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Archive for January, 2013

PB & J

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Micah 2006

My kids are messy. From the moment they came into our lives, our children have never been neat and proper. Every mealtime it’s seems like they say the same thing; “let’s see how big a mess we can make”. They drop food on the floor. They smear everything all over their hands, clothing, and hair. Food is discovered days later in places unimaginable.

From the beginning, we have tried to be good parents and role models. We have worked with them, training them to use the napkin or utensils, yet they still desire to get their hands messy.  We have asked them to eat over their plates and make sure not to stuff their mouths. We remind them to wash their hands and little faces, yet they always seem to wear more food than they eat.

One of the hardest times to be a parent of a messy child is when you are dressed up, preparing to go somewhere important. Over my years as a solo pastor, there were events where I would be dressed in my suit and be expected to look my best. It seemed like the moment before I would leave for the event, whether a funeral, wedding, or Sunday morning service, it never failed that one of my messy children would desire my attention. When those moments came, I would placate to their desire by leaning in, patting them on their heads, kiss their foreheads, but always keeping my distance so I could stay clean. They would always want more. They want me to come close and embrace them. They would reach out to me with their messy face and hands, so desiring to be in my arms.

If I gave into their desire I risked the chance of becoming messy. The chance of becoming stained with peanut butter and jelly was high. My nice, clean suit would become marred with crumbs and stickiness. In the back corners of my mind I would hear, “What would people think if I lowered myself to my children’s level and risked the chance of being stained by their messiness?”

It’s pretty amazing that God did that very thing. He lowered himself and risked the chance of becoming messy for the sake of his children and creation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17).

God loved his creation so much he sent his Son on a rescue mission to save it from the destruction of sin. When sin entered the world (Genesis 3), the world went from “Good” to “messy”.  Jesus reached down, lowering himself to creation’s level and became a man. As a man he became inundated with the messiness of this world. He touched the weak and wounded. He ate with the hated and loathed. He associated with sinners, thieves, prostitutes, and the lowest of society. He, being God, got messy for the sake of HIS beloved.  Jesus gave up all so we could be cleaned from the messiness of life. We have hope of being clean and pure through HIS sacrifice and HIS love for us; for you and for me!

If God loved me that much, why should I flinch when my messy children want my love and acceptance? So do me a favor, next time you see a child with peanut butter and jelly all over their hands and face, instead of backing away slowly or shoveling them off to someone else so you don’t have to get yourself dirty, pick them up and wash them clean. Because that’s exactly what God did for you and me. Thank God for messy PB&J faces!

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