- THE SITUATION:
Ok, I am not saying what I did was right, i’m just saying I never made the connection. Allow me set the scene a little bit. The Washington DC area had just been hammered by the second major snow storm of the year and parking was at a serious premium. I was pulling up to church, where I work and two of my children go to preschool, and I noticed an open parking spot directly in front of the main doors of the church. Bonus! And, someone had even cleared a little path through the three foot piles of snow on the sidewalk, directly in front of that parking spot, so my kids didn’t have to climb mountains of snow to get to the other side. God was certainly smiling on me this particular morning.
- THE NOTE:
At noon I picked up the kids from school, to go meet Rachel at our normal drop-off place, and while the kids were climbing into the car I noticed something moving on my windshield. Someone had taken time out of their day to leave me a note on my car. This day was only getting better and better! Wrong! I guess the little path someone had taken the time to dig out was designed to let everyone get through to the other side of the sidewalk, not just the person parked in that spot. Duoh! Well, you can read below the kind words someone left me on my car. ”Thoughtless”? Maybe. “Jerk”? Ouch! Now that’s just mean!
The reality of this note is that someone was so upset with me that they took the time to find an envelope and a pen and craft the thoughtful prose you see before you. I am hoping that it was no one that works at my church. I was thinking about running a 007 top secret handwriting analysis mission to see if I could find the author. An experiment like that would probably end badly.
So, for the last 2 months I have kept this note in my car visor to remind me how it feels when someone says something mean about you, even if you don’t know the person. This note helped me realize that when I do something stupid I want people to handle me with grace. But, when someone else does something dumb I want justice done, and I want it done immediately! This post is a reminder to offer grace (unmerited favor) to the people around you because God offers it to us first, in the form of the cross! It also is to reminds us that words, both mean and nice, have real power to them. Proverbs 15:4 – “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Ok, what would you have said to me if you wrote the note on my car? Would you have been meaner? Nicer? The best, most creative, pretend note on my car will win a box of cool greeting cards and envelopes to write encouraging letters to some of your friends. If you haven’t become an RSS or email subscriber to the ordained barista yet please do so! You’ll never know how much it helps!
- SHOW ME THE MONEY!
Last week I went on a field trip with my son, Harrison, to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. This heavily secured building, in Washington DC, is where they print most of the country’s paper money. Once the money has completed the 10 day printing and drying process it is then circulated to one of the nations twelve federal reserve banks and then on to you and me. Well….? Maybe to you. Me?…not so much.
To be honest, I was more than a little skeptical about chaperoning 30+ 1st graders. I was certain that a bunch of high energy seven year olds, who are used to Sponge Bob and Nintendo Wii, would be bored stiff by a glorified printing press and stage a military style coup by snack time. Yet, most of the little munchkins were completely spellbound by the process of making all that money. It was a little surreal watching the money-workers finish a batch of $100 bills by loading them onto pallets valued at $64 Million dollars each. I would have taken a picture for you but 5 years in federal prison seemed to be a heavy price for a cool blog photo.
- HOW TALL ARE YOU WORTH?
My favorite part of the trip was a display that they had hanging on a wall in the gift shop. This large poster explained how much money you would have if you owned a stack of $100 bills that was as tall as you. At 6’8″ tall I am the same size a $1,860,000 stack of $100 dollar bills. So, can you guess what my answer will be the next time some stranger asks me how tall I am?
The poster reminded me of an article I read in 2004 that explains why the taller you are the more money you make each year. As a matter of fact, the study claims that for every inch taller you are than the worker next to you (same gender, weight, age and job) you make around $789 more per inch, per year! (Sorry Tom)
Every day our culture tries to sell us on the critical importance of our outward appearance. God, however, has a different standard.
- A DIFFERENT STANDARD
In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel God tells Samuel to go Jesse’s house where God will choose one of Jesse’s sons to become the next King of Israel. When Samuel shows up at Jesse’s house the first son he comes across is Eliab, the biggest, tallest and best looking of Jesse’s sons. Samuel says to himself, “…Surely this guy is God’s chosen one.” Well, just take a look at what God says to Samuel.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
- A REMINDER
Be reminded today that God is after your heart, your soul, and the part of you that will go on long after this temporary carbon vessel is turned back into dust. Don’t buy into the cultural lie that our main focus should be on the outward appearance. When our main focus remains on the outward appearance (of self and others) we usually neglect to nurture the part of us that God is most concerned about. Yes, nurture!
- JUST FOR FUN
If a money truck stopped at your house and delivered to you (legally) a $64,000,000 pallet of $100 dollar bills, what would you do with the money. The best response to this question will win a $25.00 bag of shredded money from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
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- Vienna Presbyterian Church
From where I work, at Vienna Presbyterian Church, there are four coffee shops within four blocks of the front door. Two of those coffee houses are Starbucks and one of them is directly across the street. I probably walk across Rt. 123 to visit this particular Starbucks once or twice a week because it’s close, I really like the baristas that work there and well….I like coffee.
- Starbucks Parking Lot
So, A few weeks ago, before “Snowmageddon” hit DC, I was rushing back to church for a 1:00 meeting and was delayed because of an automobile accident in the Starbucks parking lot. It seems that a woman, sitting idol at the red light in front of the church, had a seizure and blacked out at the steering wheel. When she passed out her car sped through the Rt. 123 intersection, missing all oncoming cars, and hopped the sidewalk. Her car then hit and launched an unsuspecting car that was sitting unmanned and parked in an unfortunate parking spot. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.
Today is a Reminder….You are a Mist!
Todays post is designed to be a reminder that our life here is a gift. The truth is, once today is over, you can never get it back and tomorrrow is promised to no one. The book of James reminds us that in chapter 14 verse 4. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” I loose track, at times, that my days here are limited and that I need to take advantage of every moment. So……..
Here are a few every day reminders that will make all the difference.
- Talk to God every day.
- Make sure you show your family how much you love them every day.
- Do something for someone else everyday.