by Pastor Tim Burt
This morning, I feel impressed to retell a story I've told before. One Sunday morning after church, we had all the family over for a birthday party for our two granddaughters, Madeline and Macy. They were seven and eight years old at the time and like all children, they loved birthday parties. It was a great day of eating, having fun, and then presents and cake. When everyone except the girls had left, I asked them if they wanted to go for a walk with me. It’s a beautiful walk on a path along a mile stretch of wild flowers and a creek. We make a pit stop half way through the walk at a playground they loved to play at.
As we were leaving the house, they each wanted to bring their new dolls they had just received for their birthday. Generally I wouldn’t let the girls bring them on a walk but I made an exception. As we were walking, they were little chatterbugs. Macy piped in first, Papa, that was the best birthday ever! I love my doll so much. I was praying I would get a Tiana princess doll. I love her so much. Madeline received a different version of the same doll. She piped in also saying, Papa I love my doll too. Since Macy and me have the same one I am going to name my Ashley. I love my Ashley Tiana doll too papa. And on and on they both went out how much they loved the dolls and how it was their favorite present. Renee, my wife, had done well in her shopping and I was getting way too much credit but I was happy that they were happy.
We had a wonderful walk. They were balancing on ledges as they walked. They took off challenging me to a race. They showed me their climbing and high jump feats at the park. They fed some ducks. The sky was cloudless and deep blue and it was spectacularly beautiful out. We were having a blast, when suddenly Madeline noticed that one of the shoes of her doll was missing. We backtracked and looked but didn’t find it. A short time later, Macy cried out, “Papa, I lost Tiana’s tiara. It took me a minute to figure out that was her little crown. So again we backtracked while I was thinking, This is why I make my rules and don’t let them bring dolls on the walk. This is your bad, Tim. I stayed patient, we prayed, and we looked and looked, but, we didn’t find either. I was proud of the girls as they kept a good attitude through it.
As we were getting near home, I asked them, Did you girls have fun on the walk? Madeline immediately responded, No, I lost my dolly’s shoe. I didn’t have fun. Macy said nothing. I looked at them both and began to rattle off all the fun things we just did that we had so much fun doing. Macy looked up and said, You’re right, Papa. We had lots of fun. It’s okay if I lost one shoe. We still had fun, and Madeline agreed.
The Lord had spoken simply to me about staying focused on thinking about good things and don’t let things that steal joy or distract or that take you off course, fill your thoughts.
This walk with the girls was a quick example of how a small setback almost stole the joy of the entire day. When I reminded the girls of all the fun things we did, they immediately lit back up and agreed and changed their mind.
The enemy of our soul is a thief and would like us to see the negatives so they overshadow all the good the Lord brings into our life. And so His solution to that is, “Think on THESE things…”
Philippians 4:8 (Message Bible) “Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt