Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Saw Thanksgiving Today

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Carolyn and I made a trip to this great Whole Foods Store in the Roosevelt district of Seattle. 

There were throngs, gobs and myriads of people in there already at 9:45 A.M. 


Yet, in the traffic jam of grocery carts and shoppers, I saw, rather sensed Thanksgiving.  People were hurrying and scurrying to find just the right ingredients for some yet-to-be-baked dish, all with the thought of giving to family, loved ones, friends, in the spirit of thankfulness. 

I saw it in the smiles rather than the curses of hundreds of shoppers jammed into narrow aisles and being forced to allow others to take their time and stand a bit too long in front of that item they themselves were searching for. 

I narrowly avoided three cart crashes, and each time was greeted with a smile, a “sorry” and a “Have a great Thanksgiving.”

Not one – not one discouraging word was uttered. 
Not one – not one frown crept across the faces of any of the shoppers today. 

Instead I saw smiles, grins as big as the sun, Thanksgiving greetings, happy kids, kind and gentle parents. 

That, my friend is Thanksgiving. 

I am thankful –

     Thankful for peace
          Thankful for love from above
               Thankful for love here on earth
          Thankful for good things that have come our way
                  this year in abundance
     Thankful for guidance through the trials this year

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael and Carolyn Biggs

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Cracked Pot

(This is a re-telling of a story from Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust.)

“Once upon a time there was a water bearer who had two large pots.  Each hung on opposite ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. 

“One of the pots was perfect. 
"The other had a crack in it.

“The perfect pot always delivered a full measure of water to their master’s table, while the cracked pot leaked and arrived with only half a measure.  Needless to say, the cracked pot was discouraged.  He was ashamed of his performance because of his crack. 

“One day, the cracked pot spoke to the water-bearer.  “I am ashamed of myself.  I only deliver a portion of what you expect of me each trip to the well.  You see, I have a crack and I lose most of my measure of water all the way back home.”

“The water-bearer smiled and replied, “My poor cracked pot.  As we walk home today I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

“And sure enough, there were dozens and hundreds of beautiful and colorful flowers on his side, all along the path home.

“The water-bearer pointed out, “Did you notice that there were flowers only along your side of the path and not on the side of the perfect pot?  I know about your flaw.  Every day for two years, as we walk this path, you have been watering the seeds on your side and they have grown into beautiful flowers.  Without you being just the way you are we would be looking at brown dirt, not graceful beauty.”

Have you had some less than stellar days in your life?

Have you performed at less than your best?

Have you given what you thought was your best, yet no one remarked on your efforts, gave you praise, or fell at your feet in a faint at the wisdom, knowledge, good deeds, or great words offered?

In other words, have you ever felt you had cracks and sometimes you leak? 

Maybe your life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve had those kinds of days.  Some weeks I write a blog that I feel surely will be heard round the world – and nothing much happens.  A few respond but where are the masses?

Other weeks I write and choose a blog that I feel has less impact that last week's, and yet there is a word, a phrase, a thought in there that really resonants with my readers.  On those days I offered water to someone who was thirsty and they drank.

How amazing is that?

Thoreau once said, “I do not want to die without having lived.” 

My mission, my motto, my life statement is this: 

That is my way of wanting to live before I die. 

What about you?

Let’s remember these thoughts from this week’s blog.

The pot’s weakness 
became its strength.


Our weakness becomes our strength, if we let it.  
That is another way of living our lives before we die.

Brennan Manning offers this insight in Ruthless Trust

With all your cracks and fissures,
you are capable of greatness
in God’s kingdom.”

You do see, don’t you, that God uses cracked pots, disabled people, broken human beings, disappointing individuals, and those with broken dreams and weak knees. 

Can’t you hear this re-wording of Matthew 11:28?
“Come unto me, all you cracked pots, disheveled, smelly, unfocused, lost and dreamless ones.  I’ll take you.

And, oh yeah, you perfect ones, you come too.  I’ll find a place for you too.”

I love perfect people.

I relate to cracked pots.

For at times, more times than I sometimes want to admit, I am one too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just for Today There Is Enough

Every year, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, our church in Seattle feeds any homeless person who will come.  We put on the whole Thanksgiving course, complete with turkey, dressing, and a variety of vegetables, bread, and more desserts than a person should eat in a lifetime. 

