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Archive for the ‘Short Messages’ Category

Don’t Steal from Your Kids by Giving Them too Much

I know a loving mom who does just about everything to make sure her kids are happy every second of the day. If there isn’t the type of food they like in the fridge, she runs to the store to buy it. Whenever the newest electronic device comes out, she makes sure they’re the first to own it.

Of course, she refrains from requiring any chores out of them, because she knows they work hard at school. Besides, it upsets them when she asks them to help.

Unfortunately, and unintentionally, mom is stealing from her children. They are two of the most miserable human beings on earth. They walk around; actually they sit around most of the time, with scowls on their faces. Because mom has stolen their self-esteem and gotten them hooked on stuff, nothing seems to bring happiness or contentment. Everything is “stupid” or “boring.”

When we train our kids to believe that getting stuff is the key to happiness, might we be stealing their lifelong joy and sense of fulfillment? In our CD, From Innocence to Entitlement, we teach that true contentment comes from earning things rather than being showered with them.

To protect your children from this type of insidious theft, experiment with the following:

  • The next time your child wants something, ask, “How do you think you might earn that?”
  • Instead of taking on the problem of affording the item, say, “You may have that as soon as you can afford it.”
  • Give them some ideas about how they might earn the required cash, and give yourself a pat on the back for not giving in.
  • Notice how proud they are when they earn things through good old-fashioned perspiration.
[Jim Fay]

Heavenly Rates

A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates.

St. Peter says, "Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in."

"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."

That’s wonderful," says St. Peter, "that’s worth three points!"

"Three points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."

"Terrific!" says St. Peter, "that’s certainly worth a point."

"One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."

"Fantastic, that’s good for two more points," he says.

"TWO POINTS!!" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!"

"Come on in!"

The Barefoot Pastor

The pastor of the church I attended as a young man was a distinguished, dignified and always impeccably dressed man who also happened to have a warm and compassionate heart. He was so formal and well-groomed that newcomers would expect this tall, handsome man with a PhD from an Ivy League school serving a large, affluent suburban church to be cold and distant. But he wasn’t; he was warm and sincere.

Then I had one lesson in how he remained that way.

I signed on to serve as Scripture reader, and on the first Sunday sat on a chair behind the pastor’s podium. It was rather large, semi-circular pulpit with a chair directly behind it. The pastor entered and sat down. He was, as always, impeccably dressed: blue pinstriped business suit, silk tie carefully knotted, starched white shirt with cufflinks, and on his feet, black shoes polished like mirrors. This was not a man who wore a Rolex or drove a Porsche. But he was always careful to dress well, from his pocket handkerchief to his tiepin.

Then, just before the sermon, I watched the pastor reach down and untie both of his expensive leather dress shoes. He slid his feet out of them, and then reached under the cuffs of his tailored suit. He pulled off his black dress socks as well. I was completely bewildered. He then pushed both shoes and socks to the side and stood up for his sermon. No one else knew it, but our dignified, dapper, classy pastor preached his sermon barefoot, in his tailored suit and silk tie.

When the sermon was over, he unobtrusively pulled on both shoes and socks, and left the podium.

I said nothing and just assumed he had reasons of his own. Perhaps his feet hurt? I forgot about it, especially as it did not happen again for the next few Sundays.

Then, two months later, I noticed the pastor sliding his feet out of a pair of spit-polished tasselled loafers, followed again by the socks. I was again confused and slightly amused by the contrast between the fancy business suit and the soles of his bare feet which appeared when he leaned forward with enthusiasm.

After the service ended, I went up to the still barefoot minister and respectfully asked why he did this.

The pastor looked slightly embarrassed, picked up the shoes and socks and told me a story from his student years:

"My seminary professor told me I was a fine preacher, but that I had one fault. I was too arrogant. Too proud. I remembered that. And I remember my roots, too."

He then told me that he had grown up as a janitor’s son and took his shoes off when he visited his Dad. Those were his roots. In the years since, he had earned several degrees and his gifts had brought him to this church. He was successful and praised, but he never wanted to forget where he came from.

"Whenever I start getting too proud and smug, I look down at my shiny Brooks Brothers shoes and fancy socks and realize it’s time to take off my "successful well-dressed suit-and-tie pastor" feet and put on the feet of a janitor’s boy. It keeps me humble. It’s hard to be smug when I’m barefoot."

And with that the pastor grinned, put on his Italian tasselled shoes and socks and left the pulpit.

"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 NLT

©2004 Ken Wells