Life Lessons From the Kitchen Cabinet
I could take you to the exact spot, along that Nashville highway, where I felt that dagger plunge into my heart as I drove home one afternoon. Words were the weapon—instead of steel—but they cut just as deep.
I fought back tears as I struggled to find a response to my young son’s comments he whispered, under his breath, from the backseat: “I wish you were not my mother.” At that moment, many words flashed through my mind: angry words, tearful words, words of correction. But I realized that a quick response would not carry the weight I wished to share. My son lashed out when he did not get his way, not truly understanding the significance of what he said. And I needed him to understand.
In silence, we drove home. My son tried to talk to me as I got out of the car and walked inside, but I remained quiet. I walked into our kitchen, opened a cabinet door, and retrieved a 5-pound bag of cornmeal. I asked my son to follow me as I carried the cornmeal to a small patio that overlooked our tiny backyard. He curiously complied.
Reaching into the paper bag, I extracted a handful of the yellowish-white cornmeal and flung it across the yard. The powdery plume quickly fell and settled into the crevices of so many blades of grass. Then I turned to my son, extended my empty hand, and asked him to pick up every fragment and return it to my hand. With an excitement that only comes from youth, he raced into the yard, not even hesitating before he began this impossible mission. I stood, with my hand extended, as he made multiple trips to place a tiny portion of the powdery grain in my hand. Finally, he tired of this task, admitting he could retrieve no more.
“Was this how much I threw out?” I asked. He admitted that the contents of my hand—cornmeal mixed with weed fragments—was not anywhere near as much as I had broadcast across the yard. We stood there in silence a moment longer. Then I told him that our words are like that cornmeal. Once we throw them out so carelessly, we cannot fully retrieve them.
I did not rush this conversation. I wanted it to penetrate the crevices of his heart and mind so he understood. I then reminded him of those hurtful words he said in a moment of anger. Those words could never be fully taken back. So, that is why we should choose words carefully.
Of course, I forgave my son. He was a child who behaved … like a child that day. But now, I see so many adults who also lash out and broadcast hasty words to any who will hear—in person, on social media, everywhere!
The third chapter of the book of James warns us of the power of our words—for good or harm. In verse 5, the tongue is compared to “a tiny spark” that can “set a great forest on fire.” I know we’ve all seen reports of wildfires that often start small but soon destroy thousands of acres, homes—even lives! That is God’s warning about what our words can do in a moment of carelessness.
But God wishes for us to speak words of life—not destruction.
A Story of Persistence – Thanksgiving Devotional – Nov. 21
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden, Crosswalk com.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:12-14
Here is a part of the Thanksgiving story you may not know. While the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October of 1621, it was not until October of 1777 that all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving, for the first time. At one point, our first president, George Washington, proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, but conflict and difficulties among the colonies put an end to its observance.
It was a magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, whose work led to the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday we observe today. Hale wrote letters to governors and presidents, and editorials in magazines, books and newspapers, promoting the observance of Thanksgiving. In 1863, after 40 years of letter writing and campaigning (that’s not a typo, she really wrote letters for 40 years), Hale’s persistence paid off and President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. Since then, every president has supported Thanksgiving. Forty years of dedication, persistence and passion, all to make sure that this country would celebrate a National Day of Thanksgiving each year. Impressive.
We can learn from Hale’s perseverance. It took her 40 years to accomplish what she set out to do. Just like her story, the Christian faith is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. Each day of our life is another day to choose between right and wrong, to help someone in need, to read our Bible and pray. As Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:12-14, Christians are called to persevere, to press on. Sometimes it can feel like an unrewarding task. It is hard, but important, to look to God for the BIGGER plan. What if Hale had chosen to give up after one year or ten years? Her goal would have been left unfinished. Press on towards the call of Christ! Endure! But be forewarned, just like Sara Josepha Hale, it may take 40 years to see the fruit
A solemn inquiry concerning our families
Author: Charles Spurgeon
‘And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place.’ Genesis 19:12
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 9:1–5 & 10:1–4
If you do not care for the souls of others, you do not know the value of your own. God’s people are a tender-hearted people. Like their Saviour, they cannot look upon Jerusalem without weeping over it: they cannot view with complacency the destruction of any; much less can they be careless concerning the condition of those who spring from their own loins, who are united to them by ties of blood. We love the souls of men. Like Doddridge, we dare say in the sight of God: ‘My bowels yearn o’er dying men.’
I set you down as nearer akin to a devil than to a saint, if you can go your way and look into the face of your friend or child, and know him to be on the downward road, and yet never pray for him nor use any means for his conversion. May God grant that no doctrinal belief may ever dry up the milk of human kindness in our souls! Certainly the doctrines of divine grace, such as election and effectual redemption, will not do so. Error may petrify, but truth melts. May we feel that no dogma can be scriptural which is not consistent with a sincere love to men. Truth must be consistent with its Author’s character; and he who has revealed saving truth is the God of love; he is love itself; and that cannot be true which naturally and legitimately would lead men to be unloving! May we be such parents, such brothers, such sisters, such children, that it shall be the first anxiety of our spirits that our children, our parents, our husband, our wife, our brothers and our sisters, should be brought to partake with us of the things of God!
For meditation: At best human love can only long to perish in the place of others (Exodus 32:32; 2 Samuel 18:33; Romans 9:3), but it’s the thought that counts. Are you really concerned for others (Romans 9:1–2; Philippians 3:18–19)? The best way to show it is to pray for them (Romans 10:1) and point them to the Saviour who died in the place of others (1 Peter 2:24).