I read my journal entry recently about one of those Sundays.  A man in his fifties walked by me, and his plate was absolutely piled high with food.  It was heaped up and overflowing.  It was bulging with food. 

What a sight.  My journal comments for that day ran like this:  “That is great my friend.  Dig in.  Heap it on.  There is plenty.  I know that you may not know where your meal for tomorrow will come from, but for today, there is enough.”

For today, there is enough.

Amazing, isn’t it?

How many times in our lives have we experienced this?  For today, there is enough.

Have you ever had life heap it on you?  I mean full and running over, spilling onto the floor, the stuff just kept coming.  Good stuff.  Some people call them blessings, some call it abundance.  Whatever it is you call it, it just came and kept on coming. 

Have you ever experienced that?

And then, at other times …

We wonder.

          We question.

                    We ponder.

                              We fret.

We don’t see it yet, but maybe … just maybe.

And some days, at the very last moment, the 11th hour, the miracle happens. 


We get what we’ve needed and longed for.

For today, there is enough.

You can call it karma, goodness, mercy, a handout, goodwill, or a hundred other names.

I call it “daily bread for daily needs.”

I also call it GOD!

In God’s economy there IS Enough. 

And it comes from the hand of a God 
who loves us …

Regardless of                 how we smell
Regardless of                 what we do 
                                      or don’t do
Regardless of                 our ethnicity
Regardless of                 our language
Regardless of                 our accent
Regardless of                 our sexual orientation
Regardless of                 our lifestyle choice
Regardless of                 our church attendance
Regardless of                 our bank account 
                                     or lack thereof
So, regardless of your circumstances in life,

               Just for today, 
                      there is enough – for you

Enough       love
Enough       grace
Enough       forgiveness
Enough       mercy
Enough       peace
Enough       rest
Enough       knowledge
Enough       food
Enough       warmth
Enough       shelter for the night

This “enough” that I’m talking about comes wrapped a dozen different ways

Through      the hands of a stranger
Through      a kindly church
Through      a woman handing a bag 
                   of food out a car window
Through      loose change dropped in a tin cup
Through      a sales clerk buying a meal 
                   for a street person
Through      a bed at the Salvation Army
Through      a cup of soup in a coffee shop
Through      a sack of groceries left anonymously
Through      an anonymous envelope with cash
Through      a team of “saints” serving hot food 
                   faithfully every Thursday evening
Through      a friend who cares
Through      a minister who becomes 
                   the hands of God
Through      a singer offering the only gift 
                   she can – her voice

Do you wonder sometimes if you’ll run out of stuff?

Take heart. 

Whatever you lack, whatever you need, when you least expect it …

Just for today ... 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Does God Think?

Do you think much about God?

Have you ever wondered how God thinks?

I have.

One thing I know for sure – the Bible reminds us that “no man can know the mind of God, nor understand his ways, his reasoning and his love.”

So, off we go.  Let’s imagine for a few moments how God’s mind works.

What irritates God?
What makes him mad?

What makes him jealous?
What pushes his buttons?

What makes him stop and say “Aha.  I caught you, you low-down dirty rat.  Now I’ve got you where I want you and you’re going to pay.  Shame, shame, shame!”

What if Hitler offered some kind of miraculous death-bed confession and nobody every told us about it?  Would God forgive him right on the spot?

Will Hugh Hefner be in heaven?

In war, which side is God really on? 

Is God an American?

Is he Baptist?

So, how does God really think? 

What are some of his thoughts toward us?

I think God loves us way more than we can ever understand.

-He invites us to crawl upon his lap and just have some quiet moments.
-He wants face time with each one of us.  He just wants us in his presence.
-He loves all people equally.

-He watches over us moment by moment.
-He notices even a sparrow that falls to the ground.
-He clothes the lilies.

-He reaches for the down-and-out with a redemptive heart of compassion.
-He is looking for more ways to get us home to heaven than for ways to keep us out.

-He is a forgiving God.
-He never remembers past sins.
-He dances for joy over us.
-He runs to us when we turn back to Him.

He loves Ethiopians as much as he loves Americans.
He will never take away our free will for making choices. 

So how does God think?

With a heart full of love greater than anything we could ever imagine,
     Regardless of whom we are,
          What we are,
               Where we are,
Or in whatever condition we might find ourselves at the present moment. 

God Is Love. 

That is how God thinks.

God is offering love.  Now, receive it!