A Twitter exchange between an angry customer and an apologetic Domino’s Pizza: Customer: Yoooo, I ordered a Pizza & Came with no Toppings on it or anything, It’s Just Bread. Domino’s: We’re sorry to hear about this! Customer (minutes later): Never mind, I opened the pizza upside down.
I’m sure we all simply misplace our brain on occasion. But we’re still lovable; perhaps more so when we don’t have it all together.
Now of course we don’t want to be opening pizza boxes upside down more than once in our lives. The truth is we don’t always do everything right or the best way it could be done. The Lord know this and still says you’re family.
But so many people doubt this. We give up thinking we can come back from all the things we’ve done or said—things a lot more serious than opening a pizza box upside down. Now we don’t talk like this very often, but we feel it.
We shouldn’t. Scripture says we should see ourselves as the apple of God’s eye. Stop telling yourself you’re no longer an apple or a peach. Stop seeing yourself as all bruised up. Bruises heal. God forgives. The Lord gives us new days.
There is fresh growth in you and a new harvest you ought to be picking. You just need to look and see how much new is already springing forth in and around you.
Someone might think it’s too late. “I’ve already blown it with my son or daughter. She won’t talk to me anymore.” Have you prayed about it with a truly open heart? Someone else says, “I can’t seem to get my life going in a forward direction for very long.” The Lord has already surrounded you with people who care for you and will help you take those next steps. You’ve already got the forward momentum started.
It really doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how you got here. It doesn’t matter how many people you’ve left behind. None of that stops God from seeing the next thing you’re going to do right, the next person you’re going to help. The Lord isn’t withholding today’s blessings because of what you did yesterday.
Now is the time to hand off our past defeats. Scripture tells us God makes all things new.
This is very true in our passage. Basically here is what happened. A man walks inside the place where Jesus is teaching and tells him his family wants to speak with him. According to the custom of the day, Jesus probably should have stopped what he was doing and gone outside to honor his family, especially his mother.
But he doesn’t do this. Instead, Jesus asked a couple of questions, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
And this is probably what happened next: The messenger walked back outside with a confused look on his face. Jesus’ mother and brothers looked at the messenger and he looked at them. Jesus’s family asks, “Where is he?” Messenger, “Inside.” Family, “Did you tell him his family was outside waiting for him?” Messenger, “Yes…” Family, “What did he say?” Messenger, “He asked, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’” Family, “He said what?! Is he crazy? We are his family. I’m his brother and that (pointing to Mary) is his mother.”
It’s difficult to imagine his family not being offended at this point.
Let’s be clear about one thing. Jesus doesn’t renounce his family or say we should reject our families for strangers. The Bible is clear in other places that Jesus had tremendous love for his biological family. His dying request according to John’s Gospel is for John to look after his mother. He also tells us to honor our parents as he honored his own.
The thing is, when Jesus elevates the importance and value of those who are listening to him in that house, non-family members, people like you and me in effect, it doesn’t mean he’s devaluing his biological family. It means he wants everyone to know how vast God’s love is and how it encompasses you and me and all.
The Lord doesn’t call a time out to go talk to more important people. He doesn’t say stay here while I go fix someone else’s issue. The Lord is continually asking everyone to enter the house of the Lord, the circle of God’s salvation, and stop standing on the outside.
It wouldn’t take long for Jesus’ family to join him in his ministry and mission. The ended up coming inside and joining him.
At times we sit at Jesus’ feet and listen and learn and grow and follow and trust and love. But too often we get up and leave him and all that the Lord is offering us. We go off and find our own priorities and what’s important to us.
Proverbs 27:18 says, “Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit.” What we tend to we eat of.
I have a lot of plants in my courtyard and side yard. When I tend to them, they grow and bloom and our really beautiful. Sometimes it gets to be hard to do because I get busy doing other things. But when I look out and see what’s happening, I think, “Boy, I need to get to those plants.” Then I get out there and took care of them. I prune, fertilize and water, if needed. They look beautiful again.
Have you heard someone say, “Oh, I just don’t have the time for that?” What they are really saying is, “That isn’t a priority for me.” We say, the grass is greener on the other side. But the truth is, the grass is greener where we tend to it.
If you want a strong family and a peaceful home, don’t give your family your leftover time. Give them your best.
If you want to feel better physically, you have to spend time investing in your health. It’s not going to happen while you’re scrolling through social media sites! You have to make time and tend to things that are important in your life so you can bring the good things in your life that God means for you to have.
Get your best priorities on top. Put up there the people and purposes God has given you to be about. Get back with the Lord in that house and listen for awhile. You are his family. You’re the apple of his eye.
God wanted very much for Moses to be of service. But when the time came for Moses to answer the call, all he could think of was how it wasn’t possible for him. He couldn’t speak well enough, he worried. He used this to reject God’s advances.
Moses however was God’s man, and they worked things out.
You see, what Moses needed was to believe he was the right person for the job and put his priorities where they belonged. Time was up on focusing on tending sheep. He had a bigger and better purpose: He had to drive the Israelites out of Egypt and shepherd them to the Promised Land.
God never needs someone who’s already perfect has it all together. There was only one of those. But you fit exactly where the Lord wants you to be doing his work.
Believe you have what it takes. You may have opened a pizza box upside down once—perhaps twice—but today’s today and you’re not the same as you were. Someone wrote an article and offered two easy ways to lose weight. Someone named “NoSalt” had concerns and questions. “None of these techniques will work for me: 1. Let your plate control your portion. “My problem is that I eat until I feel full. Sure, I can use a small plate, but I’ll just keep going back until I feel full.” 2. Try the holiday version of intermittent fasting. Simply don’t eat for a 24–hour period. “What do I do about my hunger pains? What do I do if I want food? I’ll end up snapping at people around me, and chewing all my fingernails to the bone.” NoSalt
The author then asked if the reader noticed the thread running through the questions and statements. The unspoken thought that drives these questions is, “I don’t believe these ideas will work for me.” Or, stated another way, “I don’t believe I can make these ideas work. I don’t believe in myself.”
That’s not just NoSalt talking and disbelieving and doubting. Let go of how things have been and step into what God has purposed for your life. Be determined to make good ideas happen. Make God’s will blossom in your life.
Someone who did that to an amazing degree was Bill Havens Sr.
In his book, “100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History,” Emmy Award winning film maker Bud Greenspan describes how American Bill Havens Sr., undefeated and untied, would have been the favorite for a gold medal in canoeing at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. After several days of soul-searching, though, he decided not to make the two-week overseas boat trip to Paris because his wife was due to give birth to their child around that time, and he wanted to be at her bedside.
Their son, Frank, was born four days after the Olympics ended, so Havens certainly would have missed the birth had he competed.
“It would take almost three decades before he realized he made the correct decision,” Greenspan writes, “for in the summer of 1952 he received a telegram from Helsinki, Finland, the scene of the Olympics. The telegram read:
“‘Dear Dad, Thanks for waiting around for me to get born in 1924. I’m coming home with the gold medal you should have won.’ It was signed, ‘Your loving son, Frank.’ Frank Havens had just won the gold medal in the singles 10,000 meters canoeing event.”
Frank Havens remains the only American Olympic gold medal winner in a singles canoeing event.
Stay where you know you’re supposed to be. Tend to your God-given priorities. And see how much the Lord loves you. He’s not leaving you behind. He’s staying right with you.
Can the church say Amen?