I came across an old copy of a Focus on the Family magazine from several years that I had saved because of a real-life story on the back cover submitted by one of their readers. The story came from a woman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ll let her tell it:
While I was clipping her toenails, my kindergarten daughter mulled over what to bring to school the next day for show and tell. When I finished hers, I clipped my own. My daughter was fascinated by the size of my toenails. The next morning I forgot to pack something for show and tell. I expected my daughter to be crushed when I picked her up. I cautiously asked her how her day was, and she replied, “It was just the best day, Mom!” Surprised, I told her how sorry I was that I forgot show and tell. “It’s okay, I brought something really great. It’s in my backpack.” I opened her backpack to find my toenail clippings–all 10!”
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I imagined when I read that story (other than “eww, gross!”) was the look on the teacher’s face when the little girl pulled out her mom’s toenails for show and tell. Certainly, that story was the talk of the teacher’s lounge before the day was over!
I also imagined the bright red color of a blushing mother’s face when she thought about how the tale of her clippings was making its rounds at the school. All because a little girl was proud of the “trophies” she collected from her mother’s toenail clipping, and was all too happy to share them with her little world.
Show and tell. An interesting concept. And a pretty good synopsis of our call as Christians to “show” the world the life-changing difference Christ makes in our lives, and “tell” them of His love for them. It all starts, I believe, with our being excited enough about the Lord and His grace to us that we can’t help but want to “show and tell” others about the gospel.
Do you really believe Jesus Christ is the answer to the uncertainty and hopelessness of our world today? If so, does your life show it? And are you telling anyone about Him? “How can they believe if they have never heard about Him?” the apostle Paul asked. “And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14, NLT). How, indeed?
My prayer for each of you is that your life and testimony for Christ is a memorable “show and tell” for the world around you this week. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
We humans are such conformists sometimes, especially in the 21st century. You can see it no clearer than in the lives of teenagers, who try to follow the flow of the latest fad. But it’s not hard to see that all of us are prone to go with the crowd, no matter our age. God’s word, however, calls us to be different, to “no longer be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2)
Still, it is so much a part of our nature to try to follow the crowd. Merchandisers have found that customers find safety in numbers. We tend to judge a restaurant or recreational activity–and even a church–by how many other people are there. If there’s a crowd, it must be good. I read of one man in Utah who bought several used cars and lined them up in front of his store. His business increased significantly.
More than a hundred years ago, the Dutch philosopher Soren Kierkegaard warned that “the age of the crowd” was upon us. In such an age, said Kierkegaard, people would not think of deciding anything for themselves. They would look around and see what others were doing and just behave like them. Like sheep, just following the flock.
A television documentary a few years back showed a lot about the behavior of sheep–and perhaps humans too. One scene was a packing house where sheep were slaughtered. The sheep had to walk from their large pen up a narrow ramp and then turn right. In order to get the sheep to move up the ramp, a “Judas goat,” as he was called, was trained to lead the sheep up the ramp to their death.
The goat was placed among the sheep and then walked confidently to the ramp as the nervous sheep watched. After the goat got about five feet up the ramp, he stopped and confidently looked around at the other sheep, who then began to follow. Near the top of the ramp the goat turned left, as a gate was opened only for him and then closed. The sheep, however, continued up the ramp and turned right, to their death.
“My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me,” Jesus, once said. “I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28)
My prayer for you is that you will follow the Good Shepherd, who loved you enough to lay down His life for His sheep. Trust His leadership for your life, even if it means going against the flow of the crowd. It may be hard, but it will always be worth it.
I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
April showers bring May flowers, or at least that’s what we were told as kids. So I guess we’ll be overrun with flowers in a few short weeks. It may be wet, but spring has definitely sprung!
Accordingly, the buds are blooming and new life is springing forth all around, not to mention the pollen! The coming of spring reminds me of a column I read more than a decade ago written by one of my favorite authors, the late Chuck Colson. I was privileged to meet him when he spoke at the dedication of the chapel at Beeson Divinity School at Samford several years back. It was an honor to tell him how much he had inspired my life.
The particular column I was referring to was entitled, “Springtime for Christianity.” Though it was written more than fifteen years ago, it is all the more appropriate in these days that seem like a perpetual winter of hopelessness in our culture, when it appears we are parading toward Hades in the proverbial hand-basket (whatever that is). It’s a wonderful reminder of the real hope that we have to offer our world “for such a time as this.” I wanted to share a portion of it below:
I am increasingly convinced that it can be, as Pope John Paul II says, a ‘springtime for Christianity.’ Many of my friends profess themselves dumbfounded. How can I maintain such hope in the face of polls indicating public indifference to immorality in Washington and growing antagonism to Christianity?
But the reason for my conviction is not that the church is transforming the culture or that our moral crusades have succeeded (they have not). The reason is simply that the postmodern age is imploding, crumbling in on itself. People have finally achieved what was hailed as the Holy Grail of modernity–complete autonomy–and they are discovering that they cannot live with the moral chaos that results.
Today many Americans are soberly assessing the failed social experiments that were embraced over the past decades, and attitudes are beginning to change. Postmodern nihilism has proved incapable of producing a humane society, and people are groping their way back to traditions that are tested and tried.
What all this means is that people are searching for better and more rational ways to order their lives, and there may be a new openness to Christianity. The twentieth century was the age of ideology, of the great “isms”: communism, socialism, Nazism, humanism, scientism. Yet one by one, they have toppled. And as the major ideological constructions crumble, only one compelling claim to transcendent truth remains, one secure hope: Christianity.
This is an unprecedented opportunity, and Christians must seize the moment to make our case. Our secular neighbors are ready to learn why only Christianity offers what they are longing for. If we can show them, if we can make a compelling and loving defense of the hope that is within us, then the new millennium will indeed be a “springtime for Christianity.”
I pray that each of us would be salt and light in our world, and that the Lord would use us to influence our culture for Christ. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.