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Where'd I put that thing?

I used to enjoy watching the re-runs of the TV series, "The Waltons". The simpler times of 'pioneer life' have their intrigue - if not immediately, at least when you are in the midst of a traffic jam on the highway or a huge delay at the airport! The struggles to remain true to their convictions when times were quickly changing around them is a reminder to me of the speed of change demanding our attention today - change happens at the speed of light these days, or so it seems. What touches me the most in these shows about pioneer life is their simple trust - in their neighbors, in their family, and in their God. One of the characters on the show, Ike Godsey, is the store owner and local postmaster. His store is never really seen as what we'd call "impressive" by today's standards, but it always seemed he could get his hands on whatever anyone was looking to obtain - even if he had to special order it. Sometimes we forget we have a great big God who is able to do above and beyond whatever we imagine in our lives - not in terms of granting our every wish, but in terms of helping us find and keep what is best for our lives.

He said, "Then you see how every student well-trained in God's kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it." (Matthew 13:52)

To be a student well-trained in God's Word is being the like the owner of a general store - able to put our hands on anything we need - exactly when we need it! The idea of a vast storehouse which is at our disposal might make some think we serve God for the 'goods' he can give us, but quite the opposite must be true in our lives. We are given access to a great deal in this relationship with him, but if we are in it merely for the 'goods' we receive, we have it all wrong. We often have "access" to many things. I have access to a copy machine right in my office area. In fact, I have access to a laser printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine without having to walk more than 20 feet. Yet, none of these office machines are mine. I can "use" them in the day-to-day operation of my work, but I don't get to take them home at the end of the day. They are not owned my me. Access is the ability to "use" these items only. I have been granted "permission" to utilize them, and I can grant permission to others to utilize them as they have need, as well.

As Jesus is speaking with his disciples, he refers to being "students" - well-trained in God's kingdom which really equates to them being like store "owners". The one who owns the store is able to access anything within the store whenever the need arises. The one who merely "purchases" from the store is one who must seek permission to purchase what is needed and they must have the 'goods' with which to barter for the item they desire. Being a disciple of the Word is like being the keeper of a vast storeroom of "good stuff" you may "access" at any time - not having to barter for it in order to obtain it. New or old - exactly when you need it. Here's the joy of becoming a student of the Word - the vastness of the resources available to us! Some truths will be like the pillars of a building - holding us strong through thick and thin. Other truths will be used less frequently, but like the fine china which comes out on special occasions, they grace our lives with beauty. Then there is the cumulative effect of one portion of the Word adding to another - providing wisdom for our journey and sustenance to our soul.

I need to find some things in my workshop that I have 'put away' for safe keeping. As I got the tools, I unpacked them and put away the small parts. As I am becoming aware of what the small parts actually do within these devices, I am not struggling to fine them! What I need to do is create a space for them and make them more visible so I am able to find them now. In other words, I need to deal with some 'clutter' in my shop in order to have things be available when I need them. It is often in the "de-cluttering" of our lives we find out just how blessed we are - that we really do have the 'parts' we need to accomplish whatever it is we are in need of doing! Sometimes we "clutter up" our storeroom of faith with all kinds of things which only serve to push the good stuff to the back, making "access" a little difficult. Maybe we need to "de-clutter" our spiritual storerooms a little, too. In so doing, we may find treasures we'd long forgotten! Just sayin!

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