“Find a cause you believe in and work with others to further it.” The matchstick suggestion this week sounds to me like the great commission. “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15, ESV). Like most Christians I financially support my church and Christian missions. Is that enough? The apostles took Jesus’ command seriously. According to early Christian tradition they traveled the known world telling of how Jesus brought salvation to all humankind. The apostle Paul’s travels are well recorded through Luke’s writings and those of Paul’s own letters to the various churches. But, what about us—you and me? We’re not out and about every day traveling around preaching the gospel. I have to believe as we as a body, Christ’s body, support Christian outreach, and individually live the Christian life, serving others and sharing God’s love as we go, we are proclaiming the good news of the kingdom.
Have you ever been to a quilt show? I was invited to attend by Paula (another friend named Paula). I knew her as the administrative assistant at Home Hospice, so was surprised to learn she was also a master quilter who had given lessons for years. She was being honored at the show. Paula’s personal quilts and those of many she had taught were hanging near the ceiling of the large hall. Other quilts were displayed for judging in rows up and down the room. So many were absolutely gorgeous! How was I going to choose my favorite? It’s like when someone asks me what my favorite scripture is. No way can I choose just one. I was tempted to pick the quilt made for a local horse farm but finally settled on a colorful starburst pattern with a large variety of intricate stitching. It’s wonderful to realize that creativity is a gift from God and can be expressed in so many different ways.
This is not going to be easy. “Surround yourself with scents that invoke happy memories for you.” That’s the matchstick suggestion for this week. I don’t think they have candles or soaps that smell like horse breath. You may think horse breath sounds yucky but it doesn’t. It smells like sweet grass hay and, well, like horse, one of my favorite smells. I also like the smell of saddle leather. Those are the scents that bring back many happy memories of my horse riding days. I’ll just have to settle for the lavender soap my neighbor gave me for picking up her mail and the scented candles others have given me for one reason or another. I could fry up some of that fresh okra my friends Jerry and Paula gave me from their garden. That’s a scent I love and it reminds me of my mother’s and grandmother’s cooking. Aren’t we happy God gave us the sense of smell! Well, most of the time anyway.
While sawing up a large dead limb so I could drag the pieces to the brush pile, I was reminded of how I got my chainsaw. Several years ago when my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said, “I want a chainsaw.” Ed smiled at that, but that’s what I got. It’s one of the smaller, battery-operated chainsaws, which I can handle quite well. One of my sons-in-law thought it would be a funny joke on his family for them to guess what I got for my birthday. So at his next family gathering he offered a $100 bill to anyone who came up with the right guess. He felt pretty safe he wouldn’t lose any money. What an incentive though! Guesses came from everyone, all wrong, until one of his granddaughters said, “A power tool.” Bill felt that was close enough, so with a wry grin, he handed over the money. As it turned out, of all who were there, she was the one who needed the money the most. God works in mysterious ways!
As practically everyone I know is younger than me, I should be able to do this week’s matchstick suggestion without a problem. “Mentor a younger person.” Whether we like it or not, we are all mentors because we are all role models. How we live and conduct ourselves every day affects those around us. That old excuse, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” is wrong. That subject came up one time when my mother and I were talking. She said she was too old to be a role model anymore. I disagreed. I said you will always be my role model. You are showing me how to grow old gracefully and courageously with strong faith in God. And, that’s what she did, right up to the day she died.
We are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, but we are to share the gospel message in a secular world. Even the people the apostle Paul preached to had some semblance of religion, though in most cases pagan. Now, today, in many circumstances if you mention God in any form except as part of a curse, at best you are looked upon as a rather quaint person who still believes in mythology. I encountered this attitude in grad school and I was studying religion! Not all those studying religion are believers I learned. How do we approach people with the gospel then? I believe it must be through sharing God’s love with them. We have to be the most honest, giving and forgiving, loving person they know. And, so we aren’t caught up in this world ourselves, staying close to God through Bible study, meditation and prayer is vital.
“Where are we going for dinner?” or “supper” when Jerry asks that question. I wasn’t sure if they would go for it, but I suggested a restaurant in Saint Jo, a little town 25 miles west of Gainesville. Cowgirl artist Donna Howell Sickles’ art gallery is there, along with the Lazy Heart restaurant. So we loaded up in Jerry’s SUV and went on Saturday. It was one of those hot Texas summer days, but cool in the gallery and restaurant. After touring through the gallery’s wonderful Western paintings and sculpture, all of which we couldn’t afford, we walked past the gun shop and the custom boot shop to the Lazy Heart. We were early and it was quiet, but not for long. I couldn’t believe it. The owner of the restaurant recognized Jerry immediately and came over to talk. Then another couple came in who knew Jerry and Billie Jean. Then another and then another. It seems we’re going to have to go a lot farther than 25 miles if we want a quiet sit-down meal. Paula and I are used to having our meals interrupted for those two extroverts, but 25 miles away from home?