01 Jun

Passed over and overlooked

Sometimes in life it appears all the good spots are taken. There just isn’t enough to go around.

It sometimes feels like you are one second late to the produce stand and all that is left are the rejects. All the bruised and beat up tomato’s serve as a reminder that you know what it feels like to be rejected.

All the good jobs are taken. All the pretty dates are now married. The picks of the litter are long gone. Leftovers are all that remain.

Like the tomatoes at the bottom of the heap, you’ve been rejected, beat up and bruised and you too are one of the last ones left in the bin hoping not to be thrown to the pigs as slop.

While all the other tomatoes got to go on fun rides to their new homes and eventually get tossed around in a beautiful  green salad bowl, you sit and develop soft spots. Your unmet potential leaves you wondering what went wrong and what could have been.

You started out all right. You grew up in the country on a modest but healthy vine. You were nurtured and cared for until graduation day and you were then sent off to the marketplace.

Like the others you were excited to see the big city and the bright lights and all the world had to offer at the other end of the gravel road.

Before long you suspected something was wrong when all your buddies were bouncing into the hands of gleeful vegan lady shoppers who were delighted that your bushel basket was full of the good stuff. Natural talent. One hundred percent organic. Grown to be the best of the best. The pick of the vine that is, unless you aren’t picked.

You think to yourself, “What am I chopped liver? What did I do wrong?” The self doubt creeps in and the flies begin to swarm as someone left in the batch begins to rot out.

Life has dealt you the unexpected. What you had hoped for doesn’t come. The well wishes you received and the motivational speeches you heard growing up become faint memories as life alone in the bushel basket becomes reality.

Certainly it could have been worse. You recall life on the farm where fellow tomatoes who were savagely eaten on the vine by so-called friendly rabbits. Or worse, were splattered on the ground as they bounced off the back of the produce truck. So close, but yet so far.

It appears your lot in life and your destiny was to simply sit at the bottom of the bucket and serve as support for all the other more fortunate tomatoes that just happened to land of top. First in. Last out. Boy can you relate. You realize you might never make it out of here alive.

Next thing you know, they are pushing dirt on top of you. Somewhere along the way you faded out and ended up being brought back to your senses as you come to realize you are back where you started. You are back on the farm. Not in a pig trough but in the garden.

You over hear the gardener’s comment. “I can’t believe how lucky we were to find this over-achieving prize tomato. I can’t wait to see what it produces. If the tomatoes this guy grows are anything near close to his greatness, we are going to have a bumper crop!”

“The best? An overachiever? Who are they talking about? More like me?” Then it hits you, your life has purpose. Your life has meaning. While the majority of your tomato buddies found themselves at the end of a fork, you were hand picked, you were chosen to continue the legacy of greatness. You were the prize tomato! The leader of the pack! The one to carry the next generation into the future. Your life matters!

It is true, every tomatoes finds its end. And many just end up as catsup. No tomato lives forever. But yours was a great life. You grew up in an awesome family. You made the exciting ride to the bright lights, hung out with your buddies being admired by all the local ladies and then found yourself being chosen to carry the heritage into the next season.

You are not a rotten tomato and you certainly aren’t like all the rest. You’re simply the best and your life has the fruit to prove it. And to think that for so many years you thought you were a nobody, destined to be a vegetable.

But then you discovered who you were meant to be. You weren’t created to be something you’re not. It made all the difference in how you saw yourself. You weren’t rejected. You were set apart. You are a beautiful and amazing work of art, created to be a prime example of the fruit you were meant to be, not a vegetable.

You are not a nobody. You are a somebody that was designed to be the best you, you can be. There is no need to compare because you are very rare and amazingly unique. You can choose to waste away hoping to be like all the rest or you can come to recognize the role you were meant to play. To lead and duplicate yourself because you are the best you that will ever be.

 

27 May

A Fake or a Failure?

Would you rather be someone who lowers the standard in order to meet it or someone who tries to meet the standard but fails? One is a poser that pretends, the other is imperfect but insistent. One is fake, the other a failure. One lies. The other tries. Which are you? A fake or a failure? Would you rather try and fail or try nothing and succeed? Live as a perceived hero or a real hypocrite?

16 May

Don’t be an Asa!

