Good morning! And HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to my baby brother Colin!
‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
My brothers are some of the funniest people I know. They are pretty darn hilarious. One by one they are people that I would hang out with and then combined they make me so hard that I cry a little. They are also very very different people from each other. All four of us are extremely different people but we also have some major similarities. We all have the same kind of random sense of humor. We all know all the words to “White Christmas” and really could quote you the movie even if not on. We all have similar features in our faces although Colin and I look way more alike then we look like Andrew and Grant. We all have very different interests but are interested in the other one.
When we were little we usually called each other the “big kids” and the “little boys.” Sometimes we still do although I don’t think the “little boys” are oh so little anymore. We would hear in our lives “hey, go get the little boys” or “Tell the big kids we are getting ready to go.” So there was a bit of division of labor not only between the four of us but between groups of us at times.
Other times we would be sent to clean our own rooms or pick up the house together. So the division of labor was either individualized or in an entire group. Either way, I could see our scripture happening. One would say they would go and didn’t while other said no way and ended up cleaning their room first. And I could probably point out who would do which. My brother Grant is quite the neat freak. We would give him a hard time because even the quarters that he collected were lined up in order along the doorway….while it was like pulling teeth to get Colin to even pick up his socks from downstairs. This was a problem for everyone else because who really wants to pick up Colin’s gross socks? Andrew and I were somewhere in the middle (my parents will probably correct me later) but I always felt as though I eventually got up to my room and made sure it was a pleasant space. I tend to get cluttery. All of this to say that we knew who found favor by actually doing the work and paying attention to the call to clean. The big kids were in the lead due to Grant’s neatness.
Lately, I have been thinking about family, by blood and chosen and realizing the need to cherish them. In my line of work, especially during this season, there are really hard and really joyous moments around family. Recently I was with a family that said goodbye to their small child. Today I read on facebook of a friend saying goodbye to his father. In addition I am seeing pictures of people I have chosen as family in my life that I miss dearly and need to call today. No matter who goes out to the vineyard, he is still a son and will be cherished according to God. God models this life of cherishing our people. Today I am reflecting on the need for such loving. These are the people we have in our lives and sometimes they drive us nuts and sometimes they give us great joy but they are a connection to this world. Please tell them so today.
I also realize that families are sometimes hard. They are hard to handle, they stress us out and for many are not a place of health and joy. If that is the case for you, I hope that you have chosen family in this life that hold you up and support you. In addition to my blood related family, I have a nephew in Chicago from my chosen sister April from seminary….and a godson in Denver….and people I would call family all over…even some new family here in McMinnville that are already very dear to my heart. This is that connection for you who have chosen a family to live in to. Cherish them too.
Prayer: Dear God, we are so thankful for family in whatever form they appear. Help us to cherish those connections, honor those who have gone before us and open our hands to hold up those who have supported us. Remind us of moments in the past and open us up for moments in the future. And when our family comes to us asking us to help may we say yes and follow through. Amen.