me.
I suddenly felt outnumbered. Thoughts of car-jackings and robberies flashed through my mind. I really just wanted to get this over and survive it.
Then, without warning, it began to pour. The night sky had hidden the approaching clouds. It hit like a waterfall and made it impossible to finish the tire change. "Look, my friend, just stop what you're doing. I appreciate all your help. You better get going. I'll finish after the rain stops," I said.
"Let me help you put your stuff back in the trunk. It will get ruined," he insisted. "Then get in my car. We'll wait with you," he insisted. "No, really. I'll take care of everything," I said.
"You can't get in your car with the jack up like that. It will fall. Come on. Get in," he said as he grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the car. Crack! Boom! Lightning and thunder roared like a freight train. I literally jumped in his car. "Oh, God, protect me!" I thought to myself.
Wet and tired I settled into the back seat. Suddenly a small frail voice came from the front seat of the car. "Are you all right?" she said as she turned around to face me. "Yes, I am," I replied with much relief seeing the old woman there. It must be his Mom.
"My name is Beatrice and this is my neighbor Jeff," she said. "He insisted on stopping when he saw you struggling with the tire." "I am grateful for his help," I said. "Me, too!" she said with a laugh. "Jeff takes me to visit my husband. We had to place him in a nursing home and it's about 30 minutes away from where we live. So, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we have a date." She laughed and shook her head.
"We're the remake of the Odd Couple," Jeff said as he joined in laughing."
"Jeff, that's incredible what you do for her. I would never have guessed, well, ah, you know I . . ." I stumbled with the words.
"I know. People who look like me don't do nice things," he said. Silence. I really felt uncomfortable. I never believed that I judged people by the way they dressed. I was angry with myself for being so stupid.
"Jeff is a great kid. I'm not the only one he helps. He's a volunteer at our church. He also works with the kids in the learning center at the low income housing unit in our town," said Beatrice.
"I'm a tutor" Jeff said quietly as he stared at my car. Silence again played a part now in a moment of reflection rather than the uncomfortable feeling that I had insulted someone. He was right. What he wore on the outside was a reflection of the world as he saw it. What he wore on the inside was the spirit of giving, caring and loving the world he wanted to see.
The rain stopped and Jeff and I changed the tire. I tried to offer him money and of course he refused it. As we shook hands I began to apologize for my stupidity.
He said, "I experience that same reaction often. I actually thought about changing the way I look. But then I saw this as an opportunity to make a point. So I'll leave you with the same question I ask everyone who takes time to know me. If Jesus returned tomorrow and walked among us again, would you recognize Him by what He wore or by what He did?
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart'."
Author Unknown (Source:
There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Addendum -- Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Epilog: If only we could all be more "Christ like" in our behavior...
Author Unknown (Source:
The Cradle, a Christmas Story
They left their home, the new cradle still swinging from the rafters. Night after night the aroma of fresh-cut wood had filled the room as Joseph had patiently fashioned the tiny cradle, using the same chisel and saw he usually put down at dusk.
Now Joseph wiped the tears from Mary's cheeks and shut the door behind them. "It'll be okay," he told her, as he cinched up their belongings on the donkey.
"Joseph, can't we wait a few days? The baby could come any time." She didn't want to leave home. Not now.
"We've waited for the baby as long as we dare." He was ready to get on the road. "We have to leave today or I'll be arrested for not appearing in Bethlehem for the census."
"At least bring the cradle, Joseph," she pleaded. "I want the baby to have something nice."
"No, it'll have to stay behind. The baby will be rocking in it soon enough."
Joseph tugged hard at the donkey's halter. No luck. "Come on, animal," he shouted, whacking it on the rear end to get it moving. Grudgingly the donkey responded. With one hand Joseph led the donkey, with the other he steadied Mary on the steep incline, slowly enough to accommodate her ungainly progress down the winding road which led from Nazareth's height. In the house above, the cradle hung still.
