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Unfinished  

“One more thing,” Tim said. “Next time you come over, can you bring the LEGOs?” 

Our grown son is now a father of two, and his oldest is able to play, so—why not?  We were thrilled at the prospect of reclaiming some shelf space in his old closet.

Having hauled the LEGOs to Tim's house, I pried off the dusty plastic lid.  Instead of a mound of red, white, and blue plastic bricks, I encountered the remains of several LEGO creations—along with handfuls of loose pieces.

Two of the sub-assembly chunks were big enough we could snap them together and tell it was a building of some kind.  There were partial vehicles fastened to wheels and axles (see actual photo).

Tim and I grew pensive.  “Odd,” I thought out loud.  “It’s like a time capsule or something. Projects froze in time."

“Ya know,” he said. “These things are probably 20 plus years old.  I haven’t played with the LEGOs for at least that long.”

So were these uncompleted projects?  If so, why didn't they ever get finished?  Was playtime interrupted by dinner?  Or bedtime? Was there ever an intent to finish these things?

The mystery swirled and twisted in my brain until it morphed into an altogether different question.  At some future moment, when I stand before God, what will He find as He lifts the lid off of my life?

Will there be important—but unfinished—projects there?  Things He has asked me to complete that I have failed to finish?  As the heavenly inventory of my life ends, what will pain me—and Him—the most?

I suspect I will regret having invested time and energy in lesser tasks than the sacred agenda of the Almighty. Things that seemed important at the time will melt away, revealing the dusty delusions they were all along.

Could it be the sorrow over this much unfinished living is the reason we are twice promised in Revelation, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”?

God help us finish the tasks to which He has called us!

 

 

 

 

 
If CNN Covered the First Thanksgiving  

Imagine if CNN were around when the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving...

 

CNN: Their homes are mostly huts, their story—more tragedy than triumph.  I'm speaking of the group of religious Separatists who left England for a 67-day ocean crossing on the Mayflower. Their voyage was about one goal: obtaining religious freedom.   I’m joined by William Bradford, a spokesman for the Separatists.

CNN: Mr. Bradford, I understand your group paid a high price for this venture. Do you think in retrospect these folks who came over with you really understood what they were getting into?

BRADFORD: They knew they were pilgrims.

CNN: Meaning what?

BRADFORD: They were ready to perish in this wilderness.

CNN: And perish they have.  You originally sailed with a group of 102.  But the cold weather you encountered was devastating.  How many died?

BRADFORD: We  buried half the original group that sailed from England during our first winter,

CNN:  I understand that only four of the married women who left England still have husbands.  Forgive me, but it doesn’t seem like you have much to show for all this suffering and death.

BRADFORD:  All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

CNN: And you still feel the same commitment to this ideal of freedom to worship God in your own way?

BRADFORD: To keep a good conscience, and walk in such a way as God has prescribed in his Word, is a thing which I must prefer before you all, and above life itself.

CNN: Today, you gather with 90 Native Americans to express thanks to God.  But don't you have more reason for grief than gratitude?  On what basis have you encouraged the pilgrims?

BRADFORD: Let them praise the Lord because He is good, and His mercies endure forever.

CNN: So ended my conversation with William Bradford. Separatists—or extremists? We’ll leave it to our viewers to decide.

 

NOTE: Though this conversation obviously never took place, William Bradford actually said these very words (I have made only minor edits) in his book, Of Plymouth Plantation.

 

 

 

 

 
Location Services  

I just upgraded my cell phone—exciting, but a pain. I struggled with all those account numbers, PIN numbers, Apple ID...Yikes!   Doesn't it seem like getting a new phone should be a whole lot easier than it is?

One thing jumped out at me—the intense interest the tech world exhibits in wanting to monitor my location.  I'm leery and—increasingly—irritated by the insatiable appetites of Google, Apple, Samsung, and others—to know of my location.   I get this feeling when installing (or reinstalling) an app. It's one thing for a map program to ask—but a bowling game?  C’mon!

