Of course, I did not do this to have a "first." As I was thinking about my day and what "first" I might be able to do, it occurred to me that I was planning on preaching with a puzzle box as a visual aid and I've never done that before. It worked for a "first" on a busy Sunday.
This past week, the family and I started working on a puzzle as a family project. One of the most important parts of the puzzle (other than not losing a piece perhaps) is the box. The box tells you what the picture looks like. It’s a lot easier if you know what the picture is like.
I thought about that-it would be a cruel thing to sell a puzzle with the wrong picture on the box. For example, selling a puzzle about a waterfall and having a picture of New York City skyline on the front. Or worse, sell a puzzle with the Alabama or Auburn mascot on the front and put the pieces for the other one in the box.. That could be very frustrating and even cause some type of injury or lawsuit.
It occurred to me that sometimes our frustration and dissatisfaction with life is that we are putting together the pieces of our lives and looking at the wrong picture. Here’s what I mean by that. We all, hopefully, have some type of picture of the life that we want to or believe that we should live. If that picture is off, the pieces of our life will never seem to fit. Some people have some of these pictures as the life they want/should live. The picture on the box is the:
· Happy life
· Pain free life
· No conflict life
· Lots of money life
· Everybody likes me life
· Entertainment life
· It’s what I want to do life
· Every day is fun life
If that’s your puzzle box, then some of the pieces are not going to fit. If your puzzle box is the happy life and your fiancé breaks up with you, you don't get your dream job, your best friend moves away, you don’t get the teacher you wanted for math, you can’t afford the vacation you wanted to take, or you get sick on vacation, then, those pieces don’t fit. You are looking at this piece and it just does not look like anything on the puzzle box.
The puzzle box for all of us who are followers of Jesus looks like a life that glorifies God by loving Him, loving others, and telling the world about Jesus. Then, when life hands you a puzzle piece like you get sick on vacation, you can say- this will fit in that glorifying God section. When you don’t get the math teacher you wanted, you can say that piece fits in the loving people section. When your life turns out way worse than you thought, you know that piece fits in the "count it all joy when you encounter various trials" section (see James 1: 2-4). Those pieces may not be fun, but they do fit in the puzzle.
So, let's make sure we know what God wants our lives to look like. Then, we can make more sense of the various pieces.
Putting the pieces together for the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Cute children in our church
2. Clothes hangers
3. The song, "How Great Thou Art"