Just came home from the 2017 family camp weekend at Camp Christian. If you weren’t there, you missed a great weekend of fun, fellowship, and learning of God’s will for our family lives. Ken and Laurie Muller honored us with practical teaching focused on becoming part of the “Kingdom Family.” Using Psalm 128:1 as the primary verse, they described our “one job:” to walk and obey. We also learned about the importance of balance in our lives as we had the chance to walk a “tightrope” that was simply drawn on the ground. Although walking the tightrope drawn on the ground proved nearly impossible, the balance in our lives and our families can be found through the three P’s of prayer to God, provision from God, and peace by God. We then had the opportunity to ride a “bicycle built for two” (really, we got the chance to ride a tandem bike) and learn how communication helps us keep our balance as a couple. We also learned how the three R’s (respect one another, respond to one another, and react to problems with love) help our family run like a well-trained team…with an honoring voice and attitude proving an important aspect of precision teamwork. We even had a visiting knight, William, who encouraged us to be strong in our faith by wearing the full armor of God.
You can see we learned a lot…and we had a lot of fun. I love to see families smiling, laughing, sharing, and worshipping together. And I observed of all four this weekend. As the weekend came to an end, Ken and Laurie gave us “carry out orders” to go. (How often do you get to leave camp with a Chinese takeout container?) This “carry out order” is a great tool to help us “carry out the orders” of our King, making us stronger kingdom families! Like a said, if you didn’t get to be with us this weekend you missed a great weekend of fun, fellowship, and learning how to live as a “Kingdom Family.”
Jim and Terry, thanks for organizing another great weekend. Ken and Laurie, thank you for sharing God’s wisdom in such a practical and meaningful way this weekend. And, thanks to “Bald Greg and the Dirty Pirates” (the name given our worship leaders by one of “bald Greg’s” students) for leading us in wonderful times of worship. I’m already looking forward to next year.
Imagine a lump of coal and a diamond ring. Both are composed of carbon and both serve a unique purpose. If a chunk of coal remains buried under 435,113 pounds of pressure per square inch and remains at temperatures of about 752 degrees Fahrenheit, its carbon composition purifies and its structure modifies to form a different kind of carbon. After this purer form of carbon is mined, a jeweler places it in quick drying cement and cuts a groove in it. He inserts a steel blade into that groove and hits it to cut the carbon into pieces. The jeweler then removes the cut pieces of carbon from the cement and places them in a lathe. Working with another piece of diamond as a cutting tool, the jeweler cuts the pieces into the more familiar shape of a diamond (Click Here to read more on how diamonds are formed). So goes the journey of a carbon from coal to diamond. In this sense, you may think of a lump of coal as a diamond in the rough.
Interestingly, diamonds are no more rare than other gems (Click Here), which raises a question. If diamonds and coal are both carbons and they are not more rare than other gems, why do we value diamonds so much more? According to howstuffworks.com, we value diamonds more than other gems because of marketing and ownership. Perhaps, the right marketer could buy his fiancé a lump of coal instead of a diamond ring and convince her of its value. Wouldn’t the ladies love that?
Still, if I offer you a bag of diamonds or a bag of coal, which will you take? I could try to convince you of coal’s value by saying it can help keep you warm and help cook your food; but, you would most likely pay more for a single diamond than several bags of coal.
Let’s face it, we have learned to value diamonds more than coal. We treat diamonds with more respect and care. We honor our fiancés with diamond rings rather than bags of coal. We honor diamonds by treating them with care and respect while we throw coal in the furnace for our own comfort. We honor diamonds by giving them value and treating them as precious while we toss coal aside to trample under foot or on the fire to warm up a burger. We have basically set diamonds apart from coal, stating that diamonds are of much greater value.
With this in mind, I have to ask…Do you treat the members of your family like diamonds or coal? Do you treat them with care and respect or do you throw them in the fire to use for your comfort? Do you honor them by giving them value and treating them as precious or dishonor them by tossing them aside while investing your best energy in other areas of your life? Have you “sanctified” your family members, set them apart from other people, and determined that they have greater value in your life than others? When we answer “yes” to each of these questions, we value family members as precious and treat them as special; we honor them like diamonds among coal. Treating family members like precious diamonds is revolutionary. Join the revolution—sanctify family by making the determination to treat them like precious diamonds among the coal.
This year Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th. Maybe you already have a plan to honor your mother. But, in case you have not finalized you plans (or maybe you don’t have a clue), here are a few ideas to consider.
· Get your mother a carnation. I know, it is simple and traditional… nonetheless, a good idea. Getting your mother a carnation for Mother’s Day traces its roots all the way back to the origin of Mother’s Day in the United States. Miss Ann Jarvis started this tradition on May 10, 1908. She sent 500 white carnations to the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church to be distributed to the mothers. She sent carnations in memory of her own mother, who held the white carnation as her favorite flower. Ms. Jarvis noted that the carnation symbolized the “virtues of motherhood;…whiteness stands for purity; its lasting qualities, faithfulness; its fragrance, love; its wide field of growth, charity; its form, beauty….” Go ahead and send a carnation to your mother and attach a card describing what the carnation symbolizes. If you think a carnation just is not enough, send your mother a whole bouquet of flowers.
· Get together with your family and honor your mother by sharing stories about the mothers and grandmothers in your family. As you share stories, look through family albums to find pictures of these women…women who helped shape your family and, ultimately, you. Make copies of these pictures and create a photo album of all the “Moms Who Paved the Way” in your family. Under each picture, write a short caption describing their character and contribution to the family.
· Write a short testimonial to your mother. Think of 2-3 ways in which she enhanced your life…or 2-3 characteristics you admire about her…or 2-3 ways she contributed to your happiness. Write them into a short testimonial along with real life examples that support them. Try to limit the testimonial to one side of a sheet of paper. Then, over dinner on Mother’s Day, read her the testimonial. But, you might need to have some Kleenex available for the tears of appreciation and joy.
· Create a handmade craft for your mother. You can make a handmade card or a handmade pennant that reads “Go Mom.” Create a sports card with her picture and stats on it for the sports loving mother. Stats might include “number of meals cooked,” “number of booboos cared for,” number of sorrows kissed good-bye,” etc. Or, you could make her an award for #1 Mom, a certificate of appreciation, or a gold medal necklace.
· One more idea…tried and true. Make your mother dinner. As a family, treat her like a guest in a fancy restaurant. Prepare her favorite dish and dessert. Seat her in the waiting area (living room) with her favorite reading material while you set the table–good dishes, candles, and all. Escort her to the table, pull out her chair, and seat her. Serve her and enjoy conversation while you eat. Maybe even share some fun stories about your life with her. Then, let her relax while you clear the table, wash the dishes, and clean up the kitchen.
What are some of your Mother’s Day ideas? Please share them in the comment section below so we can all honor our mother on Mother’s Day.