If we aren’t careful, we can pass right by an opportunity for God to show up and do great and mighty things in our lives.

We have a tendency to take matters into our own hands and not pause long enough to seek the Lord in matters large and small.

As a result we get good but not great. We do alright on our own but miss out on what could have been if only we had invited the Lord to the negotiation table.

King Asa found himself under attack and rather than call on the Lord for help, as he had done in the past, he called on an old friend to come and help bail him out. It worked but more like making a repair with baling wire or duct tape than with the best of materials.

Asa failed the test. Asa was encouraged and given an opportunity to pause and remember what God can do but chose his way over God’s. It would have been best for Asa to call on the Lord in his time of need and then to step back, have faith and watch God go to work on his behalf. Doing so wasn’t a pass on responsibility but rather the key to gaining the best approach, one that would likely require faith and allow credit where credit was due, with the Lord not man.

Through Asa’s missed opportunity we are reminded to seek the Lord, trust His ways, not look to man as our provider but rather to rely on the Lord to see us through.

Asa missed his opportunity and it made him mad and bitter. It literally affected his walk with the Lord as he quit seeking the Lord altogether.

Lets learn from Asa’s mistake. 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully, not partially, but fully committed to Him.

Where will the Lord find you? Don’t miss your opportunity to see and experience God in miraculous ways! Don’t be an Asa!

28 Apr

Looking back

“Sometimes the best way to understand what God is doing is through the rearview mirror because the front windshield doesn’t always make sense.” – Brain Banks

 

27 Apr

Say and do or say not!

“Integrity has no appreciation for good intentions. Do what you say or simply say nothing. Don’t set expectations you cannot keep.” 

“It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

22 Apr

What an idiot?

Dealing with a fool?

To respond or not respond?

Say what or say not?

You have to play it smart when dealing with a fool.

Recognizing the level of gravity associated with the circumstance is the key to a wise response or none at all.

As my mom always said, “In the word ignorance is the word ignore. Ignore ignorance.”

The fool just doesn’t know what he doesn’t know or cares little about knowing the difference. He is wise in his own eyes and cares little about what is right or wrong so long as he gets what he wants. In the end, he is the ultimate contributor to his demise.

It is often difficult to know whether to engage with a fool or simply shake your head and walk away. Proverbs 26:4-5 can leave you scratching your head unless you learn to weigh the way to deal with the fool.

“Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭26:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/pro.26.4-5.nlt

Another translation gets us a little closer to understanding the best approach.

“Don’t respond to the words of a fool with more foolish words, or you will become as foolish as he is! Instead, if you’re asked a silly question, answer it with words of wisdom so the fool doesn’t think he’s so clever.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭26:4-5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/1849/pro.26.4-5.tpt

The website, Got Answers, does a great job of breaking down how to navigate dealing with a fool. Here is their advice:

Proverbs has much to say about fools. They despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 22, 10:21, 23:9); they are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15); they are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8) and scornful (Proverbs 10:23, 14:9). The wise are also given instruction on how to deal with fools in Proverbs. Instructing a fool is pointless because his speech is full of foolishness (Proverbs 15:2, 14) and he does not want wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 18:2).

The futility of trying to impart wisdom to a fool is the basis of Proverbs 26:4-5, which tell us how to answer a fool. These seemingly contradictory verses are actually a common form of parallelism found in the Old Testament, where one idea builds upon another. Verse 4 warns against arguing with a fool on his own terms, lest we stoop to his level and become as foolish as he is. Because he despises wisdom and correction, the fool will not listen to wise reason and will try to draw us into his type of argument, whether it is by using deceit, scoffing at our wisdom, or becoming angry and abusive. If we allow him to draw us into this type of discourse, we are answering him “according to his folly” in the sense of becoming like him.

The phrase “according to his folly” in verse 5, on the other hand, tells us that there are times when a fool has to be addressed so that his foolishness will not go unchallenged. In this sense answering him according to his folly means to expose the foolishness of his words, rebuking him on the basis of his folly so he will see the idiocy of his words and reasoning. Our “answer” in this case is to be one of reproof, showing him the truth so he might see the foolishness of his words in the light of reason. Even though he will most likely despise and reject the wisdom offered to him, we are to make the attempt, both for the sake of the truth which is always to be declared, and for the sake of those listening, that they may see the difference between wisdom and folly and be instructed.

