Neal Pollard

Caitlin Flanagan, in the July 13, 2009, edition of TIME magazine wrote an article entitled, “Why Marriage Matters.”  She begins by saying, “Buffeted by affairs and ennui, the intact, two-parent family is under assault. What America needs to get over its commitment issues. (Hint: it isn’t love)” (45).  What was so fascinating about the article was that, whether sociologists, feminists, domestic policy-makers, or other experts, they all came to the groundbreaking conclusion that children are healthier, more successful, and more productive who come from intact, two-parent homes.  Flanagan kept returning to that conclusion, even as high profile cases of infidelity were offered to show how the guilty were selfishly putting their own ideals and needs about what their families truly needed.

While I believe that it is possible for a marriage to grow more romantic, satisfying, and enjoyable each and every day of one’s married life, such is a tangible benefit of the hard work and effort invested in marriage.  It is neither automatic nor an entitlement.  It is not to be “persevered” or patronized only so long as I am having a good time, get my way, or reap the “rewards” of it as I, subjectively, decide I should.  No doubt, God created marriage to provide companionship and suitable help (Gen. 2:18ff) and a legitimate sexual outlet (1 Cor. 7:1ff).  It is enriching and even thrilling to look back over years of partnership and see in one’s spouse the depth of intimacy built by shared time and experience.  God certainly depicts a loving, close relationship in marriage as the ideal toward which to be striven (Song of Solomon, Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).  However, first and last, marriage is a lifelong commitment, an ongoing fulfillment of a vow made to and before God Himself, and a relationship that can be severed with God’s approval only under extreme circumstances.

Flanagan had so much good to say about marital partners considering how vital their staying married means to raising well-adjusted, optimally-functioning children.  She hits the nail on the head regarding the deep-seeded, lasting negative effects of divorce upon families and, ultimately, society.  Yet, while it may only be a matter of semantics, I disagree with her premise.  Staying married is about love.  It is about knowing how to love, God’s way, and intentionally, intensely, and indefinitely, nurturing and growing that love in the marriage.  Love involves duty, but it is so much more than that.  It is an act of the will more than a flutter of the heart. Yet, its payoff for marriage gives a man and a woman a lifelong glimmer of light that burns brighter even as the lights of our own lives gradually dim.  Let us love our spouses with biblical love and watch the seismic effects for good upon the home, the church, and the culture!



Neal Pollard

I downloaded an entire album of his greatest hits, probably because he was my grandfather’s favorite musician and he and my son were born in the same town about a century apart. He only lived 36 years before succumbing to the effects of tuberculosis.  Yet, a good argument can be made that he was a prominent ancestor if not the father of country, bluegrass, blues, and even rock and roll music.  To enjoy such success in so short a lifetime, Jimmie Rodgers had to be a driven, motivated person.  Rodgers had organized two traveling shows by the age of 13, at which age he won an amateur talent contest.  He recorded 110 songs in six years, fighting through the effects of TB to the very end.  His determination to make a living from music was rewarded by awards, recognition, and tributes, though most were offered posthumously.  It was not accolades but adoration for the brand of music he created that drove him.

In Colossians 3:23, Paul says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”  Contextually, Paul is speaking to Gentile slaves serving in the Roman Empire in the first century.  Considering human nature, it would have been easy for these slaves to slack off or simply lack motivation to serve in such a debasing, hopeless existence.  In the NIGTC on Colossians, Dunn says,

The implication is that one of the chief dangers of the slave status

was a lack of personal motivation which made all work a drudgery

provided grudgingly, with lack of effort and always with a view to doing

as little as one could get away with. Such an attitude can be sustained

only at tremendous personal cost, with other aspects of the personality

“switched off,” withdrawn, or suppressed, or with a calculating motivation

fed by resentment and bitterness (255).

I cannot imagine having to live such a life, but in whatever circumstances of life I find myself there are some key thoughts from this passage about how I lead it.

BE DETERMINED, WHATEVER.  It does not matter how menial or tedious the task is.  Not every task in glamorous; many are pretty thankless.  Whether we are being watched or not, let us work with determination.

