Sitting in the middle of the couch last night.  One child laying to either side.  Heads toward the ends.  Feet toward Daddy.  Mary Elizabeth on my right.  John Mark on my left.  Before I could even start a mental countdown for the expected question, Mary Elizabeth stated it instead, "Scratch my back, Daddy."

John Mark, little brother never to be left out, quickly & with greater emphasis added, "and my back too-ooooo," as he rolled over back up.

Right hand for the right hand child.  Left hand for the left hand child.  Yet the back were too close & angles to awkward.  Hurt my carpal tunnel inflicted right wrist.

How about a crossover switheroo then?  Right hand for the left hand child.  Left hand for the right hand child.  Arms too short for that approach.

What's a Daddy to do?

"Kids, Daddy's arms don't work when you are this close," I said.  "But Daddy, your hand was in the right place the first time," replied ME.  "You do it, Daddy," added JM.  "Mary, honey, I'm sorry, but that way hurt Daddy's wrist too much.  I'm getting old & wearing out some, you know," I answered.

John Mark sits up.  Animated now.  And says, "Take a pill to fix it, Daddy."  (Spoken in two syllables as "PEE-uhl."  He's got a sweet southern Mama, ya know.)

He continues, his eyes searching his memory as his words spill out with conviction, "Pappy has a pill to fix it.  You get a pill from Pappy & you’ll be all better.  Then you can scratch Mary’s back.  And my back too."

I wish I could.

You wish you could.

All the problems of our adult lives.  The one's our kids don't yet understand.  The one's we know they'll learn.  But not just yet.

Health problem.  Yes, there is a pill to fix that as the scenes of lovely people doing lovely things depict.  Don't mind all the possible side-effects throughout the latter half of the commercial.

Work problem.  Yes, I'd like a pill to fix that.

Relationship problem.  I'd like a few of those pills too.  Make sure the prescription is for the other person though.  The problem is all theirs.  It's not me.  No, never me.

What John Mark, at three, has yet to learn is that pills do not fix everything.

People fix things.

God fixes things.

People committed to God, one another, & finding solutions.

Think about the one anothers of the Bible.  Love one another.  Honor one another.  Serve one another.

Hard pill to swallow at times.  Yet, just the right solution.


Love One Another

There are a lot of "one anothers" commanded in the New Testament. Jesus both initiated & summarized those commands as quoted in John 13:34-35.


"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Christ-followers should love one another. Sounds easy enough, right? But what does a loving relationship look like?


Don’t imagine amorous or romantic “love” when answering these questions. Don’t think of how you “love” grandma’s pie or when your favorite team wins. We are talking about biblical agape love—the otherish love—the type of love that elevates the needs of another person above our own. It is the opposite of self-ish. Many times it is self-less.

When is the last time you felt loved in an agape, otherish way? When someone served you—your family had a sickness or tragedy & others brought you meals, sent you notes, prayed with you, & even cleaned your house. When someone gave you their time—you needed help watching the kids or another set of hands to finish a project. When someone gave & would take nothing in return—you wanted to pay them because you were overwhelmed by their generosity of time or service. When someone sacrificed joyfully for you—you smiled or maybe even cried because you saw the joy in their eyes at being able to love you in an agape, otherish way.

As Christ-followers we can not make one another love in this agape, otherish way. We can’t force it. We can’t program it. We can’t require it.

Yet as Christ-followers we can expect it. We can pray for it. We can look for ways to employ ourselves for others. We can live it.

Do not withhold. Love. Do not complain. Love. Do not give up. Love. Do not judge. Love. Do not walk away. Love.

Love one another, Jesus said. Agape one another. Otherish one another. Put one another first. Humble ourselves. Elevate others. Sacrifice ourselves. Serve others.

By this agape, otherish love may we be known & make Christ known to the world.


Tin Man

You know the scene: Dorothy; Scarecrow; Oz; following the yellow brick road; desirous of wishes from the Wizard; discover Tin Man.

Rain came too fast. Couldn't reach his oilcan. Standing rust-frozen. Speaking with locked jaw. Motioning with urgent eyes. Oilcan on the stump. Freed a few quick squirts at a time. Freed to be a new partner journeying to the Emerald City.

New scene: me; Lincoln; running through the neighborhood; first since the marathon; stiff; rusty; like Tin Man.

If only there was a puh-chink, puh-chink, puh-chink oilcan for me--would have been wonderful.

Friends to apply it--even better.

Shared encouragement along the road--the best.

Making Disciples is like this. Sin rusted. Maybe creaky. Even frozen. Unwilling, or unable, to free ourselves. We need the help of friends. Applying the oil of the Holy Spirit. Freed to live as the God of All Creation, not a would-be Wizard, desires. Freed to a life beyond anywhere over the rainbow we might imagine.

So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT