Page 267 began early as I headed into work to get the cleaning and building prep done so I could begin mowing around the building before school began for the day. I do my best to not be a distraction to the students who are in the building as I remember a long time ago watching the maintenance staff mow lawns as I sat in an early elementary classroom. I suppose the teacher had other things she expected me to be doing, but none of it was as fascinating as watching the tractor pulling a multi-gang reel mower across the lawn. So I start mowing before the sun is up, and in doing so I deprive these young students from watching the grass clippings fly as I go by their classroom window. 🙂 When I think about how easy it can be to distract young students, my mind took me to the warning of Jesus that we should not cause one of these “little ones” to stumble.
Once the school day began I headed away from the building and finished the mowing for the week. As I mowed, my mind reflected on the allegiance I have to Christ. It seems like every time I look through my social media sites, I can’t avoid new commentary about sports figures who choose not to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of their sporting event. While I believe that we ought to show respect for what the anthem represents within our nation and that we ought to honor those who defend, and have defended with their lives, the way of life we enjoy as Americans, I become appalled at the tone of the verbal attacks against individuals by those claiming to be Christian. So I began to wonder as I mowed, “What if every Christian had a greater passion for pledging, and living, an allegiance to God than they do for anything else?”. If my true allegiance is to God, it will show in the way I respond to things I agree with and things I disagree with. The respect I have for God ought to be visible in the respect I show to others. If Christians cannot be respectful in our conversations with people and about people, how can we expect any level of respect to be present in our society? We have become such an angry society and while we express it in different ways, our anger often keeps us from even attempting to understand the anger of others. “They” do something we find disrespectful and somehow we believe that gives us permission to have no respect for them. Our lack of respect makes them even more disrespectful and on and on the cycle goes — at least until the faithful people of God stand up and say with their actions that their respect for God will compel them to have respect for others.
After finishing the mowing, I headed inside and took a first look at the lesson material for next week’s 1st through 3rd grade class I teach. I always like to go through the material early enough to let the lesson theme and scripture soak into my mind so God can bring out what He wants shared. By mid-afternoon it was time for a late lunch so I stopped by KFC and then took a quick walk along the river in Mishawaka. It wouldn’t be much of a productive walk without taking my camera and as I did so today I got a few shots I liked. One of those photos was of a leaf floating down the river. If I were to title the picture which made today’s page, I would call it “The Heart of Fall”. After my walk, I headed back to work and began the Friday evening cleaning to get the building ready for Sunday. When I collected trash from throughout the building and took it out, there were deer playing on the back lawn. I enjoy seeing them out and for the most part, they seem to be somewhat used to seeing me.
I pray that you and I would seek to live life in a way that isn’t a distraction to others as they pursue God. I pray that we would guard our mouth and our keyboard when others don’t act in the way we think they ought to. I pray that we would live in a way that gives respect and honor to God. I pray that our respect of God would be seen in the way we treat others with respect. I pray that we would learn to listen with understanding when we, and the people around us, are filled with anger. I pray that our allegiance to God would be seen in the way we deal with anger — both ours and that of others.