"But the one who does not know and does things
deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;
and from thw one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Any time I order a sundae at Sonic or McDonald's, I order a hot fudge sundae, extra hot fudge. Sometimes I phrase it, "lots and lots and lots of hot fudge." Sometimes I'll ask for it with "double-triple extra hot fudge." You get the idea. It may cost me a little extra sometimes, but it's oh-so-good. I'm a hot fudge freak, and you can really never have too much of it on your ice cream. You do know that, right? I don't like chocolate sauce on my ice cream - it's too thin and mostly, it just doesn't add the rich chocolate flavor that hot fudge does. Yes, that's it. Hot fudge makes it rich.
Frank and Amber are out in California, looking at potential colleges for Amber. Jacob begged me to have a friend over, so I thought it would be great to have his friend go to church with us this morning, then come over and play Minecraft afterward. Minecraft, in case you don't know, is their obsession. I can't even begin to describe it to you, but all I know is that if it were up to Jacob, his friends and him would be on skype together all day long, conquering the Minecraft bandits, and building new kingdoms, or whatever they do.
Now, I've never met this friend of his, but Jacob met him last year when he attended Cooper Jr. High, and they became fast friends. I picked him up for church this morning, and like a good mom, I tried to get to know him a little. After all, I wanted to know what kind of kid my son is hanging out with, you know? But in the process of learning "who this friend is", God showed me a bit about myself, while humbling me in the process.
This is what I learned...
This friend has 2 sisters, one older and one younger. They all have different last names, because they all have different dads. He wasn't ashamed of this fact. That's just "life" for him. He doesn't know any differently. Me? I grew up in a hot fudge kind of family. My parents were married until the day my dad passed away. I have three full-blood brothers, all of whom are still married to their "one and only."
He told me he's lucky, because he lives in a double-wide, and some people don't have a double-wide like he does.
I asked if his mom has a job, and he excitedly said, "She's starting a new business!" When I asked what it was, he replied she was going to start selling e-cigarettes.
Our Honda Odyssey is a 2005 Odyssey. It's paid for, and we have no plans to upgrade it anytime soon. We certainly don't consider it a luxury vehicle, but let me tell you what this friend's perspective was.
He asked Jacob, "What is that?" Jacob replied that it was the screen for the DVD player. The friend then said, "I knew they made vehicles with screens in them; I've seen it on tv, but I've never been in a van that has one! That's so cool that you can watch movies in the car!"
He then went on to compliment us on the shades for the windows, the adjustable sun roof, the CD player that actually can load and play 6 different CD's, and the automatic doors that close with the push of a button. You would think I was driving him around in a decked-out 2014 state-of-the-art vehicle. My reality: I was driving him around in what many would consider a late-model van. His reality: it was the nicest vehicle he'd ever been in or even seen up-close. Our van was one with double-triple hot fudge.
I told the boys I would take them to McDonald's after church so we could eat quickly, and they could get home to play their game. Jacob's friend said, "My family doesn't ever go out to eat. I don't really know what they have." He then told me he was really hungry, though, because he didn't eat any breakfast. I suggested he get a Big Mac and fries, because I wanted him to not be hungry.
We went through the drive-thru, and as we made our way to our house, I pressed the garage door opener. Squeals came from the back. "Wow! I have never seen one of those garages that actually open by themselves!" Jacob told him that I pressed the button on the remote control, so it didn't really open all on its own. That didn't matter to his friend, because as we pulled the van into the garage, he made a comment about our garage. Now, we have a 2-car garage, and we actually have it clean and organized enough to park two cars in it each night.
It's another thing we take for granted.
This friend, well, he had never been in a garage. Truth. He told me he thinks it's awesome that we have a garage to park our cars in and keep our things in. Oh, the things we take for granted. A home (and a garage) with extra,extra hot fudge!
As we went inside, I had to turn our security alarm off, and more innocent questions ensued. He turned the corner, and he saw our table in the kitchen nook where we eat. I told the boys to sit right down, and I would get plates for the food. Jacob's friend thought it was amazing that we had a kitchen table - a place for us to all eat together and sit down. I intentionally didn't tell him we had a dining room table too, one that we only use for overflow company, craft projects, or for homework when the kids need to really spread out.
I got the plates, and I told the boys, "Let's pray." Jacob's friend had that "uh-oh" look on his face, and he said, "I'm sorry, I already ate a french fry." I told him no worries, God understands! We prayed, and then I watched in wonder as he devoured a Big Mac, and at least a large French Fry, plus more from another carton. This boy was hungry. I wasn't sure if he had no food at home or just chose not to eat breakfast; I was afraid to ask.
As I contemplated the conversations I've had with Jacob's friend today, the things I've seen him marvel at -- things routine, taken for granted, and mundane to this family --certainly not considered as "special", I'm humbled. By God's grace, He gave me the forethought to invite Jacob's friend to church and then over for "hang out time" with Jacob. The boys get so involved in their game that it never dawned on Jacob to do some socializing outside of Minecraft, so when I suggested inviting him to church, Jacob thought it was a grand idea. As we pulled out of our driveway this morning to get the friend, Jacob and I prayed together that his friend would start to understand what it's like to have a relationship with God. Because he was so readily able to attend church with us, we naturally deduced that he and his family are unchurched. For the most part, this appears to be accurate.
But as I already mentioned early on, in part, my motivation was also to "get to know this kid Jacob spends so much time playing video games with." As I thought about the events of today, I can't help but know that my perspective was so wrong. Perhaps I should be more concerned with how my children are influencing others for Christ instead of what kind of influence others are having on my children. Yes, I need to be concerned about both, but they both need to work hand-in-hand, with one not weighing more than the other. We sometimes live in our perfect little hot fudge bubble, hoping no one will pop it our disrupt our lives by emptying the jar. We want our toys; we want our 2 cars; we want our 3.14 children in our perfect little family. (I believe that average is actually now lower, probably so the parentals can have more toys.)
And my point is that God has blessed our family beyond anything this friend has ever seen. To some, we look rich. Extra, extra hot fudge. To others, we look middle class, just with some hot fudge. The truth is that compared to the rest of the world, even this friend of Jacob's is "rich".
And so that brings me back to the verse... "To whom much is given, much will be required."
Friends, it's not just me. We are rich. Period, And God, the giver of all hot-fudge riches, is one day going to ask us, "What did you do with what I gave you?" And I must have an answer. We all must have an answer. Just like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, when the master returns, will he say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things, and so I will put you in charge of many things." Or, will the master say to me, "You wicked and lazy servant."
In Jacob's friend's eyes, we are probably the richest people he knows. Yes, having served overseas, compared to African children, I know our family is so rich -- rich in love, in possessions, and in spiritual blessings. I just didn't expect to be reminded of that fact this morning by a 13-year old boy who lives 8 minutes from my home.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go feed two boys some ice cream. With lots and lots of hot fudge. And whipped cream, too. Because you know, only rich people keep hot fudge in their pantry, for such a time as this.
"But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from thw one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
And now that you know, you, like me, have no excuse. Think of that next time you order some hot fudge.
--- Beth Banfill