The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and it is time to celebrate our nation’s freedom with fireworks and homemade ice cream. Some of my fondest Independence Day memories are from shooting off fireworks at my grandparents’ house. We were relatively poor growing up, but my parents always found a way to purchase us a small sack of fiery fun. The anticipation that lead up to the day we purchased fireworks was more energizing than the act of popping them. I recall one trip to the fireworks stand, well a small horse trailer with hay bales for shelves, where each sibling chose fireworks until every penny was exhausted. Of course, I picked up a package of black cats that I would unravel and pop one by one and a box of those smelly black snakes that smoked and grew forever. But, the pinnacle piece of the show was going to be a miniature rocket that would shoot up into the sky, burst into flames, and then gently, by way of a parachute, return to the ground. I couldn’t wait until it was time to load up and go to Grandpa Hudson’s place!When the day arrived, I was loaded with punks. It was going to take a lot of punks to crack those black cats one by one. Sadly, in no time at all, I had popped all of my little stuff and it was time for the grand finale. The rocket lived up to all of its hype. The explosion was a beautiful sight, and the parachute deployed, properly returning the fuselage safely back to the ground. As I picked up the spent rocket I realized that my fun was over. With my head ducked, I returned back to the bed of my father’s green and white 1978 Ford. As I jumped up on the tailgate, I realized that my youngest sister’s grand finale was still in pristine condition. She had not shot off her tank. I had really wanted a tank, but I had to choose between a tank and the rocket, so you know the rest of that story. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to ignite that tank so bad, and I did. Of course when the turret sounded, my sister whirled around and began screaming at me. She then ran into the house and tattled on me. Mom came out and asked me what happened, and with tears, I told her that as I had jumped up on the tailgate that I accidentally backed into the tank with my lit punk. That of course was a lie.
As a child I was selfish. My bent for self-gratification led me to take something away from my own sister. The Bible teaches us that, as children of God, we should be selfless rather than selfish. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote about this in Philippians 2:3-4.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
When I ignited my sister’s tank I had only my own interests in mind. Sadly, there are times when we fuss and bicker within the church body. Brothers and sisters in Christ get upset with one another over the silliest things. Would we see more reconciliation within the body if we considered others’ feelings? I want to ask you to do something. If you are out of fellowship with someone in the church because of hurt feelings, I would like for you to pray about reconciling with that individual. God’s love will cover all. I love ya’ll.