BE DETERMINED, WHOLEHEARTEDLY.  The word translated “heartily” is the Greek word for “soul,” and literally means “from the soul.”  One translation has “put your whole heart into it” (NEB).  Christians know what our purpose and our goal is, so we should make an all-out pursuit in every facet of our lives!  We are (or should be) 100 percent people, in our work, our relationships, our families, and the church.

BE DETERMINED, WHOEVER.  Some are a pleasure to serve.  They are appreciative and maybe even generous.  Others grumble, criticize, and ignore even thoughtful gestures and special touches. This cannot effect our output.  Whoever we are serving, we must work as though every bit of it is for the Lord. Try out that ethic and any task is more than bearable.  Ultimately, He gives the reward.

Give your best shot, whatever you are doing.  What awaits you is the ultimate recognition.  You will even find you love doing it, however difficult the people with whom or for whom you must work might be.  If slaves could do it and were expected to do it, what about us?  Be determined!


Goodness Or Grace?

Neal Pollard

He was “a model student, very keen, very enthusiastic,” according to a former teacher, Michael Rimmer. “He was a very nice, friendly person. He was a person who did a lot of good things,” added a former classmate, Efemena Mokedi.  He is educated, wealthy, and cultured.  But, unless he changes, he is lost.

That last statement seems illogical to the average person.  What do you need more than a great personality, friendliness, and good deeds?  Most people say that if they are basically good, moral people, it will be enough to get them to heaven.

Isaiah declared that man’s righteousness is like filthy rags (64:6).  Paul wrote, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).  Do you see what Paul makes essential to eternal life? God’s mercy.  God’s grace.  God’s Spirit.  God’s Son. God’s plan.  That does not negate obedience (see Titus 2:11-14), but it shows us that whatever goodness we have to commend us is insufficient.  Our standards are inaccurate and incomplete.

Still unconvinced? Guess who is described in the first paragraph.  His name is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  He is now better known to many as “The Christmas Day Terrorist,” the man who came so close to blowing up Northwest Flight 253 as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam.  He does not claim Jesus as Lord (John 14:6).  He does not recognize the God of the Bible (2 Thess. 1:7-9).  Abdulmutallab is simply an extreme example that should cause us to reexamine the notion that I can get to heaven by being a basically good person.  Not one person will be in heaven who have not had the blood of Christ applied to their sins (Rev. 1:5; Eph. 1:7).



Neal Pollard

Sunrises and sunsets? Beautiful music? The face of a little child? Emotion from one from whom you would not expect it? Witnessing acts of charity and kindness?  Something moves you.  It motivates you.  Preachers, employers, leaders, and others try to tap into what moves people to produce the desired response.  So do spouses and parents.

I find it interesting that Paul said that bonds and afflictions did not move him (Acts 20:24).  The psalmist says the blessed and righteous man would not be moved by opposition and trouble (Psa. 16:8).  The idea conveyed in scripture is a difference between being moved–troubled, distressed, and disturbed–by lack of faith and courage and being moved by the things that ought to touch, stir, and break the heart.

The cross ought to move us.  The love of God ought to move us.  Grace ought to move.  Fear of judgment and hell ought to move us.  Thoughts of the joy and bliss of heaven ought to move us.  The brotherly kindness of others, either shown to us or to another, ought to move us.  The tearful repentance of another ought to move us. Singing praise to God ought to move us. Others’ grief ought to move us. One’s decision to become a Christian ought to move us.  Proof of God in nature ought to move us.

Isn’t it interesting that God has placed within us a chord that can be struck by deep, spiritual things?  It is disturbing to think that some are not or no longer moved by the things just mentioned.  Some are moved to tears by puppy dogs and sentimental movies but unmoved by Calvary and God’s free gift.  May we be a people whose hearts are reached by the powerful gospel and the God it reveals!



Neal Pollard

A church that has been around for nearly fifty years accumulates a lot of history and experiences.  In that span of time, no doubt a few will have asserted that the Bear Valley church of Christ has not always been as warm and friendly as they should.  In fact, that charge has been leveled at probably every church by someone at one time or another.  Because of the strong doctrinal stand of this congregation over the decades, some have accused us of being unloving.  Yet, after three and a half years serving as your preacher, I have to say that I have never known a more loving church.  I make this claim based on three biblical truths.

