Destination: Sanctification

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Location: Heart of Texas, United States

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pick Blue

Pick Blue

The other Sunday morning I went to find my first grade boy who had been in his Sunday School class while I was attending church service. I enjoy this time because he is usually very excited to tell me about the story, what games were played, etc. On this occasion I could tell as soon as I looked at him something was unusual. After picking him up, saying our thank yous to the teachers, and then walking about 10 paces in silence I had to know what was going on. Holding his hand, I looked down at my son and asked him to share with me about his morning. The most he could muster as his little lip quivered was, "I didn't pick blue and didn't get the candy." Now, my little boy is not fond of sweets. He will pick grapes over skittles any day of the week. So I instinctively knew that it wasn't really about the candy but something deeper. He expressed feelings of being "wronged" and I suggested we go back to the teachers to discuss it. This in itself was a new venture for me who usually runs from confrontation - but I want to teach my kids health. It is healthy to resolve conflict not ignore or run from it. So we turned tail and headed back to the first grade room.

Come to find out it was a hard lesson taught and a hard lesson learned, indeed. It was explained to me as I listened intently to the discussion between my little man (I felt that he was handling the situation like a man) and his teacher. It seems that every one of the leaders from the get go told the kids "pick blue" "blue is the color you want" "blue is the right answer" all through the lesson and even during the game. Okay simple enough. Until game time. Each kid was given four turns to choose. Key word: Choose. The child could choose a blue card or a red card. Here's the kicker. If the child chose the blue card, he got one cheerio. If the child chose the red card, he got one M&M or skittle or a star burst. The leaders went on saying "Pick blue" every time and still letting the kids know they had to be the one to choose between blue or red. Nate, sweet boy, picked blue three times. Peer pressure got him in the end. Why have a cheerio when you could have CANDY!? Poor boy. Out of the hundreds of kids only a handful chose to pick blue all four times. They are the ones who got a WHOLE bag of M&M's or Skittles or Star bursts. They were the obedient, the diligent, they chose right the whole time despite everyone else. Nate was so close and so devastated. He felt it deep inside. As the kids have been growing up we have this thing we say. I say the first half and then they complete it: "Wrong is wrong - even if everybody is doing it. Right is right - even if no body is doing it." Easy to say, hard to do. But he knew, he knew at that moment the meaning of those words that were so familiar to his ears but not his heart.

God tells us all through the bible and all through our lives: "Pick Blue"! And yet we get to choose, because red is always there: sin. It is easy, intensely satisfying, and does not ask for delayed gratification. And yet, in the end we will be empty handed. I have been able to use this powerful illustration in my own life and in the continued instruction of my kids.

Case in point.

"Nate, going to get donuts before church and making us late is choosing red. Going to church, not being late and making a plan to get donuts later is choosing blue. What should we choose, Nate?"



"Because it is right."

"Good. Nate, how do we show God that we believe Him and trust Him?"


"Very good. We obey."

Go Blue.