July 24, 2019

Sunday for Children’s Time, I used my running shoes as an object lesson for the children. I explained that having running shoes didn’t make me a runner, wearing running shoes didn’t make me a runner, and that the only way to be a runner was to run.

The disturbing part of the Children’s Time happened when I first showed the children the shoes. When I explained that they were my running shoes, Meg, who was sitting on the first pew, started laughing. I was offended.

At the second worship service, when I showed the children my running shoes, a lot of people started laughing. I was offended.

Monday afternoon, Dr. Bradley and I were visiting in my office when Amanda walked in with my running shoes. She had been in the sanctuary and decided to save me a trip. Dr. Bradley said, “There’s your running shoes.” Amanda said, “They’re not running shoes. Trust me, they are just shoes.” They both started laughing. I was offended.

Have you ever met someone who is always offended by something someone says or does? It’s as if they have a perpetual chip on their shoulder that they want someone to knock off. Those people are hard to live with and certainly don’t have the joy of Jesus Christ in their hearts. We are about more than that. We are about joy.

Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:10-11)

You cannot be a sourpuss and be a Christian. It doesn’t work that way because to know Jesus is to know grace, love, and joy. So if you are continually offended by what others say and do – get over it. Life’s too short to be angry all the time. Live in joy. It’s the best way to live.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, fill my heart with joy, my mind with peace, and my spirit with gratitude. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

As I left the church office Monday afternoon, Carol, the staff babysitter who runs marathons, saw me carrying my shoes. She said, “Those are nice running shoes.” Everyone started laughing. I was offended.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins