I have always loved the color PURPLE! I’m drawn to the color in everything from clothes to décor. I have my favorite purple sweatshirt with my name on the front. My dad helped me paint my trombone case purple. I had a purple furry coat. I just loved the color. And, I still do today.
When I was about 10 years old, my parents and younger sister took an October trip to the Ozark Mountains. My brother and I stayed with my grandparents and my Aunt Ruth, who was just a few years older than me. My birthday was very near this time, so Ruth and I decided we needed to make a birthday cake. And of course, I wanted a purple cake. We did not have access to the myriad of food coloring products that are available today. We had the box of 4 basic food colors from the grocery store: red, green, yellow & blue. My aunt was in Junior High, so we knew that we could mix the red and the blue to get a beautiful color of purple. We mixed the cake (from scratch) and then added the food coloring. The cake was more lavender than truly purple, but that was okay. After transferring our batter to the pans, we decided that swirls of color would be even better. So, we added drops of all of the colors to the cake in the pans and stirred it around. We stirred a little too much we would discover later. The beautiful purple cake I had envisioned was more gray than purple. There were flecks of color here and there, but over all, it was a gray cake. It tasted great, but it was not very appealing to the eye.
I am going the Bible chronologically this year. Recently, I’ve been in the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The various kings for both Israel and Judah are listed and their history is recorded. I found it interesting that each account included one of these statements: “as far as God was concerned, he lived a bad life” or “in God’s opinion he was a good king” or “… did what pleased God for as long as he lived (even so he did not . . .)” There were several kings that were just bad. They worshiped other gods and led the people to do the same. There were a few kings that did what God decreed and destroyed the other temples and led the people to worship Jehovah only. And then there were the kings that lived the way God decreed, but allowed the people to continue to live in sin by worshiping other gods. These were the “grey” kings. If you kept your eyes closed or didn’t look too closely, they were good kings. But, they didn’t follow God completely. They failed the people they were chosen to lead.
When I look at my own life, I wonder if my life is “gray” when God looks at it. I don’t think I’m living a bad life where God is concerned. But, do I live in a way that pleases God? Am I a royal purple follower of Christ and His commandments? Or, do I slip into the “grey” area that encompasses too many things? Have I become so desensitized to the sins around me that I just don’t realize it? Is political correctness the center of my focus or is God’s word? Do I show compassion to everyone or just to the people I “like” in that moment?
I think we all like to believe that we are on the side of right. I don’t know anyone that deliberately takes a stand that they believe is wrong. However, we can’t all be right about everything. Just as the early kings of Judah and Israel condoned the sex-and-religion worship by allowing temples to be built to worship the gods of fertility, we condone everything that makes us uncomfortable by NOT speaking up. It’s just easier to live our own lives and ignore those around us. I’m not advocating throwing stones at others. I do firmly believe that we are to be kind and compassionate to those around us. But, do those around you know what you believe? Do they see someone who God is blessing when they see you? Do you take a stand on a daily basis or is the act of attending Sunday and/or Wednesday services enough of a witness? Is your relationship with God based solely on the current crisis in your life or do you spend time with Him daily regardless of circumstances?
Too many additions and too little knowledge/experience, made my birthday cake grey. I don’t want my life to be gray. I want the knowledge that comes from reading the scriptures. I want to experience everything that God has to offer. I want to follow Him completely and to exclude anything that is outside of His will. That’s doesn’t mean I wont make mistakes. (I can promise you I will make plenty of them!) It does mean that I will stay aware and correct any mistakes with God’s help. It does mean that I may have to give up some things. I may have to get up a little earlier to spend time with God. I may not get to sleep in on Sundays because I NEED to be in church worshipping with others. I may have to give up my reliance on “finger-crossing” and “quick prayers” to really spend time with God to learn what I need to know. I may have to learn to be part of the crowd and not in the spot-light where others can see me and comment on how wonderful I am.
Gray is a popular color for walls. But, I don’t recommend it for birthday cakes. Or life.