Monday, November 4, 2013

“House Rules”

We have young children; therefore, we have house rules. You know the type: Do your chores. Don’t hit.  Clean your room. 

In the past, the kids would invariably do something they knew was wrong, only to say, “You didn't say that was against the rules!” (Kids are so good at technicalities!) Other times, they would just blatantly disobey. (Ugh!) So, in an effort to simplify and be more effective, my husband and I combined Mr. Wesley’s wisdom and a wise parishioner’s parenting tip into the “New and Improved Nelson House Rules:” 

1. Obey people in authority (parents, teachers, etc.). 

2. Do no harm to others: instead, do good to others. 

With the understanding that obedience and doing good produce positive consequences (yay!), and disobedience and doing harm produce negative consequences (boo!). 

We want our children to respect, obey, and appreciate authority so that one day that perspective will be broadened to respect, obey, and appreciate the authority of God in their lives, and in light of that, do good for others in the world. 

Case in point: Some of you may recall a Monday Morning in North Georgia I wrote in the fall called “Fruit in my Fridge.” In the article I relayed a personal story of when I said,  “I’ll know I’m RICH when my fridge is filled with fruit,” and later came home to find a huge bag of fruit hanging from my mailbox on a day when I had been seriously struggling with contentment.  

So, did you wonder who put the bag of fruit on my mailbox? 

Sherri is the obedient servant. When I learned she was my “fruit fairy,” I told her her how much the kind gesture spoke God’s love and provision right to my heart, right when I needed it.  And I asked her what possessed her to hang fruit from my mailbox, and she shared this: 

“Your words about being rich with fruit in your fridge tugged at my heart, and the Holy Spirit said, ‘You can do something about that, and do it anonymously.’ So I went to the grocery store, full of joy, and began to pick out the freshest and best looking fruit I could find.  I was so excited to think about you finding it!” 

I hope to teach my children through our family’s house rules the joy of obedience so that one day they can become the “Sherris” of tomorrow, obeying the Good Authority and blessing others with the positive, joyful consequences of doing good to others. Amen.

--Anne Nelson wife of Rev. Matt Nelson, pastor of Inman Park UMC in Atlanta. North GA Ann Conf.

God Is Still in Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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