You Are A Loving Church Because Of Your Giving. In recent weeks, both elders and missions committee members have repeated the same thing.  This church’s generosity is unbounded.  The elders presented an ambitious increase in the weekly budget and you have exceeded it.  The missions committee proposed an astronomical figure on Missions Sunday and you met it!  The end of year freewill contribution to our missionaries was the largest in history.  This has come despite a financial crisis unknown in our times, with many of our own having been laid off and out of a job.  How does one explain this?  As with the churches of Macedonia, your liberal giving is proof of your love (cf. 2 Cor. 8:24).

You Are A Loving Church Because Of Your Deeds. On almost a daily basis, I hear of your benevolent acts toward the needy, your inviting neighbors and co-workers to church services or otherwise sharing the gospel, or some deed of kindness you have done for another member.  The visits, the rides to doctor appointments, the calls, the cards, and other tangible actions testify of your love.  I literally do not dare to try and list specifics, as you overflow with such deeds.  Truly, as John said, this is love.  He urged, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).  Your tongue is often filled with loving words, but you back it up with your deeds.

You Are A Loving Church Because Of Your Support Of Gospel Preaching.  It is true that the clearest, largest example of this is your commitment to the school of preaching that is 44 years in duration and continuing.  You have send sound, caring men into the fields for over four decades and heaven will be populated with people taught by our graduates.  You are doing the same with the work of the extension program.  But, as a preacher, I know your love firsthand.  Not every sermon I preach is feel-good and positive.  I have to preach difficult topics, those unpopular even among some claiming to be members of the Lord’s church.  You are kind and complimentary of even such sermons.  You have made our family feel so much a part of this church family.  I am grateful and do not even have to ask why.  I know why.  You are a loving church (cf. 3 John 5-8).

It is a daily pleasure to preach for a loving church.  As we face the challenges, trials, and opportunities of tomorrow, may we resolve to grow more loving each day.  If we are always motivated to love God truly and first of all, we will be known far and wide as “that loving church.”



Neal Pollard

The healthcare debate is still raging, with a vote expected to pass at least an expanded, tax-funded version of what we now have. To whatever extent tax subsidized abortion is part of the new plan, it is at odds with scripture.  God hates the shedding of innocent blood and any individual or nation that engages in what He calls abomination does so to their own ruin (cf. Prov. 6:17; 14:34).  The ancient Hippocratic Oath (usually dated around 400 B.C.), as quoted at, includes these words from Hippocrates of Cos, ancient Greek physician, includes these words:  “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”  While modern medical school graduates are not required to pledge to uphold the ancient version, the assumption made by all patients is that doctors and nurses work to save rather than destroy life.  We should pray but also take every peaceful, law-abiding action we can to oppose any dangerous, national step away from our Creator and Redeemer.

About 200 years prior to Hippocrates’ work, the prophet Jeremiah wrote of the ultimate physician.  Jeremiah’s peers seriously needed His intervention, but they steadfastly rejected it.  In Jeremiah 8:22, the weeping prophet implies three invaluable traits of a great physician.

A great physician knows how to properly medicate.  Jeremiah implies that the “balm” was present. Exell shares an interesting insight about this substance.  He says,

There (in the rocky region of Gilead, NP) the fragrant, resinous gum,

possessed of such famous healing properties, was to be found–found,

however, not by the casual, unobservant traveller who happened to pass

by that way, but by the man who clambered up the rocks, scaled the heights,

diligently searched among the precious, storm-stunted shrubs, yielding

the healing gum” (Vol. 9, 219).

So, this was a physician who knew what would help and was willing to engage in the painstaking process of administering the cure.  God knows what is best for us, spiritually, and He provides the cure for the soul.  At Calvary, He provided the only answer to an eternally serious problem.  We can trust His diagnosis for our condition!

A great physician is present.  Jeremiah’s rhetorical question, “Is there no physician there?,” demands an affirmative answer.  Judah’s problem was not lack of God’s presence.  They refused to “go to the Doctor.”  Mayo Clinic or M.D. Anderson have some of the best physicians in the country, but they cannot save the patients who do not come to them for help. One never has to wonder if the Great Physician is “in,” for He always is (Heb. 7:25).

