Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6: 7-8
For this week’s post, I had planned on doing a light-hearted humorous piece that would bring a smile and maybe a chuckle. That was until the phone rang this morning. As some of you know, my mother passed away almost two years ago and my father a few before that. God has been so gracious with His comfort during our time of grief. However, one last detail has kept us from bringing closure to that great loss. That is the selling of their house which has been on the market for over eighteen months. This past week we received an offer which involved the most voracious negotiations I have ever encountered. See Tackling Tightwaddery. Even after we had been more than generous, the buyer’s demands continued mounting. The phone call was from the realtor informing us of yet more nonsensical demands from the buyer. This was the proverbial last straw that brought my heart to a place where it rarely ever goes, pettiness.
Frighteningly, I began to entertain thoughts of vindictiveness, like the divorced wife who put shrimp in the curtain rods of their home that her x-husband got in the settlement, or the disgruntled man who paid his feuding neighbor with buckets of pennies, in the amount owed for damage his dog had done to the neighbor’s yard. Gratefully, the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts before I even started down a road that would bring shame to Him and to me. He brought to my memory a story of pettiness that didn’t exactly end well. (FYI, they never do. See Bible Study below.) I recently read about a woman from Palo Alto who had been doused by a milkshake from a car of rowdy teens. To get back at them she threw her purse at the moving vehicle hoping to dent or damage it. The purse happened to land in the back open window of the offending car, along with all her credit cards and the $2000.00 of cash in her wallet!
Pettiness is a thief! (Hence the title.) It robs you of your witness, dignity, respect, peace and joy. (As we just read, sometimes even your wallet!) S.E. Jones gives five tips to help in How to Rise Above Pettiness. (CLICK HERE for full article.) Recognize it, analyze it, Label it, Put it in a better place, and Forget it. For me putting it in a better place, requires supernatural help. This morning, after praying and asking God to forgive my deceitful heart, (Jeremiah 17:9) I decided at closing to leave a bouquet of flowers in the kitchen with a note that reads. “My parents were very good and generous people and I want the last memory of their home to reflect that. May you and your family have many fond memories and times of great joy in this house for years to come.” As soon as I decided to respond this way, I felt peace. I think this is what “heaping burning coals” is all about! (Proverbs 25:21-22 CLICK HERE for explanation of this Jewish figure of speech.)
We must admit, from time to time, we all find ourselves being tempted to enter the Realm of Pettiness. Whether it is dealing with your cell phone or cable company or being very closely followed by the driver behind you. It can even be over a parking space like this humorous video clip. Watch how these men prevail over their moments of pettiness.
Enough said. May this prayer be ours. LH
Keep Us From Pettiness
Keep us, oh God, from pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding & leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pettiness & meet each other face to face,
without self-pity & without prejudice.
May we always be patient,
never hasty in judgement & always tolerant.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straightforward & unafraid.
Let us take time for all things; make us calm, serene & gentle.
Grant that we may realize it is the little things
in life that create differences,
That in the big things of life we are as one and
may we strive to touch and to know the great common heart of us all.
And oh God, let us not forget to be kind.
For a printable copy of this weeks Bible Study CLICK HERE.
“JUST SAY KNOW” BIBLE STUDY
This week we are going to look at one of the greatest examples of pettiness in the Bible. We find it in the Book of Esther. The story takes place during the Jewish captivity.
Day 1 Read Esther 2:1-23
This first day we will get familiar with the story and the main persons involved. We start in Chapter Two as the King is seeking to replace the Queen.
- How does the king find a new wife?
- How are Mordecai and Esther related?
- Why do you think Mordecai didn’t want Esther to reveal her nationality?
- Who uncovered a conspiracy? Where was it recorded?
Day 2 Read Esther 3:1-15
- What was Haman’s relationship to the King?
- Why was Haman enraged by Mordecai?
- Do you think Mordecai’s behavior warranted his death? The death of all the Jews?
Day 3 Read Esther 5:1-14
The plot thickens!
- What does Esther do? Who does she invite?
- What “ruined” Haman’s day?
- How does Haman plan to take care of Mordecai?
Day 4 Read Esther 6:1-14
God’s sovereignty rules! If you have read any of my blogs, there is no such thing as Coincidence!
- What does the king do when he can’t sleep?
- Why does the king want to honor Mordecai?
- Who does the king ask to come up with ideas to honor someone special?
- Where is Haman going at the end of this chapter?
Day 5 Read Esther 7:1-10; 8:1-9, 15-17; 9:4-5
What we sow is what we will reap. Here we see a very clear picture of this.
- What happens to Haman? Coincidence?
- Another decree is written. What does it say?
- How does the story end?
- What caused Haman’s downfall?