Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Honor Of A Brother

Sometimes the most penetrating lessons are those learned from our kids. Though we may feel like we spend so much time teaching our kids manners, how to share and treat other kids, to obey, etc. - I often think that if we humbled ourselves, and opened our eyes we would learn some extraordinary lessons from our children about how to be loving, caring, sensitive, gentle, selfless, thoughtful, and giving. Now, I know kids might not consistently show such qualities of the heart but, let's be honest, neither do adults – and that is why we can learn from our children. And, as I stated a moment ago, the lessons we can learn from our kids often have the most impact.

Someone sent me a link this past week that is related to one our kids in Grace Bible Church. A couple weeks ago Peter DeFilippo hosted an Alex's Lemonade Stand in hopes of raising money for cancer research. While hosting a lemonade stand for such a cause is outstanding in and of itself, read below to see how Peter came about such an idea -

I am Peter DeFilippo, and I am hosting an Alex's Lemonade stand for cancer research. I have a brother with a brain tumor, and I was walking down the hall while visiting him at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I saw a flyer about Lemonade days in the family room. I asked my Mom if we could do this, I would be glad. She said yes. It is important to me to raise money for this research so that people don't have cancer anymore.

I was overwhelmed by the simplicity, genuineness, concern, and selflessness that Peter so boldly and lovingly exhibited. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4.8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Could there be any earthly thing worth thinking about more than Peter DeFilippo's heart and actions. I've been thinking about it all week and the question that keeps coming to my mind, and challenging my heart, is – Could this be what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 18.3, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." In fact, you should keep reading in that chapter as Jesus goes on to express his admiration for children.

I have found that as adults we often think that because we are bigger, have jobs, pay the bills, etc. that we are more mature than our kids – and perhaps we should be. I think that's what God intends for us. But are we, really? I'm not sure that’s necessarily the case –
• intelligence does not equal maturity
• possessions do not equal maturity
• positions of authority do not equal maturity
• popularity does not equal maturity

Well, then, what does equal maturity? We need to be humble and teachable enough to learn from anyone and any circumstance the Lord may bring into our lives – from the youngest of children to the most painful event. That may be the greatest (but not the only) sign of maturity. I am positive Luke DeFilippo does not always make his brother Peter's life easier. Yet Peter is able to take his attention off of himself and express a genuine, God-given love and concern for Luke. Thank you, Peter, for teaching us about having a love and concern for others. Thank you for teaching us about selflessness and sacrifice. Thank you, Peter, for teaching us about unity. Peter, thank you for teaching us about what it means to be a Christian.

Let's think about these things that Peter has taught us – for they true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

By the way, Peter raised $1040 by hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand honor of Luke – not that it mattered.