Five days and ninety bone-weary miles later, Joseph searched the small stable where they were staying on the outskirts of crowded Bethlehem. Mary's time would be soon now. He was careful to keep his lamp from igniting the old straw. He finally settled on an ancient stone manger for the baby's bed, cut from the wall of the limestone cave which housed the animals. He reached in to scoop the last gritty bits of straw from the manger's dank bottom. "That'll have to do," he muttered. He filled the trough with an armful of fresh fodder, which he covered with a folded blanket to keep the animals away.
It was well past midnight by the time Mary finished washing and wrapping her new baby. Now she lifted him gently into his new bed. Joseph put his arm around her shoulders as they gazed at the sleeping infant.
Mary touched the tiny fingers. "That cradle you spent so much time on would be real nice right now, Joseph." She looked up at the cave's low ceiling. "You could hang it somewhere. No baby I know has a cradle like that. It's fit for a king."
Joseph grinned. "Not every boy has a carpenter for a dad," he said. But he wondered. Why couldn't little Jesus be home in that cradle? Why does this special child the angel told Mary and him about have to be born in this smelly stable? A hill-country carpenter's home is bad enough. Why here? Why Bethlehem?
The answer wasn't long in coming. An older boy poked his head in the door, startling the couple from their quiet moment. "Is there a baby in here?" he mumbled apologetically. Then he saw the tiny child. Mary picked her baby up to shield the infant from his eyes. The face disappeared.
Mary's eyes mirrored Joseph's concern. He strode to the cave's opening. He could hear a distant call, "Over here, Jake found him!" In the darkness, Joseph could make out a handful of forms coming toward him. He gripped his stout wooden staff and stood resolutely at the door.
As they approached the stable he could see they were shepherds. Joseph's grip on the staff tightened. The oldest one spoke hesitantly. "Can we come in? We have ... ah ... come to see the Christ-child."
Joseph glanced at Mary. He could feel a tingle move down his spine. This was more than an accident. The whole fantastic course of events was far more than an accident. He nodded and stepped back into the stable. "Yes, come in. You are welcome."
The shepherds shuffled into the cramped cave. The youngest pushed in alongside the donkey to get a better view. They knelt. "God be praised!" The old shepherd spoke with deepest reverence.
"It's just like the angel told us," another whispered in awe. "'Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,' the angel said."
"Imagine! An angel . . . talking to us!" the old man interjected with rising excitement. "None of the uppity-ups in this town would lower themselves to talk to us shepherds," he added. "But an angel did . . . And the child is right here in a stable so we can come and see him." Rivulets of tears were inching down the shepherd's weathered face.
Joseph stared at the old man. "How did you find us?" he finally asked.
The boy who had first peeked in answered. "The angel said, 'Unto you is born ....'"
"Yes, to us!" The beaming old man couldn't contain himself.
The boy spoke deliberately, as if to remember the exact words: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior ..."
"That's here--Bethlehem--David's birthplace," the littlest boy interrupted. He thrust out his chest proudly. "King David was a shepherd, too, you know."
The older boy continued. " . . . a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
"The Christ, the Messiah . . . He's the one!" The old man pointed to the baby.
"The angel was very specific," the young man went on. "'And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'" He grinned. "How could we miss? We just ran into town and checked every stable until we found you . . . found him." The boy paused. "How many newborns in Bethlehem do you know with a cattle manger for a cradle?"
Joseph chuckled. So that was it. The heavenly Father Himself had provided a bed for His child. A special cradle. A sign to these crude shepherds that God cared for them too.
Joseph squeezed Mary's hand very tightly.
Dr. Ralph F. Wilson (Source:
The Color Of Friendship
Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.
"Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
"You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
"You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
Orange started next to blow her trumpet:
"I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."
Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:
"I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."
Purple rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."
Indigo spoke, more quietly than others, but with determination:
"Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."
And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
In the midst of the clamor, God began to speak:
"You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."
Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.
"From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.
Author Unknown (Source: