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Friday, January 31, 2014

Matthew 25:35 In Action

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me"  Matthew 25:35 (ESV)

This verse from the Gospel of Matthew was put into action this past week in Birmingham Alabama. Many of us saw news reports about how snow and ice paralyzed some of our southern states leaving many stranded on the highway for hours with out food or drink.  The owner, Mark Meadows and staff of a Chick-Fil-A in Birmingham decided to put Matthew 25:35 into action.  They prepared several hundred Chick-Fil-A sandwiches which they delivered to stranded drivers.  What did they charge for these sandwiches?  Nothing. They would not accept anything.  Manager Audrey Pitt explained “This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit...”

If giving away food was not enough when the staff returned to the restaurant they opened the dining room to those needing a place to stay.  People slept on the benches and when they woke in the morning the tired staff was preparing breakfast for them.  This too was free.

Many people "talk a good game" but very few step to the plate and truly follow the example Jesus set for us.  Here is a link to the Fox News story about this wonderful act of generosity.

 God bless you Mark Meadows and team !!!  You showed us how Christians truly live. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reflection After A Tragedy

Yesterday a tragedy took place close to where I live.  A young man killed two other young adults and himself at a shopping mall.  Today everyone is busy discussing gun laws.  I believe that debate is misplaced.  While I do not yet know anything about the shooter, not even his name. I do know that the role of the family has deteriorated and God is either not present in many homes or at least not the center of the family as He once was.  Here are some quick thoughts.

When I was growing up my dad was home for dinner every night, spent quality time with us every Saturday and we went to church as a family.  Until mom had to go back to work a few years after dad died she was a stay at home mom.  While I lost my dad when I was 9 I treasure the time he spent with my brother and I. My family was not different than the others in the neighborhood, it was the norm.  Fred and Alice Tousey were not "super parents", they was "average parents" because all of my friend's parents did the same thing. It was expected, it was common place.

There was plenty of love and yes there was discipline. We were taught right from wrong and taught to respect authority.  If we spoke back to an adult my parents and my friends parents would take their child to that person, make sure the child apologized and then arranged for  the child to have some private time to think about it. 

Back in the day we knew who the parent was and who the child was.  There was no mistake.  Sadly, today some families seem to be run by the child.

Teachers, adults in the neighborhood and police officers were always right. If our parents got a call or visit to discuss our behavior the matter was dealt with quickly and effectively. The teacher, police officer or neighbor was thanked for bringing it to our parent's attention and we were corrected.

Today parents are too quick to defend their child and challenge authority.  Not back when I grew up.  If your parents found out you were punished at school, you got punished at home.  If a police officer paid a visit you were sure not to see the light of day for quite a while and probably would find sitting uncomfortable.  It was rare for police to charge a juvenile because parents effectively dealt with the issues.  It was also rare for a police officer to have to pay a visit to mom and dad.  That was probably because all the kids knew what was in store for them if that visit ever came.  Now a days because many parents have abdicated this responsibility the police and courts are forced to take an active role that is less effective.  The police were never expected and the courts never designed to assume the role of parent.

The fault lies squarely with my generation, the baby boomers. We became hungry for money, family was not as important to us, church was an after thought if a thought at all. We believed our children over teachers, police officers and neighbors. Now we pay the price. I hope and pray future generations learn from our mistakes. 

  I want to thank God that I had parents like Fred and Alice Tousey.  I hope future generations have parents like them.  We can all learn from the "Greatest Generation".   Let's make an effort to invest more time with our children, to make God the center of our families and maybe just maybe we can get our world back on track.  Let us pray.