Thursday, August 25, 2016


     A twelve year old turned trustingly to his dad, "Dad, I need a new pair of shoes! See, the heels are not wearing evenly." 

     (This reflection comes from a time when leather shoes with rubber heels were far more common than the "discard" sports shoes of today's culture.)

     Fully expecting the problem to be solved with a new pair of shoes, the child accompanied his dad to the store, and looked at new shoes longingly. His dad's conversation took an unexpected turn. "Either you did not sell my son a good pair of shoes, or you misfitted him, and I want you to make it right!"

     The store owner was certainly not expecting this approach, for he was enjoying his prosperity in the small town in central United States. His was the only shoe store for miles around.

     He had an answer, however, "We sell the best shoes in this part of the state! Furthermore, we always fit them right! Sir, I can sell you a new pair of shoes, or repair your son's shoes at a fee, but I owe you  nothing!"

     The dad was firm, and he repeated the statement, "No sir, either the shoes are flawed, or you misfitted him." There was no arrogance or annoyance in the dad's voice, only firmness. But the son thought his dad was angry at the storekeeper. He fully expected the two men to get into at least a verbal assault of one another. He was amazed, however, when the store owner agreed to repair the shoes. They agreed on a time.

     Either the dad had sensed a lack of service integrity in the store owner, or was training his young son in a life of faith. Time would tell. A story that will take reflection teaches this principle. Read Isaiah 7:1-9.

     I have often wondered how the boy got home. Did he walk barefooted to the car, or did his dad feel sorry for both concerned and buy a second pair of shoes, to make sure that this conversation was about business, and not personal issues? I don't know.

     Dad was on a trip somewhere when the son had to face the store keeper in order to pick up his shoes. He had no money to pay, so was not in a position to agree with the store keeper's assessment of his dad, but had to listen to the disgruntled statement about his dad.

     Many years later, dad reminded his son . . . "Ownership and Management are not about control, but about service! Son, store ownership is a trust given to serve the need that is prevalent - whether to sell, provide access to a special design for tired, injured feet, or simply to help them find out where that need can be met!"

     This is not just a business principle to gather wealth, but reflects the nature of Christ, Himself. When it appears that all in life has gone wrong for a season, and the "store front" of your life is in shambles, remember that it could be that your service quotient is in need of repair. This is where the wise virgins of Matthew 25:8-10 did the only thing that could work for the foolish virgins. They were hopeful that they would be able learn the lesson in time. But, it was too late to change their viewpoint of opportunity. The bridegroom came while they were away.

     While King David was hiding from his enemy Saul, (who was attempting to save his own kingdom from inevitable take-over), David expresses an amazing prayer in Psalm 54:1-7, that demonstrates how to get help from God, Himself, during such a crisis!

     Jonah did not like being put in a crisis he couldn't handle on his own, but found out that he was God's choice, like it or not. Apparently he did not realize that the choice of apparent safety was not nearly as secure as bearing the right message for the right reasons. Proverbs 23:1-3.

Monday, August 22, 2016

We’ve Been Robbed!

       The bedroom door opened, and my wife said, “We have been robbed!” She continued, “Our neighbor said our garage door is wide open, and has been for two hours! They first thought that we may been in the garage ourselves, but finally suspected the worst, and rang the doorbell repeatedly to attract attention. I knew I had heard something strange outside, but had not investigated!”

       I rubbed my eyes, trying to make sense out of things. It was 1:00 a.m. I was not very happy about being short-changed in my sleep. I knew I had to investigate.

       I discovered that the side door had been forced open. Three pieces of equipment had been stolen, one of them quite expensive.

        Knowing a little of the nature of forgiveness, I forgivingly asked the question, “What do you do when someone throws the equilibrium of life off like that? Explode with anger? Call the Police? See if you can follow footprints, etcetera? Fix the damage enough so you can attempt to go back to sleep again?”

       Is there not a better way to balance the scale? Whether right or not, I responded by doing my best to repair the door sufficiently so it would at least close and lock. I then attempted to go back to sleep, but sleep eluded me.

       The next morning in the police report, I realized that it would have been helpful to call the police. This way they could have inspected for fingerprints, and look for other things out of order. It was too late.

       In the process I also discovered that our small car had also been dented in the process of theft. Also, two of the stolen items were not complete. That is, they now had one part and I the other. Neither of us could enjoy that particular piece of equipment.

       Why would someone do that? Honesty allows a person to enjoy what they purchase, receive or own. Dishonesty and theft will not allow a person to enjoy it. It often does not occur to someone to think things through. This means it hurts both parties concerned. If you do something good in secret, someone often surprises you in doing something special for you. Why don’t people remember that the same principle, applied in reverse, will eventually even the score in stolen goods?