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Mark 149 - For This Reason

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Mark 10:6-9

I’m a buttoned-down kind of guy. I like structure. I like things to be organized. I like things in their place. I color only in-between the lines of life.

When I wash dishes, which I do every day, I pick out all the forks first. I wash, rinse, and put them in the drying tray. I then do the same with spoons. And then with knives. I then wash all the cooking and serving utensils in the same way.

I won’t bore you with how I pre-rinse and pre-organize everything before I even start washing. And then there’s the washing of dishes, serving bowls, cups, glasses. I bet you can guess how I wash them. But can you guess how I dry and put them away?

I do it this way because this is the way I was taught by my mom. To wash dishes in our house, you had to do it a certain way. There was a right way. The Rita way. Anything else was the wrong way.

In Rita’s kitchen, she was in charge. Things were done her way. We could ask why, and sometimes there was a logical reason. And then sometimes it was because her mother did it that way. And then there were those times when you just got “the look” and you did it her way without asking any more questions.

The same thing applies in God’s kitchen, or should I say God’s world. It’s his and he gets to make the rules. We can question why, we can fuss, we can pout, we can protest, we can even hold our breath. But in the end, this is his world. He made it and he made it a certain way.

There’s a flow to how he made things. There’s also a flow to how he made us. To go along with how he made life to work, we’ll always have him behind us. But to go in a different direction, to live outside the bounds of his plan, we’ll have him in front of us. And not in a good way.

It may sound really old fashioned, but in Rita’s kitchen you did things her way. And we were happy to, for a couple of reasons.

· Love received – we knew that Rita loved us and wanted nothing but the best for us. Whatever she said was not to hurt us, or to be mean. It was meant for our good. For our benefit. For our best.

· Love expressed – we wanted to please Rita. She worked so hard for us and our family that we wanted to do whatever it took to show that to her. Even dusting the wooden floors, washing clothes, scrubbing toilets, were a visible sign of our invisible feelings

And there were great benefits to be received through her kitchen. Her homemade pasta, which was transformed into her homemade ravioli were the stuff that culinary dreams are made of. They were as light and tender as a feather. Filled with seasoned ricotta, they almost melted in your mouth.

There were so many other benefits to being in Rita’s kitchen. The fresh fish, crab soup, crabs and noodles, fried chicken, homemade pear pies, homemade orange cake. The list goes on and on.

But there was a price to be paid. And part of that price was belonging to her. The other part of that price was to do things her way.

I don’t think it’s too much for God to ask us to do the same with him.

· Family – We need to be part of God’s family. Just being born doesn’t do it. We’ve rebelled against God, putting ourselves in charge. When we admit our sin and selfishness, receiving his forgiveness in Jesus, we become family. A child of God[1]

· Follow – We volunteer to live life God’s way, according to who he is, and how he’s made us. He does all the leading and we do all the following.

When we live for his reason, it means more than just to pick up one day and change where your mail is delivered. It’s a daily, moment by moment decision to live for him. Not for ourselves. For him.

Now, that’s a real reason to live.

[1] John 1:12

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