Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - September 2019
Back in 2005 we displayed a float in the fair parade and the Farmer’s Day parade. After reading the article from that September issue of Chips, I realized we might need to remember those days for some perspective about today:
I got to throw peanuts this week. At the Farmer’s Day parade in Millersburg we walked beside the church float and threw peanuts in the shell at unsuspecting men (and women). They were not sure why they had come again to watch their passing neighbors with stuff on wagons and trailers. One hundred and fifty years these neighbors have passed by this way. The watchers looked like they had a lot on their minds. Especially the men. But when they saw the peanuts they started to smile and hold out their hands for more. The cool young dudes jumped in surprise. The middle-aged guys accepted the challenge of catching two or three nuts at the same time. I wondered what was on their minds before grasping the peanuts. Maybe we are all nuts.
I have a lot on my mind. We all do sometimes. Many years ago that part of me seemed to be less full. Maybe more carefree and creative. That was before children. Before mortgages. Before ministry responsibilities and opportunities. Before gas prices. Before cars with paint all over them. Before something got in the way of seeing. Before the book of Proverbs became so interesting.
When Jesus walked the streets and spoke to the crowds, they wanted more. Not so much more of his teaching, but more of his miracles, and healings, and feeding mobs of folks from a few loaves and fishes, or peanuts. The people must have had a lot on their minds that had little to do with the Kingdom of God and living a holy life. I wonder if Jesus thought about how they only sought after the stuff he could offer them. He had many unflattering names for those who only wanted signs and wonders.
The simple life is one value affirmed by the Church of the Brethren. We refer to such scriptures as:
…seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you.
…sell your possessions and give to the poor.
…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
…do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
We have a lot on our minds. Eating and hurting and buying and helping. We frown about the concerns and forget the pleasures of a single peanut given or received. I wish we could pass out the gospel like peanuts in the shell for all to smile and eagerly catch along the way. Maybe we have to keep trying.