Your Assignment Is…

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I can still hear my teacher’s crackly old voice and see her bony little finger pointing to the assignment scribbled in chalk on the chalkboard.

She’s gonna assign me WHAT? A worksheet of algebraic expressions that look like someone just picked random numbers and letters out of thin air and decided to call it math? Figure out what X, Y and Z equals? This is one assignment that my brain is just not equipped to understand. I’ll go ahead and take a big, fat zero, TYVM!  I won’t be getting much more than that anyway by wasting brain cells on X, Y and Z.

I never cared much for school assignments. People who did were kinda weird. My school years date way back to corded telephones and I STILL don’t care too much for some of the assignments I’m given.

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I was the lucky gal assigned to the tooth brushing station at the orthodontic office where I worked.  Each day a regular flow of teenagers visited the sink prior to their torture sessions. They hadn’t quite grasped the concept of spitting INTO the sink and cleaning up after themselves.

Three times a day my assignment was to clean up the gooey toothpaste, spit splatters and frayed strands of floss. It was part of my job. Since I needed a job, I took the assignment and got it done, regardless of how much I grumbled and despised the parents for not teaching their kids proper tooth brushing etiquette. At least the evidence showed that their kids were flossing their teeth, on that day anyway.

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Some people’s assignments are more serious, like military assignments. Soldiers aren’t usually assigned to the military, they assign themselves when they vow to “be all that they can be” and to be “army strong”.  The real assignment comes when they are deployed right smack dab in the middle of the most dangerous of war zones.

I wonder if those soldiers like their assignments as they ponder their fate? Vows were made not to abandon their country so they accept it and go fight with all of the fight they have. They may win or they may lose, but soldiers are willing to take a chance as they hold true to their promise to defend their country.

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So it seems that there are three types of assignment acceptors out there:

  1. Those that dismiss it and don’t care about the consequences (X,Y and Z equals whaaaat?)
  2. Those that don’t like it but grin and bear it anyway because they DO care about the consequences (I needed to keep my job, so I became the spit splatter cleaner-upper )
  3. Those that choose their own assignments to complete for the benefit of other people, despite any difficulties they may have to endure

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RELISH

Have you been given difficult assignments in life that are hard to accept: special needs parenting, cancer treatments, addictions to break, deaths to mourn?

Assignments that you don’t really want to do, but know you should: exercising for better health, mending difficult relationships, saving for retirement?

Assignments you give to yourself because you know it will help others: care-giving for an elderly parent, serving on a community board or choosing a career in law enforcement?

How are you going to accept your assignment? How you choose may be the difference between success and failure, life or death.

If you dismiss your doctor’s assignment to exercise in order to lower your blood pressure, poorer health will be the consequence. Don’t dismiss the assignment.

If you’ve been assigned the title of “Recovering Addict” and know first hand the consequence of engaging in that addictive behavior, you’ll have to struggle through those temptations at all cost to avoid a relapse down that destructive road. Grin and bear the assignment.

You’ve chosen to be the caregiver for your elderly father whose dependence on you can be overwhelming and discouraging. Despite the physical and emotional drainage, you remain by his side, knowing the alternative is not really an alternative. Endure the assignment you’ve given yourself, remembering it’s for the benefit of someone else.

Set aside the excuses, conquer the setbacks and stay committed to the assignment you’ve been given or to the one you’ve given yourself. Stand firm like a soldier ready to fight in battle!

SALT

Jesus had the ultimate assignment: to give his life and die for the sins of the entire world.

If Jesus accepted an assignment that he KNEW would cause death, then shouldn’t we accept whatever assignment God gives us?

What assignment has He given specifically to you? Often it comes in the form of a still, small voice deeply embedded in your conscious that gets louder the longer you delay.

“Go sit next to the shy new girl and talk to her at lunch”. Yes God. Count it done.

“Give money to the struggling single mom living down the street from you. She needs it”. Yes God. Count it done.

“Go clean up and help rebuild from the hurricane”. Yes God. Count it done.

“Go to Uganda and live there for a year and help build a church there”. Yes God. Count it done.

 

Jesus didn’t count the cost when he suffered and died for us so that we may have eternal life. He just said “Yes Father. Count it done.”

And it was done.

LUKE 11:28 “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

 

 

 

Happy Plates and Parsley Flakes

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Mmm…mashed potatoes!

Plop a spoonful on your plate and they look like arid snow-covered mountains sitting in the middle of your dinner plate.

Chefs know that starchy mountains aren’t that appetizing or pretty to look at. So they came up with a solution for drab, boring plates of food. They went scavenging in their backyards and picked something that looked like a weed to garnish the sad plates of food.

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Instantly, the plates became HAPPY! The bright green garnish gave the arid potato mountains LIFE!

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This miraculous green weed wasn’t a weed at all; it was parsley, an herb that has been used for a variety of purposes for many years.

corpse-with-parsleyIn ancient times people who looked sick or near death were often said to be “in need of parsley”. Corpses were sprinkled with parsley to help eliminate the stench. We sprinkle that same stuff on our food!

If I’m using a recipe that calls for chopped parsley, I try to eliminate it because I don’t feel like chopping parsley. Surely the recipe will be fine without it. It won’t make a difference if it’s left out.  I certainly don’t go out of my way to garnish food with it, that’s only for special occasions.

As far as covering up smells, I’ve heard that if you chew on parsley after a rather odoriferous meal, it will freshen your breath.  I wouldn’t know that from personal experience. I’d rather dig in the deep abyss of my purse for a lone piece of mint chewing gum before I chomp on a sprig of parsley.

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Relish

Words of encouragement are like little garnishes of parsley.

A drab spirit that looks sick and near death needs a little parsley. Garnish someone with encouraging words and give them color and life!

You may not feel like coming up with the words to say and you may tell yourself that they won’t make a difference, but they will. Your words could bring healing to someone who feels on the brink of giving up or bring a smile to a sad heart.

Instead of tossing that sprig of parsley to the side, why don’t you go out of your way and use it?  You just might be surprised at the color it will add to your OWN life!

Salt

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”        1 THESSALONIANS  5:11