A great physician helps the patient recover.  Judah’s failure to recover was not because God was incapable of effecting the cure.  Again, Jeremiah asks the rhetorical question of why there was no recovery of Judah’s spiritual health.  It was the sin and shortcoming of the patient, not the physician.  So it is with us.  Whatever your spiritual ailment, He is able to save you!  However seemingly fatal, it is curable!

Our hearts break at the 27-year practice of legalized abortion in this country.  Wherever medical ethics breach spiritual ethics, God will bring about consequences for such.  Yet, whenever and wherever we live, we must urgently get the word out about the Great Physician.  It is such great news that He is perfectly knowledgeable, ever-present, and limitlessly able.  He offers free check ups, if we will meet Him in scripture.



Neal Pollard

The Bible could not be clearer about God’s attitude toward both the proud and the humble. He plainly regards pride as synonymous with wickedness. The wicked “speak arrogantly” (Ps. 94:4). The one with a perverse heart “has a haughty look and an arrogant heart” (Ps. 101:5). The proud treat others wrongfully (Ps. 119:78). But, when you imagine a proud person, do not think of a wino in a back alley, smoking crack, cursing, and indulging in every sort of immorality. More often, he looks like the Pharisee in the temple thanking God that he’s not like that guy (Lk. 18:10-14). He could be the “older brother” of Luke 15, not obviously immoral or riotous or wasteful or overtly disobedient. He may go to church with us. He may even be us. How can we tell when we see him or her? Here are three questions to ask:


“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor comes humility” (Pr. 15:33). With these words, the Bible connects honor and humility but does so concerning the subject of instruction. Contrast this with Jeremiah’s audience, of whom it was said, “But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction” (17:23). All of us play the role of students in multiple relationships. Do we think we know more than our teachers? Do we feel like they cannot tell us anything we do not know or show us a way better than we are already doing it? Do we regard such teachers with contempt, looking down on them and even slandering them? Behind such folly is unteachable pride.


Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 15:5 calls this same person “a fool.” A proud heart leads one to bristle and rebel when another attempts to correct him or her. Correction is to be given with humility (2 Tim. 2:25) but mustn’t it also be received that way? If not, why not? We are to show all humility to all men (Ti. 3:2), being clothed with humility (1 Pet. 5:5). That is most stiffly tested when we face the correction of another, whether parents, elders, a spouse, a friend, a teacher, an employer, or whoever may be in a position to have to suggest a course of correction for us.


David describes the wicked in a number of unflattering ways in the 10th Psalm, then adds, “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (4). Few of us, if asked, would say that was true of us. We want to be thought of as those who seek God and think about God. Yet, if we are self-centered and full of self, there is no place in our hearts for divine guidance. If I am proud, I do not stop to think about what God thinks of my words before I speak them. I just blurt them out. If I am proud, I do not consider what His Word says before I act. I just do it. Obnoxious, selfish, and proud behavior is not the mark of one seeking God. It is of one seeking self. The Holy Spirit calls us to use the mirror of scripture to honestly answer this question. Through James, He says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is fist pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Js. 3:16-18). Therein is the litmus test determining pride and humility.

This is a serious matter, deserving full attention. Pride drives a wedge in one’s relationship with God (Ps. 138:6). Pride causes friction between one and God (Pr. 3:34). Perhaps no statement makes self-examination on this matter more urgent than Proverbs 8:13, where God simply says, “Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Lord, let us be a humble people!



Neal Pollard

There were two characters that scared me as a little boy.  The first was a villain named the “Spellbinder” from the PBS show, “Electric Company.”  Maybe it was because Joan Rivers was the narrator of “The Adventures Of Letterman,” but I digress.  The other character was from Greek mythology, a female monster capable of turning anyone who looked at her into stone.  Being the snake lover that I am, the fact that a pit of vipers was swirling around where her hair should have been did not give opportunity for attraction.  I am over my Spellbinder phobia, but Medusa still troubles me!  And, yes, it is the many-headed snake thing.

