I know you young people feel sorry for older ones like me when you see gray hair (or no hair) and wrinkles sprouting up like Spring wildflowers in the mountains.
Don’t waste your sorrow. We’ve lived through a lot of things you’ll never experience. Some really cheesy television, for example.
When I was seven or eight years old, I used to love the adventures of Superman on tv. Sometimes I’ll flash back to the past on You Tube and watch part of an episode.
These days those, I kind of cringe and laugh. You’d have to be eight-years old to take any of that seriously.
The thing I couldn’t understand about Superman, though, was why he didn’t let people know who he was. Louis Lane would have been impressed if she had known that the milk-toast colleague that she ran around with, reporter Clark Kent, was the mighty Superman.
As a matter of fact, old Lois must have been a bit slow between the ears because even the eight-year old version of me saw that Clark Kent looked a lot like Superman.
I really don’t understand students today. They claim they’re bored in class. I can’t comprehend that.You’re only bored when your heart is not in it. I remember once that I was almost bored. It was Springtime and the room was very warm—a classic scenario for boredom. But because I was looking for educational opportunities, I was rewarded.Barbara, who sat at the desk just in front of me, had taken off her shoes because of the heat. So, I “accidentally” dropped my pencil, then when I bent down to pick it up, I swiped one of her shoes.
So far, so good. I passed it to a friend, who passed it to someone else, who … well, you get the picture.
Finally, the bell rang, sounding the end of their misery for less motivated students. Several of those around Barbara hid their grins. She tried to slip on her shoes but, of course, one was missing. She looked for it but she understood what was up pretty quickly, and she appealed to a higher authority, our eight-grade teacher, Miss Mary.
“Miss Mary, someone took my shoe.” Many eyes fell upon me because of my geographical proximity to the crime (and my reputation). But friend, if ever an angel had a more innocent look on his face than I did that day, it would be a miracle.
“Miss Mary, I don’t have it.” Which was true. She didn’t ask how it disappeared. She asked who had it, and I didn’t know anymore. It wasn’t innocent me.
Finally, the patient teacher said, “Okay, who’s got it?” Someone a row or two over, towards the front, surrendered it. Miss Mary had a laugh and I think even Barbara did (it wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened to her).
My theory is that if you’re bored in class it’s just a lack of motivation and imagination.
(Attention! Don’t ever try this in a class where the teacher is a grouch. You might end up with a problem bigger than boredom!)
Do You Have A Shoe Missing?
Can I ask you something rather personal? Do you have any shoes missing? I have the feeling that the devil has slipped in and stolen some things that belong to us, just like I swiped Barbara’s shoe.
Part of Jesus’ legacy to his church was peace, peace with God and peace at the core of our being. “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” (from John 14–the Message)
But how often has the enemy stolen this from us?
Joy comes with the package—not just emotional joy but a joy from the Holy Spirit that’s a part of us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22)
Yet depression often saps our life force. The devil has stolen our shoe and he’s over in the corner snickering about it.
So what do we do? Yell for the Teacher! “O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.” Ps. 141:1
And you know what He says to us a good percentage of the time? “Here’s my sword (the Word of God). You have my shield of faith, and the armor of my Spirit (Eph. 6). YOU go get it back!
“Hmmm… I was kind of hoping you would do it, Lord.”
It’s easy to lie there like a shivering mass of scared jello, but the Lord wants us to take the arms that he has given us and go take back the shoes the devil has stolen. Growth comes from combat.
Lost peace? Go get it! Stolen dreams, smashed joy, lost control, zero fruitfulness?????
Go get them back!
The shoe needs to be on the other foot—yours! God gave it to you.
Some of you pastors have confessed to using Coffee Stains ideas for messages and talks. What about taking this one and developing it in conjunction with Ruth 4:5-9? My former pastor, Jerry Van Horn, once preached a message called, “The Day the Lord Took the Shoes Off the Devil,” based on this passage. (Hint: Boaz=Christ and Ruth=the Church)
A shrill whistle pierces the bubbly mood of the Paris sidestreet. Pedestrians crane their neck to see, as a look of raw fear flashes across the face of the driver of a big truck.
He’s lost. He’s going the wrong way on a one-way street and he’s caught.
Down below his cab waits a 5 foot 2, 105 pound policewoman—a blonde her friends call Gigi. She’s mad. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” she asks shrilly. “Get down from there immediately.” Horns start to honk as the hairy-armed 6 foot four, 280-pound truck driver climbs sheepishly out of his realm.
D.D. (Denis DeGalle) is worried. Honestly he’s scared to death. He shakes as he stands before this pert officer of the law. She pushes her too-big policewoman’s cap back off her eyes, while reaching for her ticket pad. “Stupid uniform,” she thinks. “They never could find one small enough for me.”
Wait, wait, wait. What’s going on? This big ruffian could smash her into the sidewalk with a blow from his ham fist. A little sideswipe with the back of his hand and she would fly into the tables in front of the nearby sidewalk café. She doesn’t even have a gun. How does she intimidate him so?
The lady has authority and D.D. knows it.
All the power of the Paris police force backs her up. If needed, gendarmes from all over France could help her. Who knows? She might even call in the French Foreign Legion, if they are not too busy. She’s not too scary by herself (though her husband might argue that) but she has a delegated authority that is impressive.
God’s kingdom is similar to that.
Jesus told a story of a Roman soldier, captain over one hundred men (Luke 7). He desperately wanted Jesus to heal one of his servants but he didn’t feel worthy to have the Lord come to his house. No problem. He understood authority.
To him it was simple. When he gave an order it had better be obeyed. Or else. And when one of his superiors told him to do something he snapped to it. Or else. He knew that Jesus was at the head of the universe and whatever He commanded was done. All Jesus had to do was give the order to set in motion a chain of spiritual events. All the Father’s power backs Him up.
Hang on just a minute and I’m going to shake you up. When God gives us a job to do He delegates all the authority we need to accomplish it. I know some have been somewhat silly with this, trying to make everyone think they have authority. They make lots of noise but not much happens. Like Barney Fife trying to arrest the town drunk, they blow their “whistle” but the devil just laughs.
Either they don’t believe or they are not really doing what God has told them to do. But when we do the will of God we walk in His authority and those spiritual “D.D.s” shake. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19, NIV). He speaks of the powerful signs which will follow those who believe (Mark 16:15-18) and the clothing of power from him that he puts upon us (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).
Our little police lady knew what kind of power backed her up. Do we?