Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
This was the focus for our concerts where each of us shared ways in which we could shine God's light using our unique passions and gifts. We encouraged audience members to do the same. We read Matthew 5:16 - 18 from both the NIV and The Message versions.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (NIV)
Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (The Message)
Call me a visual learner, or one who prefers creative language, but I just love the word pictures found in this passage when read from The Message. Think what you want of Eugene Peterson, but his rendering of this passage has really inspired me this year. I want to bring out the God-colors in this world! I want to prompt people to open up with God! Yes!
On Christmas Eve morning, as we reflected on 2011, we all shared experiences in which we were obedient to shine God’s light to those around us. From public school kids praying with hurting friends, to the workplace where we could just be real and conversations opened up, to befriending exchange students who weren’t always easy to understand, to tugging on an elderly gentleman’s coat and wishing him a “Merry Christmas,” just speaking the examples out loud encouraged us to continue this into 2012. Sharing letters that we had received, from people who had been blessed or whose lives had been changed, were even more inspiring. Sometimes we don’t even know when God’s light is shining through.
But recently a different section of the Matthew passage has been jumping out at me: “Be generous with your lives.” And because it’s jumping out at me, it also means that it’s being imposed upon my family, because that’s how I operate.
This morning I began reading in a book I received for Christmas, Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life by Keri Wyatt Kent. She quoted sections from Luke 6, first from the NIV, and second from The Message (ah, an author after my own heart!). We know this passage from the NIV as the section where we are told to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, and to be merciful. But reading from The Message made a few words and phrases pop out.
To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (Luke 6:27 – 36, The Message)
There it is again, that business about living generous lives. Definitely food for thought.
So if our family was into New Year’s Resolutions, I guess this would be it: To be more generous with our lives. I’m excited to see what 2012 brings.
And that’s sayin’ somethin’ because I’m not a particularly life-generous person on my own accord. This is definitely a God project.