There is another many-headed snake out there, more frightening than Medusa.  It is described and depicted in scripture.  “A gossip betrays a confidence” (Prov. 11:13a).  “A gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28b).  “Without a gossip a quarrel dies down” (Prov. 26:20).  Describing those filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity, Paul includes that “they are gossips, slanderers” (Rom. 1:29,30).   Proverbs 25:23 decries the negative influence of “a backbiting tongue.”  Paul feared that at Corinth he would find “slander and gossip” (2 Cor. 12:20).  David said that only one who “has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong, and casts no slur on his fellowman” can dwell in the Lord’s sanctuary (Psa. 15:1,3).

Gossip, backbiting, slander, or whatever other name we give this practice, is a difficult sin for the best of Christians to avoid.  It is, however, a true Medusa, a multi-headed snake.  That may sound harsh, but think about what we do when we engage in gossip.

We are attacking the subject of our gossip. Sometimes, the attack is overt.  We show open disdain or contempt for the one whose back we are biting.  At other times, we may be more sophisticated or subtle in our attack.  We might even launch it under the guise of a position of spiritual superiority or genuine concern.  A grenade by any other name still explodes and does damage.

We are engaging in cowardice. Few people who engage in gossip are brazen enough to say the same thing in the same way to the person that they say about the person.  If you would not sign your name to it and give it to them, do not say it about them.  Cowards are not admirable people.

We are lowering others’ estimation of ourselves, thus harming our influence. That is an irony of gossip.  You cannot bring someone else down without taking the trip with them.  The weak-minded may hear slander or backbiting about another and completely swallow and follow the stated opinion, but most people see gossip as being much more telling a statement about the slanderer.  A further irony is that gossips threaten people’s trust and intimacy with them.  A thinking person will be wary of a gossip, perhaps wondering, “If they say this about ‘him’ or ‘her,’ what are they saying about me to others?”  That’s a great question.

We are flagrantly disregarding the Golden Rule. When we gossip, we are not treating the name, reputation, work, and character of the victim they way we would want ours treated.  Defamation of character, undermining, and whisperings do damage, damage we would not done to ourselves.

Beware!  It is easy to become a Medusa.  If tempted to speak badly of another, stop!  You risk hurting others and yourself more than the mythic damage she did.  Let true, brotherly love prevail (cf. Heb. 13:1; Rom. 12:10).


Does Jesus Fit The Description?

Neal Pollard

What were the Jews thinking who read or heard the prophesy of Isaiah?  After several warnings of pending captivity and doom for many of God’s chosen ones, Isaiah, by inspiration, begins to look forward to a period of time in which God would send a special servant to redeem and rescue them.  So many Old Testament pictures of this Messiah was of One unlimited in power and greatness, a King, and One greater even than Moses or David.  They could envision the Jewish army led by such a commander in chief, perhaps conquering all other nations of the earth and ushering in unprecedented domination and prosperity.  Yet, at times they had an enigma on their hands.  Descriptions of this coming One in certain scriptures were at odds with their preconceived notions of who this Messiah would be.

Things have not changed in time.  It is not just a Jewish, first-century or 21st-century problem.  Man tends to try and fit Jesus into his own mould.  Many want Jesus, but only the Jesus they imagine and desire.

Some want the King, but not the suffering Servant.  Isaiah 52:13 through the end of the next chapter depicts One with an appearance disfigured beyond human likeness, despised and rejected, pierce, crushed, wounded, oppressed and afflicted, led like a lamb to the slaughter, cut off from the land of the living, suffering, and numbered with transgressors.  How could such a One be the mighty leader of Jewish conquests?  Rabbis chose to ignore or leave unexplained such passages as these.  Yet, we could not have the King God intended without His first having suffered and died (Heb. 2:9).

Some want an earthly Lord, but not a heavenly Lord.  Premillennialists have constructed an entire doctrine centered around their misunderstanding of both Old and New Testaments, the summation of which is that Jesus will return to earth for a thousand years to sit upon a literal throne in Jerusalem.  They strain symbolic and figurative passages, interpreting such things as the battle of Armageddon, the 144,000, a period of tribulation, and much more as having literal fulfillment at some future point.  On His way to the cross, Jesus emphatically told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).  No passage tells us Jesus will return to this earth, much less set up an earthly kingdom here.  Instead, the earth will be destroyed with fire at His coming (2 Pet. 3:10ff) and all mankind will be caught up in judgment before Christ’s heavenly throne (1 Thess. 4:13ff; Matt. 25:31ff; John 5:28-29; etc.).  His spiritual Kingdom, the church (cf. Dan. 2:44; Matt. 16:18-19; Mk. 9:1; Heb. 12:28), is already in existence and is spiritual in nature.  That is not glamorous to the majority, perhaps, but it is biblical.

