Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hand-me-downs and hand-me-ons

If you would like a hard copy ‘bouquet’ of fresh flowers for yourself or someone you know click on ‘flower shop’.

Sometimes it just isn’t any fun growing up. At least that was my eldest son’s point of view a few mornings ago when he came up against the startling reality that his favourite jacket, one I had made him by request, was too small and he had to relinquish ownership. This occurred of course in the process of getting ready for school when he realized that his younger brother was wearing his jacket. “It’s still mine!” he hollers.
“No it’s not, it’s too small for you, it’s mine now!” retorts the younger.
“Take it off!! Just because it doesn’t fit doesn’t mean it’s yours!” (getting ready to physically remove it if necessary)
“Mom said I could!” (getting ready to defend his territory – doesn’t matter that his own jacket that looks very similar still fits and is lying on the floor at his feet, this one is now his and Josiah is not getting it back)
“Mooooooooom!” (in unison)
My poor son got a little life lesson in handing things on while my husband and I received a flower straight from heaven. We explained to him that there would be other jackets, great jackets that he would outgrow and when he was all done growing that he probably wouldn’t have to give up his jackets so quickly. Reluctantly, still pouting, he dons a different jacket (one that fits) and heads to school.
We contemplate, over a cup of tea, all that we just said. As we grow up we have to let some things go that don’t fit anymore, sometimes that’s easy and sometimes it isn’t. There is more joy in willingly passing on something than having it be taken from you. In our early years that change over happens more often. Children physically grow and mature, constantly having to give up what fit last week to make room for what fits now. Our Christian journey is very similar. As we ‘grow up’ into maturity we go through many stages, we have to leave behind a lot of stuff, some of it needs to go in the garbage and some of it gets passed on.
Think of a jacket as an area of a service or a responsibility given by the Lord. As we mature these ‘jackets’ may change frequently as the Lord builds character into us. Once that seed has grown He moves us on and we relinquish that area to take on another, handing that ‘jacket’ onto another believer that is less mature who needs to grow in that area. The Lord fits you with a new, bigger ‘jacket’, one that you may need to grow into over the course of time. As we reach maturity those ‘jackets’ don’t seem to change quite as often, in fact some of them may not change again as we walk this earth. Think of Paul and his mantle of apostleship, once he came into that mantle he kept it for the rest of his days. Your mantle or ‘jacket’ will come with the responsibility of showing someone else how to wear their ‘jacket’, how to clean it, care for it and how to show yet another generation how to wear it. God has designed His kingdom with hand-me-downs and hand-me-ons. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

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