Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Look for the helpers

Our two year old grandson pointed out to me a place on the wall where light and dark had created a design. "What is that?" he asked.
"Just a shadow," I replied.
"That's scary," he said.  He is not sure what "scary" means, but he heard in some conversation or a children's book that shadows are something of which to be afraid.  And I prayed that he would not be paralyzed by what has no substance at all.

I feel like I have wasted a lot of my life being afraid of shadows. 

When one of our daughters was five, she was reciting the Ten Commandments.  She had named most of them, when she hesitated for just a minute.  I could almost see the gears in her brain moving.  "Do not ...," she started.  And then with great excitement and a strike of brilliance on her part, she finished, "Do not be afraid!"

"That is not one of the Ten Commandments," I pointed out.

"Well, it should be," she said.

Indeed, woven throughout history and throughout Scripture, God says, "Do not be afraid."  Because fear paralyzes us from doing what is good and right. It attempts to extinguish every vestige of hope.  And fear keeps us from trusting our sovereign God.  Trusting God opens doors.

Many people know of Fred Rogers as a beloved children's television pioneer. What few people realize is that Mr. Rogers, as he was known, was first a Presbyterian minister who desired to teach and display moral truth in pictures and stories that small children could understand.

"When I was a boy," said Mr. Rogers, "and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping."

Stories are how moral imagination grows in the hearts of children.  This is what doing what is right looks like.  This is what telling the truth looks like.  This is what being kind looks like.  By seeing morals played out in stories, a child learns not just what they are, but how to do it too.

"Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping."

This is how to respond.  Don't just look for the helpers, be one.

"If we do not do the running steadily
                   in the little ways,
we shall do nothing in the crisis."

                   Oswald Chambers
                   My Utmost for His Highest

That which is sewn stitch by stitch into the fabric of our everyday lives is evident in time of dire need.  What am I practicing? Fear?  Or the grace of God even in this daily task?  Even in this daunting appointment? Am I aware of others? Am I learning how to respond? 

As for you, brothers,
do not grow weary in doing good.

                   2 Thessalonians 3. 13

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