A party’s climax is the cake. People can say it is the presents or the fellowship or the food or drinking. But it is the cake. Once the cake is cut, the guests are served and there it is, sugar heaven and everything that should be done is. There may be dancing after but that is really extra. All expectations have been met. The cake is the thing. To leave before the cake is cut is rude. However,sometimes you should, say if an emergency arises or you have a prior commitment that is more important. Is this a lecture about manners? No, I am about to make a point. Sometimes it is more rude to stay for the cake if you should be somewhere else. Like a family member is ill. You don’t go out and stay for cake when you should be nursing a loved one back to health. Or say someone in the family died. Out of respect, you don’t traipse off looking to have cake when loved ones are mourning. Cake metaphorically could be anything very special and delightful that you treat yourself with. When others are hurting, you be with them. You help them and comfort them rather than treating yourself to selfish indulgences. If people need you, you don’t go soothe yourself, you help. If you do, I suggest that you are still eating the cake of feeling good about doing the right thing. In a world of highs readily available to you, I am suggesting that you get a natural high, more subtle but no less real, from helping people than just from temporarily gratifying yourself. It would be a beautiful world if people looked around (rather than down at their tech) and helped where there was a need. The world wouldn’t need temporary fixes, it would have a permanent feeling of well being and goodness. And one person can decide to do just that. Help someone. Look around,step away from the entertainment and seek to notice any of the many hurting souls that need a lift- a smile, a listening ear, some time, a little energy. Even if they aren’t immediately grateful, it still is a great helping of cake for your soul and bam, you have created your own magnificent party complete with the more meaningful lasting cake.
Every time I visit my Dad, whose recent stroke has caused him to be rather shut in at the moment, I am blessed. Every time I get to make him smile, I feel honored and blessed. It is no wonder that Jesus said that when we visit the sick or so on we are visiting Him. It is because He never leaves that person’s side and He blesses you with extra grace and joy and peace for being unselfish enough to visit and help. I think we are closest to the Lord when we are serving and humbly helping those who need our help. It requires a burst of maturity that lifts the heart even higher and elevates the mind to His presence. You see happiness in those being visited. You see hope come and trying harder rather than depression and frowns. Smiles formed will brighten your day! It is good not to forget that we serve a God who served us through Jesus Christ and beyond to now and visits with us anytime we ask. We must put ourselves into the arena of service to grow. It blesses us more than it blesses those shut in, I think. God is so very good!
Summer is here ( maybe not officially but in spirit), and as such I wear flip flops or go barefoot much of the time. While it keeps my feet considerably cooler, it inevitably produces calluses on my feet. Actually, I work in the yard so much, I end up with them on my hands too, if I’m not careful. So, what does that have to do with the price of eggs? Glad you asked. When we have a lot of experience with our hearts in serving the public or just our family and those we are serving are much more comfortable with being served than serving back, it is a constant push against our hearts. In time, the heart can build up calluses on it as well, calluses of indifference, anger, bitterness, impatience, hatred even, etc. It is very hard to feel anything once the calluses are there. Prevention is all good and well but what if the calluses are there? To understand how to solve the problem, we first need to understand it. Calluses are actually begun as God’s gift to us and our skin for protection. It starts small and if unchecked grows thicker as the body feels the need is there for self protection. Imbalance causes it. Yes, we need to serve the Lord and those needing it with gladness. However, sometimes we need time to relax and revive with prayer and Bible reading and meditation as well as rest. To keep them from building up again once they’re gone, that is what we must remember and make a priority. But to remove the calluses of the heart, we must use the same procedures to remove those of our feet. First, we must get off them. What? That works for the feet but how do you get off the heart? You stop applying so much pressure, must stop doing so much, must cease activities that hurt it. This first step involves the word “no”. How often you have to use that word for a few weeks or months is in direct proportion to how thick the calluses have become. Then, you soak those calluses. How do you soak your heart? Good question. A good soaking involves rest and immersion in the waters of baptism and renewal and revival and Bible reading and prayer and seeking God and finding Him (because He promises that when we seek Him we will find Him every time). Next step is most unpleasant. It is the sloughing off of the callus. If extremely thick, some cutting is also required for the outermost layers. This is cutting out the negative activity or people from your life which your heart feels you need protection from. When you give and someone in your life (who is capable of giving back) only takes, it is okay to stop giving and cut off or slough away that callus builder. We don’t have to keep giving our pearls away to pigs. It’s in the Bible, very true. Praise God for free will! Then, when we’ve gotten back to good health, we need to slather the lotion of worship and praise and spending time alone with God to finish the procedure. And remember the balance mentioned previously to keep the calluses from building up again. God bless you!