Matthew 16:18-19, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
My pastor, Bill, talked about keys this morning in church....and I have never heard a sermon quite like this one. The thing that stood out the most to me was a story he told about a man....a no good person according to the town...named...George...Bill's his father and a set of keys. Bill's dad....believed in the character of people obviously and did not always believe what people said maliciously...anyway....George had a little problem with the bottle...but Bill's dad...went to him...and gave him a most important job....the most important job at the business...he was to be the keeper of the keys....his job was to open the doors before everyone got there....and lock them up after everyone left. In all the years that followed...he never let Bill's dad down. Someone had believed in him and entrusted him with the keys not just to a building....but to self-esteem and responsibility. When Bill's family left several years later...the last person they stopped to see was George....Bill's dad thanked him for his service...and told him the next man was counting on him too. How awesome a story was that? I was mesmerized by it and will probably never look at a key the same again. How many times have I given someone the keys they needed to achieve?
All the way to Waverly I thought about the many types of “keys” in the world. My personal favorite Keys are the little islands at the tip of Florida. I do so like those. There are also keys that are points of knowledge that open the understanding to science and mathematics. I am not so in love with those keys...science and math...not so much my thing. There are keys, or steps that must be taken, or procedures followed in order to make machinery work. There are keys that are used to unlock or lock a door or a gate. There are keys that are on musical instruments and on office equipment, and then there are keys that are used to turn something on or off. Keys abound around us that is for sure....
I guess one of my most memorable key moments was when I was handed the keys to the car for the very first time. Talk about a feeling of empowerment...that was the biggest rush of my life. I felt as though there was a birth of freedom and an instant increase in trust that was placed in me. For me, the teenager, this marked the beginning of a whole new kind of freedom. I was an adult and ready to take on the world. Now, I have to tell you....my first solo ride after I got my keys....went textbook perfect....BUT...my parking in the driveway left something to be desired. I was distracted by a boy I was liking...and turned my parent's car...right into our next door neighbor's chain link fence...talk about embarrassment. I got out of the car and handed my dad the keys....and my license....my freedom was short lived. He handed them back and said, "get it off the fence." I did...and it made a much more responsible person out of me. He, my earthly father, had given me a key to freedom and I soared.
Now that I have been a parent to three driving teens I have found myself on the other side of this scenario, I realized that my parents most likely did not feel that same sense of joy that I felt that day. They more than likely felt the sense of dread that I felt when I handed my son my car keys for the first time. When the phone call came telling me he had put my car in a ditch...I was nauseated. I hoped both he and the car were alright. I got there...and one of the little old ladies that had called me told me..."just remember momma, cars can be replaced...but 16 year old boys can't." I looked her in the eye and told her I had a 16 year old boy that was free to a good home. Funny...he lost some of his appeal to her then. I loved my son.
I had many more opportunity to hand over the keys to my car to my children over the years, and while I trusted them to do the right thing and take care of the vehicles that I loaned or gave to them, there was always that same sense of dread that arises when I saw them drive away. They never left my sight without a fervent prayer for their safety and for the return of a fully functional vehicle.
A key is simply a tool that can be either used or abused. It isn’t the key that is the problem; it is the person who possesses the key that determines how it is used. So today, Sunday....how do you use your keys? Do you use them to do good? Do you use them responsibly? Do you use them to achieve greatness? How do you use your key? Let me encourage you today to give others the keys they need to be responsible people and use your key well. Happy Sunday you guys!
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
11 months ago