Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jack's bucks

Funny story.  It goes like this:

Tonight, like every Wednesday night, I took the big boys to AWANA.  We were part of AWANA club in Abilene, Greenville and now, in Cabot, we have found a church where the boys go every week.  They work through a book in which they memorize God's Word.  For every verse they memorize (or section that gets completed), they get AWANA "bucks."  At the end of the quarter they take their bucks and go into the AWANA store where they buy stuff that clutters up our house.  Jack had earned 17 bucks.

 Tonight, Brady, Austin, Ty and I went to pick up Jack from his class.  A huge grin appeared on Jack's face as he saw us in the doorway.  Up he hopped and right over to Ty he went.  "Ty!  It was store night and I bought you things you have wanted your whole life!"  He begins showing Ty what he bought for him.  Pure joy.  Remember that verse: "It's more blessed to give than to receive."  Yeah, it's true.  Jack couldn't have been happier.  "It looks like you picked out some good things Jack." I tell him.  "We gave him a few bucks to spend." His teacher explains.  Now that is odd.  Usually they only do that for the kids who don't have any bucks.  "Did you get out all the ones in your bag?"  I ask.  I get a blank stare from both Jack and his elderly lady teacher.  His AWANA bag holds his AWANA book in the main pouch, then there is a zipper pouch where we keep the bucks.  It's the most obvious place to keep the bucks.  Apparently it hadn't occurred to them to check there. 

I walk over to his bag, open the zipper.  Amazing!  (I know that's what you're thinking)  holding a newborn, a one-year-old and tackling a zipper. Thank you, but that's more credit than I deserve, the one-year-old was running the halls at this point.  So I open that zipper, and there, stuffed into a paper envelope was a wad of bucks.  It looked like something you'd find hidden in a great depression survivors home.  I pull out the envelope and Jack's teacher reaches for it.  "Oh, there they are!"  She takes them from my hand. Jack turns his attention back to Ty.  He is showering him with gifts.  Everything in that bag is for Ty.  He got him a boomerang, a tiny pumpkin eraser, two mini Frisbees and a paper airplane.  "Ty!  You've been wanting these your whole life!  You've been wanting these for 100 years and I got them for you!"  Joy spilling out of his heart.  I think it got on my shoes.

I look back at his teacher who is looking through Jack's stash.  Should we give you some of the bucks back that he borrowed?  I ask.

"We need to keep them all.  That was the last store night of the year." Was her reply.

hmm... this is not my first rodeo.  I know this AWANA stuff.  I've been a leader for 6 years, two of those years serving as director for the 3rd-6th grade girls.  Since this church uses actual paper bucks and not a point system, then I don't see any reason why we can't tuck those puppies back into his bag till next fall.  I didn't give her my resume.  I just sort of thought about it as she was explaining why he needed to turn in his hard-earned bucks.  No.  Be kind Becca.  Use words that communicate love.

"Well, do you think we can keep them for next year?"  I ask.

She looks at me, shakes her head and answers, "I think it would probably be best if you don't."


You are going to take up this child's reward?  Does it make any difference if you let him keep them?  Why does this even MATTER to you??? 

I didn't know what to say.  So I just said, "Well... Ok... ok."  Then, like I do every night, I thanked her for teaching him and we left.

On the way to the van all I could think about was how Jack deserved those bucks.  How they were his and he should get to use them.  What would make this woman think she needed them?  Should I go find another teacher, explain what happened and ask that justice be done?  I'm sure the director could make this right.

I try to work through this problem in my mind and in between every line, every question I hear:

"Ty!  Do you like what I got you?"  "Mom!  I was wanting to put Ty first!"  "Mom! I gave my very best to Ty!"  "Ty, do you like the airplane?"  "I can't wait for you to try it!"

Jack = Full of joy.

Me = Bitter

Jack = Selfless

Me = Wanting what was owed us

Jack = Loving

Me = Irritated

Jack = Generous

Me = Greedy

Jack = Promoting unity

Me = wanting that old woman fired

I knew I needed to get over it.  I didn't let on to the kids that something was wrong.  I didn't tell Jack he'd just been gypped.  But in my heart, at that moment, I wanted justice more than mercy.

I did get over it.  It didn't take that long.  Just long enough for me to be reminded of my own sinful heart.  "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it."  For the last six years I have helped young girls memorize this verse.  Hoping that they will realize their own depravity and see their need for Jesus --their rescuer.

I need that rescuer.  I need him to rescue me every day.  I need him to help me kill my selfish "I should get what I deserve" attitude and replace it with a heart full and overflowing with love for others. 

What does He tell us?  "This is how they will know that you are my disciple:  If you love one another."

Christ follower, we must see our differences with people as opportunities to show a world who Jesus is.  We must use these opportunities correctly.  We cannot have a church filled with people who have open disagreements about policy, about procedures, about non-essential doctrine.

If we do. 

People won't see Jesus.

And if people don't see Jesus in us, we must ask ourselves the question:

Is Jesus in us?

Beware of divisions.  One thing the children of the world can always understand, if they do not understand doctrine; that thing is angry quarrelling and controversy.  Be at peace among yourselves.
-John Charles Ryle

1 comment:

Them Howells said...

Becca- I find myself struggling with the same things. Just last week I took extreme offense at something someone had said to me. I was hurt and angry and its all I could think about. It took TONS of prayer as I went back to work the next day that I wouldn't be bitter or react sharply to the individual that said those things. Thankfully God answered my prayers through the next conversation I had with her where he showed me how much was going on in this woman's life and how much hurt SHE was experiencing. The little comment she made to me the previous day was nothing in light of her great hurt. She didn't even realize she had offended me... and it didn't matter in the long run. What mattered was me seeing her the way God sees her.

It was a really nice lesson I needed to learn, even if it meant spending 24 hours feeling hurt and angry. Not that is okay to be angry over that situation, but it opened my eyes to my own selfishness and vanity.

It was almost like a "practice run" where God showed me what was in my heart. There could have been a lot worse ways for me to learn that particular lesson but in His goodness, he used that small scenario to teach me. Stinks that I reacted the way I did, but it was good for me to see the sin in my heart and have a chance to offer it up to God for healing and transformation.

Love you girl! Thanks for all of the wisdom. Your stories are a blessing.