Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Being Nice

Oh to meet people who know how to be nice! And, once in a while you really do!

This past Friday I was working in the office when my reading glasses decided they were finished with me and they broke. No I didn't break them - not that I haven't come close to that many times. It was like a spring broke and they fell apart. So after work off I went to buy new reading glasses.

Since being here in Ft Myers, Vicki had gotten new glasses at Eye Glass World off 41 so I headed to the same place. I had my eye exam and purchased the two for one deal which gives me a pair of reading glasses at home and one at the office! Vicki likes that so I can stop asking where my glasses are. I didn't need them Friday night so I agreed to pick them up on Saturday morning.

We would all like to think that everywhere we went the person on the other side of the counter would have OUR best interest at heart. But, you know that is rare in our world today. We are always being offered something we do not need or want. At times the salesperson is having a bad day or a bad life and they are obviously not happy.

Well let me sing the praises of Shane. This young man - married and with a family moved here as a child and has lived here over 30 years. First, he looked nice and by that I mean he obviously cleaned up after he got out of bed in the morning. He was nicely dressed - tie and all. He immediately caught my name (more later) and treated me with great respect. He had wonderful manners and he seemed to really enjoy his job. He gave me full attention even though the place was very busy.

When I came back for the glasses on Saturday he immediately addressed me as Mr. Kelchner. Now today I had a needed adjustment on one pair and stopped in at the store again, as I came through the door three days later I heard this voice calling me Mr. Kelchner. Actually I needed to check my pulse to see if I had died and gone to another world. He remembered my name. My need was again cared for without question and in a timely and caring manner.

This time I made Vicki go in with me to meet Shane because of how impressed I was with him. I also made sure to ask for his manager and let him know what a wonderful employee he was honored to have work there.

If Shane has found his place in life I hope he enjoys it to the fullest and I know he will make others happy because of how he treats others. Of course from my viewpoint someone should hire him for a much more important position because what he has you cannot put a price tag on.

So, I share that to first brag on a positive human experience with someone right here in Fort Myers. I also share it as a reminder to us all. Just be nice! Make being nice a way of life. Think the best of everyone not the worst. Just treat everyone like you would wish to be treated. Its always the right thing to do - so just do it! If you've failed and been harsh, suspicious, or whatever the negative emotion might be then ask God to forgive you.

Step two is to go make it right with the person you hurt in someway. You really will not change unless you learn how to go to another and say "I was wrong, I'm sorry". This has nothing to do with whether they did something rightly or wrongly its about how you reacted. You are not responsible for what others do but you are responsible for what you do.

Finally, deliberately train yourself to be more positive and less negative. If you need a lesson, go visit Shane and tell him I sent you.

Blessings to all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family

I'm well into my 40th year of church work and the longer I go the more I am convinced that to a large degree church is about being part of a family. In America we have been raised with so much individualism that we often think that even our walk with God can be a solo act. However, Scripture teaches us the God is all about family. So he calls us his children and the family of God. He calls us sons and daughters and when Scripture speaks of the church it speaks of being "one" body.

So, I'm big on making people aware of how vital it is to be part of a church where the sense of family is obvious and sincere. Don't go to a church because of its denominational name, its history or even based on its theological stance alone. Find a church where you can truly feel like you are one of the family. Go where every time you come through the door you know somebody loves you.

I was just reading from the latest issue of the Christian Century. I want to quote something from the Editor's Desk. Elaine Pagels begins her book Beyond Belief with a reference to standing in a church vestibule. She is not a church goer. But a few days before, a doctor told Pagels and her husband that their two year old son was terminally ill.

"standing in the back of that church, I recognized, uncomfortably, that I needed to be there... here was a place to weep...and here was a ... community that had gathered to sing, to celebrate, to acknowledge common needs, and to deal with what we cannot control or imagine... here is a family that knows how to face death"

Everyday when I come into our church I feel like I've come home. Every Sunday when our congregation gathers I feel like its a family reunion. I don't have to face life or even death alone because I am part of a family. We don't have to all look the same or believe the same. We don't even have to like all the same things. What matters is that I feel a great sense of love and acceptance every time we are together.

For me that is the message I want to spread about our church in particular and about what church is supposed to be in general. All the great services of music and the word (and I've been in plenty of great services) cannot compare to the Christ I feel in each handshake and embrace. Here we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. It's who we are and who we pray we will always be. We are a family.

Like life itself our church will have to go through many ups and downs but as long as we are truly a family we'll make it through. But, if we ever loose that sense of love and warmth then that's when we are truly in danger of loosing our existence. In fact, in that case we have probably forfeited our right to continue.

Jesus instructed us to love one another. That's the frame of mind I hope we will all learn to have whenever we come together as a church family. I'm part of the family and my job today is to make sure that everyone else in the family feels loved. What an exciting and rewarding way to live out what it means to be part of the family of God.