Relationship Rescue (Part 2)

1 02 2010

There was a “thing” going around in my area of the Facebook universe last week. You were supposed to change your profile pic to a famous person that you look like. It sounded like a perfect way to ruin a day – I mean, do I really need 50 people posting “You’ve GOT to be kidding!” on my wall after I change my picture to one of Wonder Woman?  Not really, so I didn’t bother.   But, oddly enough, I did notice that the same topic of look-a-likes was raised in the book of Genesis.

Jacob and Esau are traveling toward each other after years of separation caused by relational conflict.  Jacob sends a gift ahead of him to Esau.   He expresses his hope that Esau will receive the gift and forgive him, but he is incredibly  fearful that Esau is coming toward him to seek revenge.

Chapter 33 is the climax to the story, they see each other, Jacob is filled with trepidation and uncertainty, but Esau runs to embrace him, telling him that no gift is necessary and then we read this breathtaking verse 10.   Jacob says to Esau, “I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me.”  What an amazing and beautiful thing to have said of you – that you look like God.

Paul articulates the same thought in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 18; “We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord…”

We’ve all been wronged by others.  Maybe they did something that was unintentionally hurtful, or maybe what they did was so on purpose that it seemed like they were following a written plan on destroying your relationship.   Whatever the cause of the rift in the relationship, we see in Esau’s response to Jacob a pattern to follow when moving toward reconciliation.  Not a response of recrimination.  No demand for restitution.  But simple acceptance.

Would that my response toward others, those who are fearful, who are coming back toward home; those who have done wrong; even when it’s been directed at me; would be a response of such acceptance that they would say that I remind them of God.

Not all at once…

7 01 2010

I’m a task-oriented person.  I’m pretty sure, if there were a hidden camera on me I would be caught with a little grin on my face every time I checked something off my task list.  And oh yes, I have a task list, which is synced with my web-based calendar and my laptop calendar and my Smartphone calendar.  I am definitely list-centric.   It’s not a bad character trait to have,  it allows me to keep a pretty heavy schedule operating fairly smoothly.  There is a drawback though, if I don’t get The List completed by the end of today, then tomorrow becomes just a continuation of today. I have to finish all those items that are now in red, before I can begin the new day’s tasks.  That leaves less time to complete the new day’s tasks, so there is more carryover the next day.  Before you know it, I’m never working on today’s plan.  I’m always working in the past.

I noticed something as I’ve been reading through Genesis this month.  There’s an idea that’s repeated in the Creation Story that I’m “getting” this time through. It’s a good idea to pay special attention whenever God repeats Himself in His Word, and He repeats Himself a lot in chapter one.   “Evening came, and then morning:” followed by the number of days, the first day, the second day, the third day…is repeated six times in the first chapter.  That stood out to me, and I started to wonder, “Why didn’t God create everything all at once?”  I mean, He’s God.  He could have, in a single moment, spoken everything into existence.  But He didn’t choose to do it that way.  He had a new plan for each day.

The process that He modeled for us is one of renewal.  Each day was new, with its own unique purpose.  No carry-over from yesterday.  For someone like me, who struggles to remember that The List is supposed to work for me, not the other way around, it is a liberating thought.  At the end of each day is a period, not a comma.  When I wake up in the morning, it is a brand new day; Thursday, not Wednesday Part 2.  If God, in His perfection, chooses to do things in stages – rather than all at once, why do I loose sleep over what’s not done yet?  If I walked in obedience to the opportunities that the Lord placed before me today, then I accomplished what He needed done, regardless of what my list says.

So, I’m going to start putting periods instead of commas at the end of each day and I’m going to stop subordinating today’s purpose to yesterday’s plan.

2010 Challenge

31 12 2009

I finally rented the DVD “Julie & Julia” this week, I’ve been wanting to see it since it came out.  It contrasts the lives of Julia Childs as she began her culinary career with  Julie Powell, a NYC blogger, who decides to cook her way through all 524 recipes in Julia’s cookbook.   Though I’m sure it wasn’t the producer’s intent, I discovered that the movie has a great spiritual application.

I have been an avid fan of Julia Childs, my entire adult life, and she’s not my only chef crush. Martha Stewart, Emeril, Rachel Ray, Christopher Kimball…I can watch them for hours (much to Bill’s dismay). And cooking magazines – PULEEZ – I’ve probably thrown away 50-60 of them this week alone in my annual year end purge. This might not seem that unusual to anyone except my family. You see, they would be quick to tell you that they have yet to see any application of all my years of learning in the field of culinary arts. I understand & appreciate both the science and art of cooking. I know why cookies turn out differently depending on the temperature of the butter you use, however, I haven’t baked a cookie that didn’t come out of a Nestle Tollhouse refrigerated tub in more years than I can remember. All of my knowledge stays filed away in my mind, it serves no purpose. That’s where Julie has me beat. She read Julia Childs’ cookbook and committed to actually making every single recipe. Other people could see, smell, touch, hear and taste the results of what she was reading.

You can probably see the direction I’m going.  Our church is beginning a challenge for 2010 – to read through the entire Bible this year.  I can’t wait.  I love to read and my favorite thing  in all of life is to learn something new, especially God’s eternal truth.  But it won’t be enough to to file it away in my mind.  That’s not the purpose.  The point this year, in this journey through The Bible, is to apply what we read.  For other people to see, hear, smell, taste and feel the results of our reading.

In the movie, Julie’s character didn’t begin the story as a great cook, but in doing what she was reading about she became the great cook that she wanted to be.  The same will be true for us. In doing; in living out, the truths that we are reading (hearing) in God’s Word we will be the disciples that we yearn to be.

That’s the point of this blog.  To make sure I’m staying focused on the results of the reading.  I want to be a better disciple than I am a cook.