Whether we use the principle of verse 4 and deal with a fool by ignoring him, or obey verse 5 and reprove a fool depends on the situation. In matters of insignificance, it’s probably better to disregard him. In more important areas, such as when a fool denies the existence of God (Psalm 14:1), verse 5 tells us to respond to his foolishness with words of rebuke and instruction. To let a fool speak his nonsense without reproof encourages him to remain wise in his own eyes and possibly gives credibility to his folly in the eyes of others.

In short, in negligible issues we should just ignore fools, but in issues that matter, they must be dealt with so that credence will not be given to what they say.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Proverbs-26-4-5.html

For more about recognizing a fool read

Proverbs 26:1-11. These passages have much to say about the plight of a fool.

 

20 Apr

They just don’t get it!

To my millennial friends who are prone to think the older generation just doesn’t get it and to my generation and older who think we know it all and they just don’t get it, let’s pause and give some consideration to the wisdom of King Ahab of old.

It is not that the Boomer and X generations don’t get it or think they know better just because they are older. It is not that the older generations aren’t excited about and don’t want to raise up the next generation of leaders. To the older generation it appears the next generation is unwilling to be apprenticed, mentored or pay their dues and often fail to respect and at least honor what those that have gone before them have sacrificed and accomplished in order for the next generation to take the ball and run with it.

Unfortunately, the older generation gets set in its ways, overlooks its youthful foolishness or outright failures and is unwilling to take the time to unlearn bad advice or change when new ways are better. All too often, the old dog really isn’t willing to learn new tricks. Being a life long learner could very well be the secret to finding the fountain of youth! There might be a reason that fountain has never been found!

Too often, millennials simply assume they know better when in fact they are unconsciously incompetent. They may possess knowledge but they lack the experience to take full advantage of what they may or may not know.

On the other hand, the older generation tends to believe it solved the puzzle long ago but fails to realize they are missing a few critical puzzle pieces as the table has shifted!

Wisdom is needed in order to fully understand and act on the knowledge we have gained. A wise person puts knowledge and understanding to work for good. This applies to ALL generations!

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3

The key is to fully understand, in season, as we are firmly planted. You can’t rush wisdom. Otherwise the sapling becomes arrogant, puffed up and proud. And unlike an old oak tree, it is unable to sustain the winds of life that are certain to come unless it is properly pruned from time to time. There are times we need to learn the lesson and then we need to be willing to adapt and unlearn lessons that are no longer relevant.

We need only look to the King Ahab for valuable insight on this issue. It is not a new issue and not one unique to the next generation. It is an age old issue. A generational issue, indeed. “The king of Israel sent back this answer: A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won.” 1 Kings 20:11

There is a lot to be learned and some amazing relationships to be built when the old warrior and the young warrior take the time to share war stories as iron sharpens iron. Not to judge, but rather to join forces and focus on the battle to be won. There within is the inspiration to fight new battles together as both generations strive to make the world a better place as they draw from real life experiences and new insights that shape the strategy for victory.  The willingness to listen and the willingness to learn can truly work together for the win!

08 Apr

Something amazing in common

What do Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr., Joan of Arc, Michael Jackson, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, George Washington, Mark Twain,  Betsy Ross, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley,  Alexander Graham Bell, Louis Pasteur, Helen Keller, Henry Ford, Steven Jobs, Ludwig van Beethoven, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Dolly Parton, Neal Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth and Tom Hanks have in common with you and me?

Are you ready? You might be surprised. Can you imagine what the world might be like if these amazing people, and many more like them, had never been born?

It is fair to say that some songs would have never been sung, some movies would have never been seen, some diseases would have never been cured and some lives would have never been freed.

You get the idea. Some people just make the world a better place. Can we not help but wonder if perhaps the cure for cancer, the leader of world peace or some other amazing life-changing idea may have been developing among one of the millions and millions of babies that have never been given a shot at life?

What if we were brave enough to look past ourselves and consider what might have been if every little egg and every little sperm, that ever met, were given a chance to change the world?

I can’t help but wonder if the world wouldn’t be a better place if we gave life a chance.

Where have all the world changers gone? Maybe they never had a chance. The potential to change the world is truly our choice to make.