Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New and Improved

Before I launch into the ramblings of today, a Spencer update.

Last Wednesday evening, Spencer Matthew made his first public appearance at the beginning of youth service. (As John and Joy are the youth pastors, this seemed a most appropriate debut.)

Joy wisely slipped out just before the sermon so that hearts aching to hold the young prince wouldn't be overcome. Smile. It's still flu season around these parts; can't take chances.

It was then reported that a certain junior Schreck attended the opening service of a leadership conference. AND a missions banquet where Dan Betzer mistakenly thought himself to be the main attraction. (Even though Rev. Betzer was the guest speaker, we knew everyone was really there to see Spencer.)

Youth! Leadership! Missions! All within his first two weeks of life. What must the Lord have in store for this young man?!

Whatever it may be, Joy feels certain it will require him to be awake nights. At least, that's what he seems to be practicing for right now. Poor Joy and John. They really miss passing him off to the NY grandparents after the 5:00 AM feeding!

As to my thoughts for this post.........

Have you ever noticed our North American fascination with the word "NEW"? It seems that we are all enamored with NEW or BRAND NEW or better still........ NEW AND IMPROVED!!

Why is that?

Several years ago, I was standing with a group of more established pastors' wives. I stood listening and observing; trying to sip daintily from a cup of punch; praying I wouldn't spill it. Suddenly, one of them turned to me and complemented my blouse.

(It really was a gorgeous gold blouse with a high collar that was pleated and rather unusual. The perfect accent for my otherwise dull, navy suit.)

Excited and eager to offer something to the conversation I replied, "Oh, thanks. I found it at a consignment shop in Raleigh."

Everyone froze!

I immediately sensed that my revelation had made each woman in the circle terribly uncomfortable. And I became confused.

Now in my thinking, snagging such a cute item for a fourth of its value should be celebrated! Careful laundering with my favorite detergent moves that item from pre-owned to totally comfortable.

But those precious ladies' first thought was compassion for another who couldn't shop unless it was in a consignment store.

(No, not pity. Trust me. Nearly every pastor's wife has had her season of being a serious bargain shopper! They should offer a course for all female ministry majors: "Credible Consignment Identification 101". Smile.)

I've pondered that moment many times through the years. We all love when something is brand, spanking new. But does that make it somehow better?

Is a vehicle better because it's new? "The new-car smell."

Or is a dress more appropriate because it's new? "You mean this 'ole thing?!" sans Scarlette O'Hara.

Do our cabinets hold dishes better if they're new? "Look at that wood-grain."

Is a project more important when it's new? "Now this will impact the world."

(I have no answers. These are just questions that have come to me.)

And of course, there is the flip side of having an inordinate love of all things new.

We can easily fall into pride over being the ones content with nothing new. I went through a season of being so proud of my "frugality" that it became a real problem.

While shopping one day with a dear friend, we came across her favorite pair of work shoes marked 60% off. The store even had her hard-to-fit size in several colors. But she refused to buy more than one pair because she was with me. She thought I would judge her as being extravagant. Sigh.

It was a wonderful teaching moment for me. And soon after, my heart went back to Paul's admonition. "Be content with much or little!"

It's not our place to determine how much is "much" or how much is too "little". Our job is to find contentment right smack dab in the middle of either. And the truth is - both require copious quantities of GRACE.

Perhaps the best "NEW" we could reach for is a "NEW ATTITUDE". Hmmmmm.

(Not sure why I felt compelled to share these thoughts. Hope they'll be an encouragement.)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! These words hit home, I love you and am thankful for the amazing way God uses you in my life. (year after year)