Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"You...shall talk of them...when you sit..." at Red Robin

I officiated a funeral this morning for a family that attended Bethel for a short time many years ago.  The internment was down at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Bear.  It turned out that I was driving back by our kids’ school around the time Lily gets out of Kindergarten.  I don’t often get to eat lunch during the week with Beth or the kids, so I called Beth and told her I would pick up Lily and take her on a special “daddy-daughter date” lunch.

A few days ago, I asked her what she would like to do the next time we went on a daddy-daughter date.  She said, “Go to Red Robin!”  (For those of you who don’t know, it’s a restaurant.)  Red Robin is a pretty special treat.  And that’s where we went.

We had a great time.  We sat on the same side of the booth and played tic tac toe (3 for the “kitty” – no wins for either of us – she’s pretty good for a 6 year old!).  We cracked the secret code on the coloring page they provided.  We found the “Rad Burger” that was hidden somewhere on the page.  And Lily was hungry.  So hungry that when I asked her if she could handle both of her chicken strips and all of her apple slices, she said, “Of course!  I could eat the whole world!”  I said, “Really?”  She quickly reneged on the claim by saying, “Noooo!  Only God could do that!  (pause)  But he wouldn’t do that.”

I responded by saying, “Yeah, you’re right.  He wouldn’t do that.”  But then I thought of a relatively obscure passage in the book of Isaiah that I love:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." (Isaiah 25:6-9, emphasis mine)

“Yes, Daddy?” 

“Do you know that there is something that God is going to swallow up someday?” 

“No. What?” 

“He’s going to swallow up death forever one day!  And we’ll be with Jesus forever in heaven and there will be no more death!” 

“Then what will he do with the earth?” (!)

“Great question, honey!  Actually, if we die before Jesus comes back, then our bodies go in the ground and our spirits go to heaven to be with Jesus – like Big Gramma [Beth’s maternal Grandmother].  When she died, her body was buried in the ground, but her spirit went to be with Jesus in heaven.  You see, we aren’t like animals.  When they die, they just go into the ground.  They don’t have spirits.  They don’t have souls.  But we were made in the image of God and we have souls.  Does that make sense?  When Jesus comes back, our bodies will be resurrected and he will give us new bodies that will never get hurt or sick anymore.  And there will be no more death.  He’s not only going to give us new bodies, he’s also going to re-make the earth and everything will be perfect.  And we’ll live happily ever after with God in a new heavens and new earth!” 

“I think the Bible is the best book in the whole world!”

“I think you’re right, Lils.”

“The Bible is my favorite book in the whole world!”

“Mine too!”

“We need to be missionaries and tell the whole world about God.”

“We are missionaries, right here where we live.”

“But we need to get on a plane and tell the whole world…and bring a Bible!”

“Well, Daddy has gotten to talk about Jesus with quite a few people over the years who were sitting by me on airplanes.”  (pause)  “Maybe you’ll get on an airplane and be a missionary somewhere in the world someday.”

“When I have my flower shop, after I close the shop at night I can go and tell people about Jesus.” [A necessary aside: This precious little girl is named Lily Rose and she has always loved flowers.  We’ve half-jokingly, half-seriously said that she will one day own her own flower shop.  Sam has aspirations, among other things, to become a carpenter.  He has thus offered to do all the build-out in Lily’s flower shop for free.  He says, “I am her brother, after all!”]

“You know what, Lils?”

“What, Daddy?”

“I don’t think you’ll have to wait until after you’ve closed your shop to tell people about Jesus.  I bet you could tell people about Jesus even while you’re working at your flower shop.  Do you know what kinds of people often need flowers?  People who are sad.  People who have lost a loved one.  When you bring them flowers, you might have a chance to tell them about Jesus.  And, you could also paint Bible verses on the wall of your flower shop.  Some people might come in and ask, “What does that mean?” and you could tell them about Jesus!”


“So, what are you going to call your flower shop?”

“Lily’s Flower Shop.”

“Sounds like a good name to me.  Could I come and work at your flower shop with you sometimes?”

“(Smile) Yes!”
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)

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