Some want a baby Jesus, but not the eternal Judge. The babe in a manger, adorned with swaddling clothes, cooing and dependent upon Mary for food, clothing, and protection, is a safe Savior.  He makes no demands, sets no expectations, teaches no doctrine, and sits in a fetal position rather than a position of authority.  Certainly, the incarnation (Jesus coming in the flesh) and the virgin birth are essential doctrines of Christianity.  That He was a baby in this eternal scheme is not denied!  Yet, many want only such a Jesus.  They pass over passages that speak of Him sitting upon the throne of judgment some day, consigning the disobedient and ignorant to eternal condemnation (cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-10).  But sit in judgment He will most certainly one day do (Matt. 25:31-34).

He is a King.  He has all authority on earth.  He came to earth as a newborn baby.  Yet, as accurate as these pictures are, they are incomplete.  They must be understood in the full light of scripture rather than by looking through selected windows we cut to our own custom dimensions.  Let us accept the whole Jesus, love Him, serve Him, obey Him, and look forward to an eternity with Him!



Neal Pollard

The boys and I went shopping for Kathy last night.  She was singing at a nursing home with the Monday night Ladies Bible class, and we decided it was the perfect night to stock up on Christmas gifts for her.  We went to the mall and parked in front of one of the stores (can’t say which one because that’s where we bought present number one).  I asked Carl, our youngest son, to hold the bag containing that gift.  We proceeded to go in and out of several stores.  The bag from the next store where we purchased Mom a gift was held by Gary, our oldest.  Then, we went into another store later and Dale (middle son) and I each had to hold a bag from there.  We went into Sears, where I bought coffee filters.  Carl, exhausted by now, sat in a chair to rest.  We then proceeded to another store to stop, get help from an employee, and look for an item.  Then, we finally made it back through the first store and out to the car.  As we were loading our bags into the back, I asked Carl where his bag was.  His eyes got big and his mouth didn’t move.  I knew the answer!  He had laid it down and carelessly walked off without it!  How irresponsible!  What are we going to do?  Surely somebody has stolen it by now.  Let’s hurry back. I was in a hurry and admittedly unhappy with Carl’s lapse in judgment.  We rushed into the store where we had stopped to ask for help a few minutes before.  We went back to the part of the store we were directed to search for the item we were looking for.  The bag was not there.  We then went back to Sears, talked to HR, LP, and some other agency whose initials I don’t remember.  I was giving Carl the silent treatment, the disappointed parent look, and the “what are we going to do” attitude.  No sign of the bag in Sears.  Well, we decided to cut back to the car through the store we had been in before Sears.  Gary saw the bag, still sitting at the counter where we had asked for help the first time.  It had been 11 minutes since we stood at the trunk.  I know, because I was keeping up with it.  Crisis over.  Dilemma solved.  Bag in hand, then in trunk.  Time to breathe deeply and heave a sigh of relief.  Sort of.

Yes, I tried to recover the situation.  I put my arm around him and smiled.  He was relieved that we found the bag and understood that it was a mistake on his part.  But, what about my initial reaction?  I could not shake that as I replayed it in my mind.  I did not shout, but I overreacted.  Should I have gotten sullen or impatient?  Even if we had never found the (fairly expensive) gift, so what?  I had the opportunity to teach that finding a bag is not as big a deal as it is to keep shining your light when an unfavorable wind blows your way.

Do you know when I find it easy to be patient?  When it’s easy to be patient.  When is it hardest to be patient?  When patience is most tried.  When we do need to show the most patient?  When it is hardest to be patient!  How humbling and shameful it is to fail when put to the test.  My failure was larger than Carl’s.  I told him so.  Since you know, I’ve told you, too.  Hopefully, this is a reminder to be patient especially when it is not second nature to do so.