What a silly question, yet we ask it all the time. Maybe we ask it because we can’t really figure out what “Up”is to begin with? With that in mind, I wanted to share something that I came across a while back. I’m not sure who wrote it, but I hope it cracks you UP.
Up. It’s one of the shortest words in our vocabulary, but we use it in so many different ways. UP is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At at meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are politicians UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.
At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed up about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP to almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now….my time is UP and I know by now most of you would like for me to shut UP!
Our Lord Jesus said, “When I am lifted UP, I will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32). He was indeed lifted UP on the cross, to die for our sins, and then He was raised UP on the third day, to defeat death and grant us life eternal. He’s coming back soon….so, look UP!
I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
There’s an old proverb that says, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
That is, most of what we are able to do today is because someone who went before us years ago–or even decades ago–took a chance, made a sacrifice, had a fledgling idea, or paid the price to build a foundation that we’re standing on. Or, plant a tree that we’re sitting under.
I am always aware of that, especially in my role as pastor at Shelby Crossings. I would not be where I am as pastor of this great church had there not been others who had the vision to plant this ministry to begin with, or had invested so much of their lives into making this church what it is today.
Some people spend a lot of time talking about “generational curses,” and the effects that a legacy of sin has on future generations. And I have sure seen the evidence of the negative influence of bad decisions passed down from one generation to the next. But in this case we’re talking about a positive legacy. Or, we could call it a stewardship of opportunity.
The apostle Paul charged his “son in the faith” Timothy with these words: “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) He was talking about building on the legacy of those who have gone before you, and passing that on to others.
With that in mind, the question for all of us to consider is: Who will be sitting in the shade of our hard work twenty years from now? Or more to the point: Will there be shade to sit in? It depends on our planting trees today.
When you share your faith, and lead others to Christ, you’re planting trees. When you make disciples–whether it’s your children, or other believers–you’re planting trees. When you help others develop Christian character, or improve their marriage, or parent more effectively, or become a more loyal friend, you’re planting trees.
The truth is, if we’re not careful, most of what we do today is just putting out fires to make it through another day. However, we must not let today’s urgencies prevent us from living intentionally to establish a legacy worth passing down, and making some shade for the next generation.
They may not thank us for it, but God will be honored through it.
I’m thankful for each of you, and I’m praying for you. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
I came across an old story–supposedly true, but you know how things are with preacher stories–about a small-town pastor who had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered him a bowl of milk, and tried everything he knew, but the kitty would not come down.
The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he threw a rope over a limb, and then tied it to his car and drove away, the tree would bend down, and he could reach up and get the kitten.
He did all this, checking his progress in the car frequently, then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the little scaredy-cat. But as he moved a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went “boing!”and the kitten instantly sailed through the air–out of sight.
The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they had seen a little kitten, dead or alive. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he prayed, “Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping,” and went on about his business.
A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, “Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?”
She replied, “You won’t believe this Pastor,” and told him about how her little girl had been begging for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so out of frustration the Mom finally told her little girl, “Well if God drops you a cat from heaven, I’ll let you keep it.”
She told the pastor, “I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and beg God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its little paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.”
God has a way of doing that sometimes, dropping His blessings into our lap, and all He asks us is what we trust Him enough to pray. Simple, childlike faith believes God enough to ask. So, what are youasking Him for today? Whatever it is, look up…and be careful! You just might get what you ask for!
“I lift my eyes up to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”(Psalm 121:1-2)
I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.