Observe the euphemistic label the industry chooses to use instead of GPS.  They insist on calling it “Location Services.”  As if someone is doing you and me a favor or service.  But make no mistake.  Tech companies see your phone as a satellite tracking device, for sure.  And indeed, they are tracking.

Now I'm not exactly a conspiracy theorist. But something seems out of whack.  They say the use of location services allows third parties to be much more selective in targeting the ads with which bombard us. And this is supposed to be a benefit?

When given a choice, my response is to uncheck the box for Location Services.   Tech-savvy readers will counter that those companies can use other means to get your location. True.  But it's not as accurate—or they wouldn't nearly bludgeon me into turning on my GPS....urr Location Services.

Only the most gullible believe tech companies have nothing but our best interests at heart in attempting to monitor our every move. It’s odd how few have grasped the fact that for the benefits we receive in using GPS (yes, I love Google Maps), we are at the same time trading away the simple dignity of our anonymity.

By contrast, we serve a benevolent God in heaven who not only knows our current location—but where we will be the next hour, the next month—and the next millennia. And unlike the big brother-ish companies clutching at our data, God has nothing but our best interests at heart.

The Psalmist asked, “Where can I go from your presence?”  The reassuring answer from the God who is all-loving and all-present: Nowhere!  The certainty that He knows our location at all times is a comfort and kindness in stark contrast to the data miners and marketers that haunt our phones!

 

 

 
Kindness--Before its too Late  

We’ve all seen the greeting cards, or maybe read the quotes on Pinterest.  You know the ones—where they encourage you to “do that act of kindness now.”  The edgier ones add the phrase, “while you can.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out, “You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."

William Penn offered his sobering perspective when he wrote, "I expect to pass through life but once.  If, therefore, there by any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to a fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

Charles Kingsley summed it up in his poignant observation, “There's no use doing a kindness if you do it a day too late.”

It should come as no surprise that the Bible has a lot to say about kindness.  According to Colossians 3:12, kindness ought to be the most visible part of our conduct:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.”

Earlier this week in checking my inbox,  I discovered an email from an online floral service I had previously used.   The message read, “Jon, hurry!  Send Virginia birthday flowers today!”  Virginia is my Mom—a person with a long track record of kindness. 

But no amount of hurrying on my part could ever be fast enough. Mom is gone.  In heaven.

Today is her birthday. So I sent her flowers anyway.

In care of my Dad.

 
Get Small  

When you’re four years old, you want to “be big.” Same thing when you’re forty. 

 

We want the big salary. We want the big reputation. We want the big following on social media. 

 

Curiously, the disciples were just like us—minus FaceBook. Proof? In Matthew 18 they asked Jesus, “Who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In other words, “Who will be the big man on heaven’s campus?” Their intent was that Jesus poke a finger at one of them and declare the big winner. 

 

Instead, Jesus plopped a tot in their midst and said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, get small.

 

But doesn’t this yank against every fiber of our flesh? We want to make a big splash, earn the big bucks, get a big house on a big lot, and drive a big car. We want to play in the big leagues, hunt with the big dogs, make it to the big time—or even to the big screen! We like big rings, big checks, and Big Macs. We want to score big, live big, talk big.

 

And in the middle of all this high and heady “big” talk, Jesus calls us to get small, to humble ourselves like a little child. 

 

Jesus wasn’t saying we couldn’t have big dreams. He was saying that bigness itself must always be calibrated by heaven’s standards if it is to have any eternal worth. 

 

Consider: there are no big shots in heaven. No big wigs. Only small people. People who have humbled themselves. Like a child. 

 

The world says, “Go big or go home!” Jesus says, “Get small, so you can come home.”

 

THAT is how you become greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. 

 
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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

Recent Posts

Thursday, December 05, 2019
Unfinished
Thursday, November 28, 2019
If CNN Covered the First Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Location Services
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Kindness--Before its too Late
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Get Small
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Halloween Scar
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Heaven on My Mind--Or Not
Thursday, October 17, 2019
At Auschwitz
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Forgiveness
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Evil
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Have to Make a Decision
Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Jon Gauger Media 2016