I live in an inner city neighborhood. In the back of my house is a fairly good-sized garage for the neighborhood I live in. Two or three nights ago, I walked past one of my motion sensitive lights and it turned on to reveal a giant spider web that stretched from the roof of my garage all the way down to the driveway. It was simply the largest spider web I had ever seen.
The spider that had built the web was large, but not large in comparison to the size of web he had created. He had just built a really large web! Being a perpetual 13-year-old boy, I found a wad of paper and intentionally stuck it in the web just to see if the spider would wrap the piece of paper and try and suck its “blood” or if it would recognize the paper. The spider quickly noticed the paper, determined that it was not prey, and quickly removed the paper from the web.
We went inside. I didn’t think about that spider for a few days. In my mind that spider was going to be a problem to deal with. It wasn’t until this morning when I was leaving the house before the sun rose that I realized the spider web, without my help, was completely gone. It was like it had never existed.
This was strange for me. That spider web was impressive. I can imagine in spider hours it took quite awhile to build. I thought about all the effort that spider had put into that web only to have it disappear and start completely from scratch. I put myself in the spider’s “shoes” and thought if I had pulled something off like that spider, I would get really frustrated that my great accomplishment was just torn down.
It was at that moment that I felt the Lord speaking to me in a way I can only describe as a “knowing.” I didn’t hear a voice. I saw no vision. I just had this sense that I felt like was from the Lord. It was in this moment of clarity that I realized that the spider didn’t mind that his web was torn down and that he would have to build a new one. He was a spider. He built webs to catch food. He didn’t need the web for his ego. He didn’t need the web to supply more than food. He just needed it to catch enough food to survive. Now that the web had been torn down, he would build another one, somewhere else and catch some more food.
It was also in this moment of clarity that I realized I have a lot to learn from that spider. And the ants. And the birds. And the flowers of the field.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ around the country,
Recently a friend of mine from my time in Kansas City suffered a terrible tragedy. Jason Johns, an inner city leader of a church in Kansas City, was in a terrible car accident with his three children. All four were injured, but his daughters Hope and Elise need miraculous intervention. You can read more updates on their GoFundMe page. Please pray for Jason, his wife, their family and extended family with me and believe for God’s best for this young family.
Once upon a time many, many years ago, there was a little girl who picked up a white ball with black spots and started playing with it. She decided to try making a game where you couldn’t use your hands. So she started kicking it around and soon other kids started playing. Quickly a game was created and this young lady named the game soccer.
Soon soccer games started popping up everywhere. To help soccer spread as far and wide as possible, the young lady wrote down how to play soccer in a book called “How to Play Soccer.” With the rules of soccer written down, soon the young lady was forgotten, but soccer became an international phenomenon. Everyone was playing!
“How to Play Soccer” was also an international success. Copies of the book were being sold as fast as they could be printed. Everyone who loved soccer was given a copy. As generations passed, parents would pass their copies down to their children. It became uncommon for someone not to have a copy sitting around in a drawer or a closet.
But as generations passed, people read the book less and less. And a few hundred years after the publication of the book, small changes started taking place. First, people decided that hands were okay to use. Years passed. A group of people decided that goals were unnecessary, so they were removed and the practice spread. Soon the game had evolved into people passing the ball back and forth, declaring they had scored whenever they felt like it.
Interest in the game waned. People played it because their parents did or because their parents expected them too. Some people played out a sense of preserving their cultural heritage, but the passion for the game was largely absent. Duty had replaced the love of the game.
Then, one day, something happened that changed everything. Two young boys were going on a cruise and their parents had given them a copy of “How To Play Soccer” and a soccer ball. A freak accident happened on the ship and these two boys with their book and ball ended up on a life raft that landed on a deserted island.
Obviously, survival was a primary concern for awhile, but after figuring out how to survive, they were left with little to do. The boys eventually got around to reading the book their parents had given them. Having never really played the game, they read the instructions with a fresh set of eyes. No one was around to tell them that soccer isn’t played like the book stated. And so they played. They fashioned makeshift goals and started, kicking competing against each other. They would spend weeks learning to play against each other.
Then, a miracle happened and the boys were discovered by a passing ship. They were brought back to their home city and reunited with their family. Something strange happened, though, when they returned. They played a different game than everyone else, the one they had learned from reading the book “How To Play Soccer.”
Because they had read the book and did what it said, at first they were ridiculed for playing such a strange game. Others questioned whether it was helpful or relevant to play the game like it was described in the book. But the curious and those who would have never touched soccer before suddenly began to see the fun and the joy of the game. And soon the joy of playing soccer began to spread again, replacing the formalism and tradition of the game it had become.
Soccer became fun again. It was played the way it was always intended thanks to two young boys who had the audacity to believe the book and put it into practice.
Let the reader understand….
There once was a good King who ruled a kingdom with love and justice. Even though this King was beyond equal, he was not understood by many of his subjects. In time a rebellion was launched throughout much of the kingdom and those subjects who were ruled well by the King began to resist his laws and laugh at his decrees. Conflict began to erupt as those who threw off the King’s rule clashed with those still subject to His reign.
Now the King had one son, as just and good as his father. He was the apple of his father’s eye and more than anyone else represented the good that could come from being subject to the King. The son loved the Kingdom as much as the King and it caused them both great pain to see the rebellion sweep through the Kingdom. The King’s son asked for permission to lead the Kingdom’s army in restoring order to the Kingdom and the King. Seeing the love that his son had for the Kingdom, the King sent the son to the furthest reaches of the Kingdom to restore the reign of love and justice.
For a long season the King’s son fought on behalf of the Kingdom. He did not just battle the forces of the rebellion. He helped them. He was determined to demonstrate to the rebellion that the King’s reign was not just rules, but a good way of life that benefited all. His army would restore buildings destroyed by the battle, even while the rebellion looked on and mocked the King’s authority. He would personally take in the orphans of battle, especially if the orphans’ parents were part of the rebellion.
One day, the son came across a faction of rebels that was like most they had encountered. One rebel in particular thought he would prove a point and he shot the king’s son with an arrow through the arm. This incited others from the rebellion to fire at the king’s son, something no one had ever dared to do previously. And that day, the King’s son died, watching the people that he loved rejoice over the victory they had achieved in killing him.
The news reached the King back at his palace and those of the army that escaped reported to the king the names of the villagers that were involved. The King rose from his throne, rallied an army and fought through the rebellion until he found the very group of men who had killed His son. He captured those men, brought them back to His kingdom and showed them his kindness. He treated them with the same love that he treated his only son that they had killed. He treated with special kindness the one who shot the first arrow. It was his intention to love this man more than the rest, because he knew that the deepest rebellion was in him.
In time, the prisoners of the King learned of his goodness and justice. The man who had killed the King’s son especially became convinced of the King’s love for his people. Though he had cost the King the most, he experienced the King’s acceptance and favor unlike any other in the kingdom. He who was the King’s sworn enemy became his friend and they shared a special bond because of the love the King had for not only this prisoner, but also the son he lost. And that prisoner, who fought the King, rebelled against his ways, and tormented his son was named Travis. And he spent the rest of his life gratefully accepting something he could never have earned.
Photo Credit: Sant Pere de Rodes by Rienante El Pintor de Fuego