Sunday, March 13, 2011

Goodwill Hunting (Alan's Adventures Part 1)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1Corinthians 10:13

My little guys were heavy on my mind in church today. During Sunday School, we talked about the awesome responsibility of teaching our children how to grow up to become moral adults who contribute to society, understand their purpose and have a strong foundation of faith. Ironically, our sermon today was on temptation. I didn't have to look too far back to recall a time this past week when both concepts were tested ...

I'm not the only member of "Munson Manor" who enjoys shopping; Little Alan has the bargain hunting gene in spades! He loves garage sales, dollar stores and especially thrift stores. Since the boys had no school on Friday, Wyatt was anticipating a night of "Wii marathon madness" and Alan was hoping for some sort of adventure. I looked at the box of goods waiting for re-homing and my antsy son in cramped shoes and decided it was definitely time for the two of us to "get our shop on!" We scurried into the bargain-mobile (a.k.a. the family SUV) and headed to Goodwill.

As we sorted through racks in search of the coveted red tags (meaning half-priced goodies for us), Alan spied a jacket that immediately caught his eye. It possessed the three qualities he admires most; camouflage material, a hood and LOTS of pockets! As he inspected each flap for working zippers, he found something neither of us expected-- a one dollar bill! This seemed like a dream come true for my son; a coat he loved with a free dollar in the pocket! To add to the irony, the tag said, "as is" on it. While it would have been superb if the reason behind that marking was the extra denero in the pocket, that wasn't the case. The tag was referring to the four inch jagged rip on the hood seam. I sighed, knowing I'd have to tell Alan we couldn't buy the coat. Naturally, he hoped I could fix it. I told him this wasn't an easy fix, it would lay crooked and the coat wasn't on a good sale. I braced myself for the question I knew I would hear, "Can I at least keep the dollar?"

What to do, what to do ... Yes, he had found it, but it was donated by someone else with THAT COAT. Since we weren't going to buy the coat, we couldn't keep it. That would have been stealing. But what to do next? Put it back? Since my son had squealed, "Holy cow, mom, there's a DOLLAR IN THIS COAT!" I knew there was a good chance that someone else would steal it. Thankfully, I was also on the phone with my buddy Jessica. She mentioned that since people probably gave monetary donations to Goodwill, we should treat it as such and give it to the store manager. I asked Alan if he wanted me to turn it in for him. To my surprise, he told me he would like to do it. He wasn't excited about it, but he knew it was the honest thing to do.

I would love to say that my son bore the brunt of temptation that day, but I dealt with some issues of my own. While I wouldn't have allowed him to keep the dollar, I was tempted to just spend the seven dollars for a coat he would never wear. "Seven dollars isn't much for a coat," I rationalized in my head, "He could wear it just around the house!" That would make perfect sense, except for the fact that he already had 2 coats, 3 jackets and 3 sweatshirts at home. This was NOT a child who "needed" a coat, especially a ripped one. I knew that it would be a waste of the resources God had blessed our family with, but I really didn't want to put a downer on our shopping trip. (Is anyone else having a hard time remembering which one of us is the parent and which one of us is the CHILD, here?) Teaching my son not to steal was pretty much a no-brainer, but teaching my son about stewardship was a fuzzier issue for sure. I was so thankful for Jessica, my little "virtual voice of reason."

I'd love to tell you that turning away from temptation always feels good, but the truth is that sometimes it's a bummer! Let's face it, there are times when doing the right thing can be downright painful. The temptation to give up, give in or take a short-cut will always be there for that very reason. As human beings, we're not too gung-ho on the whole "personal growth through turmoil and suffering" route! I would feel entirely hopeless if the inevitability of temptation at every turn was the only message in 1 Corinthians 10:13, but praise God, there's more! While he does allow us to be "tested" by Satan's tempting, He always provides us a WAY OUT! I believe those who portray our Heavenly Father as a vengeful God who is "out to get us" miss this verse. His desire is for us to be victorious over temptation!

As another week begins, I know my temptations will be many. I'm just glad to know that every test I face is "open book!" :)

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your posts!!! I only gave up meat for Lent. Not sure I could do Facebook!

    Sent you an email to your spectacles address.

    Love ya!