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When You Forget Something Important…

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -- Matthew 5: 28-34 (NIV)

Anyone who travels will have experienced this… getting to your destination and realizing you have forgotten to pack something important. Generally, there is an easy fix… depending what you have forgotten.

For me, when I forget something it is more often on a short road-trip here in the Region. I know why that is; I rush my packing. Over the years I have forgotten belts, socks, underwear, shoes and a host of other items. Thank goodness for the abundance of 24-hour Wal-Marts. But sometimes you forget an item that can’t be fixed by a trip to a local retailer or that isn’t an option. Then the results of “making do” can be hilarious

A few weeks back, Deb and I went over to Grand Junction to do pulpit supply and to enjoy a little vacation by riding the Glenwood Springs Bike Trail. Now, it’s no secret that Deb picks out most of my clothes for me, especially when more “dressy” attire is required as for Sunday morning services at more traditional congregations.

On this particular trip, Deb had picked out a suit and married it with a dress-shirt that I don’t wear often. It is one with “French Cuffs”. This is probably why I don’t wear it often. While they look good, you have to have cuff links with these.

Well, I looked at what she had picked out and didn’t realize it was the shirt with the French cuffs. So on Sunday morning, while getting ready for church, I realized I had a problem! I had no cuff-links.

Now it is possible that Wal-Mart would carry these, but I doubted it. Further, we were close enough to time for the service that I didn’t really think we could squeeze a Wal-Mart run into the schedule. Deb had a needle and thread in her luggage, but I didn’t really want to do this. I like to keep the option open to shed my coat and roll-up my shirt sleeves.

So, I improvised. I first tried using paper clips that I found in my back-pack. They worked for a time but putting on the coat quickly knocked them off and the sleeves flew open and bunched up. So then, I went down to the business center hoping there would be some binder clips there.

There weren’t… but they did have a stapler. This “kind-of” worked… the material was too thick to crimp on the end though and I could see myself bleeding by the end of the sermon. So, abandoning that idea, I went to the front desk and asked if they had binder clips. But all they had were the tiny ones, which were better than paper clips, but still didn’t hold the cuffs securely. But I opted for this temporarily.

When we got to the church, Betty Schantz, the church secretary at FBC of Grand Junction, greeted us at the door and I knew my problem would be solved. Betty has had to bail me out of situations like this before (another story for another day) and happened to have the medium size binder clips that I needed. I was able to crimp my French cuffs together, pop off the “handles” and preach to my heart’s content.

Of course, I could have rolled the cuffs up and preached without a jacket… which is what I probably would have done if Debbie hadn’t been with me! But she has higher standards for my appearance than I do, and I have to admit that I usually get compliments when I listen to her.

So, what does all this saga have to do with anything?

Well, like the lilies of the field, God provided. Sure it was a little thing and though it wasn’t quite as beautiful as Debbie might have liked, my need was met. And it provided a good story, a good laugh and maybe a good reminder.

Oh, I’ll still try to plan my wardrobes and pack what I need for the journey, but if I forget something… well God will provide or show me how to get along without it. And that may even be true of more things than just my wardrobe!

Prayer: It’s hard for me, oh God, to not worry about things, to let loose and to trust that you will provide. I want to be in control…but sometimes I can’t even remember to pack all the accessories I need for the journey…not just on an overnight trip, but in life. And still you provide. Give me the wisdom and the faith to remember this and to continue on in the journey. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran

Executive Minister


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