"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!'"
May 29, 2013
Earlier this spring my nephew's wife shared some pictures of their two kids riding bikes. It had rained and there was a big mud puddle going across the dirt road. Every time, their son would ride his bike right through the middle of the mud puddle, splashing water and mud all over himself and his bike. Each time their daughter make the loop, she would slowly ride around the big puddle. At the end of their bike riding, he was mud splattered and she was still relatively clean.
Another time, she shared that one evening the two kids were outside playing and she commented to her husband that she was so glad that the kids were big enough to be independent and play on their own without constant supervision. A while later, both kids came in covered in mud. Her first instinct was to scold them, then my nephew reminded her what she had said earlier. She realized that it was okay. The dirt and mud would wash off, and the kids had entertained themselves and had a fun time playing together.
I find myself getting a tad aggravated when I give Sammie a bath, then he goes outside and rolls in the grass. It seems like he will find the one spot in our backyard with the least amount of grass so that he gets covered in dirt; or this spring, he gets mud covered with all the rain we've been having.
When I pay money to have him groomed, then he comes home and gets muddy or dirty it is even more frustrating. I want to keep him clean and looking nice as long as possible. Last week I took him to be groomed, then over the weekend we took him to the country. Some family, who were also there, had a wiener roast and made s'mores. Melted marshmallows had been dropped on the ground, and Sammie ended up getting it matted in his facial hair. When we got back home I gave him a bath and he's clean once again.
Sammie is a dog -- and he tends to enjoy running around and playing outdoors. Yes, he's a house dog, but he needs the time to be outside to get exercise and run off excess energy and play and have a good time. And he's going to get dirty and need to be cleaned up. He's going to roll in mud and grass and act like a dog. If I'm not willing to allow him to do so, then I need to give him to someone who will.
(No offense intended by comparing children and puppies!) Kids and dogs were created to play outside and get dirty and make the occasional mess. They weren't made to be put in a cage in order to keep them clean and smelling like a rose. Dirt will wash!
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to play in the dirt. I had a small plastic farm animal set with some pigs, cows, fences, etc. Mama would let me play and dig at the edge of the yard by where we parked our car. She would give me jar lids that I could fill with water and pretend that those were ponds for my animals. The thing was, we didn't have an indoor bathroom at this time and had a wringer washer, so cleaning me up and washing my clothes wasn't an easy task.
Last week I was babysitting my great-nephew, Jax. He wanted to play outside and took a few toys with him that occupied him for a while. But then he saw some small gardening tools we had outdoors and the dirt beside our back porch. He asked if he could dig in the dirt. Sure! I knew that he would be taking a nap later so if he got dirty, then I could wash his clothes while he slept. I had soap and water to bathe him, if necessary.
In life, we're all going to get dirty at times. We can't mow, clean, do building projects, garden, paint, or work on various other projects or jobs and remain clean. In fact, most times we're going to get sweaty and stinky. But the dirt and sweat will wash off, and we can have the satisfaction of completing a task.
Joseph was a carpenter, so Jesus grew up working alongside His earthly father. After all, He was referred to as "the carpenter's son." He got dirty, sweaty, covered with sawdust, and got the occasional smashed finger, bruises, and scratches. I'm also sure that as a child, Jesus got dirty as He played games with His brothers and the neighborhood children. He may have been the one who jumped in mud puddles, instead of walking around them.
Peter was a fisherman. If you have ever been fishing, you know that it was a smelly profession. Very likely, he often smelled like fish and was muddy and dirty.
Getting dirty has always been, and will always be, a way of life.
Spiritually, if we are working and being productive, then there will be times when we're going to get messy, too.
Sometimes Jesus may ask us to do something that requires us to get our hands dirty. He doesn't call us to sit in a pristine cage, away from the world. Being pure and holy, without spot or wrinkle, doesn't mean that we keep ourselves concealed away from the world. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. We are to be examples and be like Jesus, which means that we will get involved in the lives of others; and it won't always be pretty and clean.
Jesus never secluded Himself from those who didn't believe like He did or who chose not to follow Him. He ate dinner with sinners. He befriended adulterers. He dirtied His hand by reaching out and helping those in need. Jesus visited the sick and ministered to them. Whenever He saw someone needing help, He did what was needed.
We should do the same. We should be like Jesus and not be scared of those who are different from us, or sick, or are from broken homes, or have tattoos and earrings and dress in a manner that we find unappealing, or have a prison record, or have made ungodly lifestyle choices, etc. It may require us getting our hands dirty; but we're washable! Jesus can renew our spirits daily and keep us clean.
In John 9, Jesus healed a man who was born blind. It's one of those examples that shows you can't always be picky about staying too clean or hygienic when something needs done. In verse 6, "He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay." The man had to walk to a pool to wash his eyes. It isn't obvious how far he had to walk, but he came back seeing.
I'm afraid if someone tried to heal me by rubbing their spit on me, I'd be rushing as fast as I could to the pool, not to get the healing, but to clean my eyes off.
This is just one of many examples where God provides a miracle, but not in the way we might expect; or even want. If someone today told me God was going to heal me, but He'd have to do it in a way that sounded 'wrong', I'm not sure I'd trust him. I might say, "surely God wouldn't do it that way."
I wonder how many people miss out on a miracle, just because it doesn't seem like the way God would do things.
Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars
2 cups chocolate chip cookie dough
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
You can either use chocolate chip cookie dough from the tub or one large roll. In a 9x9 pan, use half of the dough to flatten in the bottom of the pan to form a crust. In a small bowl mix cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust. Crumble the rest of the dough over the top. Bake in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until done.
The thinking of children is often humorous. Last weekend on the way to spending the weekend in the country, my great-nephew and great-niece were having a theological discussion about the old snake the devil. They were in the car with the grandma and my great-nephew's mom. They said that this discussion went on for probably thirty minutes. The kids said that if they caught that old snake, the devil, that they would cook him up and make a sandwich out of him. It made grandma and mom a tad nervous that if the kids saw a snake while they were in the country that they would try to catch it so that they could "cook" it up!
The kids had a great time and the granddaughter decided that she and her cousin should live at the country house. Grandma asked who was going to cook for them and she said that they could just look in the refrigerator and make a sandwich. I'm sure that would have lasted until about the time it got dark, then they would decide that they didn't want to live by themselves anymore!
In the fields of opportunity it's always plowing time.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon