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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mint Wrapper Theology.....

Starbrite Mints.

Mundane candy choice, or lesson in theology?

To me? Both.

Until a few years ago, I was part of a ministry team, we coordinated a counseling center.

One of our traditions... was STARBRITE MINTS. They were kept in little apple-shaped candy dishes, in each of the offices.

One of the incredible parts of this ministry, was that as we were volunteers, and "family" we often brought our kids to the office with us. ( I did quite a bit when we were homeschooling) There was a room that was "kid friendly" when it wasn't being used for counseling kids- our own kids were using it. It made for interesting experiences;)

One day, I came out of a counseling session, and went to check on my guys. (To see what havoc they had caused during my absence) I happened to look in the garbage can as I passed it.

Inside, I found probably 2-3 candy dishes full of unwrapped STARBRITE MINTS. I was peeved, to say the least.

I also found a pile of mint wrappers, hoarded on a table.

I disciplined the wasteful culprit. I cleaned up the office, with their help- and tossed the whole mess in the trash.

Later, (after Mom had chilled out a bit) My middle guy explained....

"You threw out my mint wrapper collection".

"Mint Wrapper Collection?" (that was a new one)

My attitude toward the incident changed. It wasn't REALLY an intentional wastefulness, it was a childish creative endeavor. I had thrown out what I had seen as "garbage', and what was really a precious "collection".

Later- after sharing the story with some friends- they quickly acted to rectify the "injustice and loss" that my guy had suffered. They each carefully, unwrapped their precious "Dove" chocolates, smoothed the wrappers, and collected them in an envelope.

A new "Mint Wrapper Collection" was born. One that wasn't based on waste- (intentional or otherwise) but, one that was a gift of love.

My son still remembers. Somewhere, in the clutter of our home- is an envelope with those wrappers.

Now- they serve me, as a reminder of intent, and perspective.

I think we're all tempted to jump to judge anothers intent. I did. I saw wrappers, I saw mints- it added up to intentional waste, to me. On the surface, it was. But, underneath? It wasn't. The intent was collecting the precious. I think, too often I do the same with others. Although I HATE math... I see something, and to my mind it's simple algebra: A+B=C.
Action (witnessed) + Bold assumption (on my part) =Careless assessment . I take my opinion on what someones intent must be, and act as if it's fact. (ummm let's just say, the mint wrappers weren't the last time I did that!)

Math may be simple- (well... not so much for me;) but people are NOT.

I also think we're pretty quick to see some of the people and things that God loves and treasures, as garbage. When actually, they are His own "Mint Wrapper Collection".
The wrapper, the part that I would have tossed, my son, gathered as precious. God is more like Matt, then me.

Ocassionally, I meet someone, who "rubs me the wrong way" I feel like it would be better to ignore that person, or not deal with them. (of course- it would be better for us all around)

In a way- I'm tempted to toss them like trash, out of my life.

I think we need to be careful, we need to be reminded of each person's value and preciousness in God. I want to be like Matt (my middle guy) I want to collect what others would toss, I want to hold precious all of God's treasures. The truth is- I am often one of those people. I rub the wrong way. I irritate. I frustrate and aggravate. To some, I am a Mint Wrapper. The truth is- we all could be- to someone.

I want to be a "Mint Wrapper Collector"

Dear Lord, I pray, that you'd grow me in love, that you'd help me to see areas where I'm judging anothers intent, and am sooo wrong. I ask you to forgive me Lord, I pray that you'd help me to treat others as the treasures they are- even when they irritate and frustrate, I love you Lord- amen.

I can hear a sweet (thought politically incorrect, in a way- but not in INTENT, song..)

Jesus Loves the Little Children....

Jesus Loves the little Children,
All the children of the world,
Red and Yellow, Black and White
All are precious in His sight
Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World.

I've re-written it for fun.....and challenge:

Jesus Loves The Annoying:

Jesus loves the annoying
All the tough ones in the world,
Crabby, grumpy, right and wrong,
All are precious in His sight
Jesus loves annoying people,
- me and you!

And we should too. ;)

There is a new post over at Missional Mom- today- fyi;)
Its my adventure on the way home from Summer school, Today!

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