Monday, July 23, 2012

Shoes and Consequences

Today is my 39th birthday. I had planned on writing a different article, but then I opened my birthday card that my grandparents sent me in the mail. My grandmother said that she can hardly believe that I have grown to this age, because it seems like just yesterday I was the little kid who kicked his shoe in the pond. So now, I have to tell the story...

I was about 10 years old and it was Christmas in Arkansas. On Christmas Eve I had wanted to go fishing in my grandparents pond behind the house. It was cold, but the surface of the pond was not frozen. I caught several blue gill. They were all pretty small, because they had overpopulated the pond. I had decided to cast them up on the bank and feed the cranes.

On Christmas morning it was very cold. The surface of the pond had frozen. We finished opening our gifts and enjoying the morning festivities. I had received some new loafers for wearing on Sunday morning worship assemblies and other such occasions. I had foolishly decided to wear them and was "loafing around." Well, I got bored. So I decided to walk out by the pond in my new loafers without permission. When I got there I saw a frozen pond and a pile of frozen fish on the bank. What does a 10 year-old do with a secne like that? That's right, I begin to kick the fish across the pond. It was great fun watching them slide all the way across the ice to the other side. Everything was going splendidly until the loafer on my right foot came off...

Mid-kick it sailed up in the air high and far. It landed in the direct center of the pond. The impact of the shoe falling to earth coupled with weaknesses in the ice cracked the surface. And so I watched. The shoe backed up a little, and sank like the Titanic. I mean, it really looked like a boat sinking...slipping away. My mouth remained open, but no words came out. It was time to face the music. I went back inside and told my mom what I had done. She was not pleased (understatement).

As soon as the stores opened back up after the holiday, I went back to the store where the shoes were purchased and bought another pair (with my own money). My parents taught me that every action has consequences, and that there were no exceptions to the rule, not even on Christmas morning. It has served me well to realize that all relationships work this way, even when it comes to our relationship with God. There is always a price that must be paid for poor choices. But above all, I can constantly be sincerely and humbly thankful for the price that Jesus paid for the debt of sin that I, myself fully owed.

It has been nearly 30 years. To my grandmother, I am still that little boy that kicked his shoe into the pond. And like her, it is as vivid in my mind as if it happened yesterday. In all my weaknesses and mistakes, she still sees my innocence. I am thankful for that. And no matter how old I get, I believe I have a Father in heaven who also sees me that way - and I am sure that is what makes all the difference.

"Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right." ~ Proverbs 20:11 

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