Tag Archives: mercy

Thanks For The Goodie Box!

You’re at college. After several tough nights of studying, you need some snacks. And guess what? A care package from home arrives. You open it with the joy of knowing that people are thinking about you, that you are loved, and that…you left some trash on the floor!?!?

Well, that was the surprise that Connor Cox got last week. Excited and expecting goodies in his box, Connor Cox was surprised to find trash instead. When he called his mom to ask if she had sent the wrong box, she said, “No, that’s the trash you were supposed to take out!”

Score one for moms everywhere.

You see, Connor had just gone back to college after a trip home. And his mother had told him to clean his room before he left. But Connor left without picking up cans, tissues, and other items off his floor. So his mother decided this was a “teachable moment” for her young scholar.

Of course, the box of trash was so much more than a good lesson; it was actually a message of love.

I see a frustrated mom who loves her son. She knows he needs to learn to clean up after himself. So, in an effort of love, she sent him…a box of trash. Thankfully, Connor apologized; we hope the lesson sticks.

Unfortunately, some people don’t appreciate a sermon on love when they hear one!

God loves His people so much that He is willing to send tough love sometimes. Consider Amos 4: “I gave you empty stomachs;” “I withheld the rain from you;” “I smote you with scorching wind;” “I sent a plague among you.” Now, if that isn’t love!

Confused? Think that isn’t love? But God had given them every blessing, every privilege, and they still refused to hear Him. They disobeyed. They refused to take out their spiritual trash.

So God sent the Israelites a “box of trash” to jolt them into remembering they should do better. Sadly, it doesn’t always work. But a good heart will apologize, as Connor did, learn the lesson, and try to do better.

Of course, not one of us has a clean spiritual room. We each have a trash box full of words, thoughts, and deeds. And even though we deserve far worse than a box of trash sent to our doorstep, in His grace and mercy, God forgave us and sent us the best gift ever – salvation.

So try to keep your room clean, call your mom to apologize for the messes you made, and thank your Father in Heaven for His gracious love!

If I Had a Hammer


seegerLast week in China, Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to 4 years in prison for “disturbing the peace.” His crime was “organizing a grass-roots New Citizens Movement, which sought to give voice to public discontent over official corruption and social injustice” (NY TIMES, 1-26-14). In his closing statement at trial, on January 22, 2014, Zhiyong spoke of the core values of the movement: “freedom, justice and love.”

It is hard to believe, but it wasn’t that long ago that our own country struggled to find the line between freedom of speech and public disorder /disintegration of societal rules. For many baby-boomers, one figure stands out as a spokesman for the same ideals of which Zhiyong spoke. Sometimes in the shadows, other times at the forefront, and quite often writing or singing the soundtrack, Pete Seeger invited audiences to sing along to the theme of Justice, Love, and Freedom.

By now, you have probably heard of the passing of Pete Seeger at age 94. He will be remembered for songs such as, “We Shall Overcome,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” But Seeger’s, “If I Had A Hammer” probably encapsulates his message the best.

The closing verses promise to hammer, ring, and sing Justice, Freedom, and Love between my brothers and my sisters and all over this land.

Justice, Freedom, and Love are desirable qualities. But they did not originate with Seeger. Songs like Seeger’s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” come straight from the pages of scripture. So do the very concepts of Justice, Freedom, and Love. We would not know justice, freedom, or love if not for God’s great wisdom, grace, and mercy.

The prophet Amos said, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; …Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate” (Amos 5:14-15)! May we continue to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God (Micah 6:8). May we continue to pray that the justice, freedom, and love of God will continue to make progress in China, in America, and in the hearts of all people everywhere.