Saturday, June 18, 2011
Last week my bride Heidi went to her ladies bible study leaving me at home in charge of the kids. Normally and on almost all occasions this is no big deal. Yet, this summer is tough with the economy tight and as missionaries at Guys For Life even tighter as summer funding gets pinched.
To break the tension I have found that ice cream after a meal soothes a child's soul [actual photo of the event at left]. Matter of fact, ice cream soothes just about anybody's soul, regardless what's happening in the world or their own life.
Yet tonight was especially hard. The kids had a tough time following Heidi's lead with homeschool earlier that day. Three of them had been grounded for the day because of behavior. During the time Heidi was away and up through dinner the remaining four, who were not grounded, could not just help themselves from fighting one another. It was a really bad scene.
I thought it'd be a great application lesson for them. So I grabbed the bucket of ice cream and ice cream cones I bought earlier that day. Looking at me confused, the kids who were in trouble and the ones fighting said, "We never get treats after meals when we're grounded or in trouble" which I chose to ignore.
My wise twenty four year old daughter walked across the room saying, "Dad, what are you doing? Don't don't give them ice cream, they'll turn on you!" I scoffed at her assertion.
I made ice cream cones for every child at the table and they sat there stunned.
As I handed it out I asked them if they knew what grace was. What grace really meant and how grace is applied to each of us daily.
I remember my son Timothy saying, "Grace is receiving from God what you don't deserve - because what you really deserve is wrath." Made me proud as a father to hear that. I spoke to them that each time they get an ice cream cone they could think of Jesus on the cross paying the penalty for your and my sins. Ice cream is just so good it's as if we don't deserve it - we deserve something less wonderful.
It was sheer bliss for the next 15 minutes. The kids sat around the table with, "Mmmmm" and 'Ahhhs" as they eat their ice cream. They thanked me individually for the ice cream and then a funny thing happened - they individually admitted their sin one by one and said they're sorry.
"Hmmmmmph" I said to myself gloating over my older daughter's clearly wrong thinking that ice cream and an application lesson from me could not bring these kids around.
...it lasted ten minutes, tops...
After ice cream I had four of them in our large tub in my room for baths. No harm right?
I closed the door and went about doing dishes from the dinner we just had.
From the kitchen I heard screaming, splashing and general foolishness and came rushing back to the bathroom. I flung the door open to see water all over the place. The towels they were going to use were soaked and the 2 year old was crying and standing on the edge of tub with soap in his eyes and the older girls were yelling at one another, fighting and hitting each other.
All I could remember was, "Don't don't give them ice cream, they'll turn on you!" and I was crushed.
What happened to these sweet innocent kids who just ten minutes ago said they were sorry for their sin? Where did the innocence go?
I cleaned them all up and no one, I mean no one, went to bed with a smile on their face.
In closing, I remember this is the same for you and me. Just because we are in our 30's and above - does not mean - we don't do the same thing to Jesus day to day.
Continually we yell, fight, curse and even accuse Him of things each day only to come before Him when remember grace is extended to us on the cross - then - like kids with ice cream we're pleasant and oh so polite. Quickly as challenges happen, we forget, and the cycle begins again.
Next time you have ice cream this summer, for me and the Ramspott's, will you remember the cross and the grace extended to you?
Till next time,