Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Name On The Line

I like to interact with my students during class discussions and while they are reading for their quizzes. Vageli is back in my class as a junior after taking me for 8th grade Bible. He's an interesting young man- his dad's from Greece and his mom is from El Salvador. Vageli recently started playing football after focusing on basketball and will be a big asset to our Wildcat squad this upcoming season. I taught his brother Pete a decade ago. In fact, I still reference an in-class conversation with Pete when we were speaking of honesty in the workplace. I asked him how many dishonest employees it would take to ruin their family business. Without hesitation, Pete replied, "One." I quote him every year.

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned Pete and Vageli's family owning a business. It's a well regarded Mexican restaurant with four Houston locations. In class last Thursday, and I can't really recall what topic we were on, I asked Vageli, "What should I order if I come to your restaurant?" Without hesitation, Vageli replied, "Get the fajitas, Coach." I told him I would if I did but I have to confess, I have never dined there. The next morning before school, Vageli walks into my room and hands me an envelope with a very nice surprise tucked away- a $25 gift card from their cantina! Sure enough, on the card, it announced they were famous for fajitas. That settles it- FAJITAS! Now I just have to settle on the date. No doubt, I will make sure I am extremely hungry that night! But that wasn't quite the end of our interaction. As Vageli was leaving, I joked that I had to hurry up because the certificate stated the expiration date is 12/31/16. Without hesitation, Vageli told me, "Don't worry, Coach, if you're late. When they see my name on there, it will be accepted." With that assurance, Vageli walked out to begin his seventh day of the school year.

I really liked what Vageli said about the gift card and who it came from. He did not say it arrogantly. He simply was confident in his relationship with the restaurant because of who he is. He has standing because of his parents. Whoever would be running the cash register if I was overdue, which I promise I WILL NOT BE, would recognize the source of the gift card and act accordingly. They know Vageli because they know his parents and that matters. The same holds true in our relationship to God. I like what J.I. Packer said:
"If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child and having God as his father."

We can have confidence because we know who we belong to, who we came from, and whose we are. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus did not command us to beg our Father for our daily bread. He wants us to ask confidently because He is our Father. We know we matter always. We matter, even if  what matters is only a signature on a piece of paper. The proof is in the fajitas.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Dignity is not negotiable. Dignity is the honor of the family."

Vartan Gregorian

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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