A Mid-Autumn Afternoon


Find out what is truly important and cling to it; then, leave everything else behind.

Matthew 13:24-43

In this reading, we find Jesus telling more stories – parables to illustrate important points of eternal value. It seemed Jesus loved to communicate this way as many of His parables are recorded in the Scriptures. Matthew 13:31 clearly reveals this fact…

Another parable He put forth to them, saying ... ~ Matthew 13:31

Parables have been called “earthly stories with heavenly meanings.” Their events are not always actual incidents, but their meanings always hit home. With your permission, I thought I’d share with you a real life parable – one that took place in our home just a few years ago...

It was an unusually cold and blustery day for mid-autumn.  The frigid temperature on the kitchen thermometer announced to our sleepy home the frosty day ahead. The chill in the air was gray and dark, and it made this frazzled Mom feel like wrapping up in a blanket and going back to bed. But as I listened to the nearby bickering and teasing, I knew this was not to be.  

With the children home from school, this day turned into a winterized “to do” list.  Mustering up all of my strength, I cheerfully announced to the restless bundles of energy, “This is a good day for building a fire in the wood stove, baking cookies, and… cleaning!”  Up until that last part, I had their undivided attention. But with the dreaded word “cleaning,” came moans drawn out long enough to rival the wind itself.

The kids’ idea of a fun time had more to do with taking out than putting back, messing up than cleaning up.  But with the promise of freshly baked cookies as a reward, the troops took to the battle of cleaning the playroom.

Now this room was quite a mess, so I knew I’d have at least a few minutes alone with my baking… and my thoughts.  I took out all of the ingredients as the “cleaning” thundered below me.  

“Why do I feel so down – so gloomy and cloudy inside?” There was a heaviness inside me that didn’t just roll in with the weather, and I didn’t like it.  Like the storm outside my window, an uninvited cloud of self-condemnation had settled low over the mountain of my jumbled thoughts.

“This is ridiculous,” I thought.  “Snap out of it.”  But nothing would help. The heaviness just wouldn’t go.

And that’s when I heard it.  Scraping.  Dragging.  Gasping for breath.  Someone was struggling to maneuver something around corners and up stairs.  Something big.  As I stood in the kitchen and waited, my curiosity mounted.

Finally, I saw the little blonde head of my 7-year-old son peek around the corner, smiling and panting.  In one hand he held a place mat that belonged on the kitchen table.  But it was what was in his other hand that caught my eye.  Awkwardly clutched under one arm was the padded corner of an exercise mat.  The end was nowhere in site as it snaked its way down the stairs. Now, this mat usually stayed down in the playroom, so I knew my next question was written all over my face.  “Adam,” I said, “what are you doing with that?”

I watched as realization lit up his face. With a look more confused than my own, he barely whispered, “I forgot I was carrying it.”  His eyes had a twinkle in them only a child’s could have, and suddenly we both burst out laughing.  Soon, he disappeared back down the stairs, giggling and tugging all the way.

We were a lot alike, my son and me.  I didn’t need my heavy load either. I had forgotten that the freedom I have in God has no limits.  It’s not only for the sunny summer days of life when the skies are blue and the feelings are not. No.  It’s intended for my mind as well as my heart, and it has no barometer for the weather. Spiritual freedom shines brightly through all the seasons of my life, and can’t be clouded. Not unless I let it.

On that chilly autumn day, my 7-year-old son learned a profound lesson about life:  find out what is truly important and cling to it, then leave everything else behind.  

And the funny thing is, so did his Mom.

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