Whale Tales

By Tyler Allred

“Did you know that if you put 22 elephants on one end of a scale and a blue whale on the other end, the blue whale would weigh more?”

 That’s the question my daughter asked me yesterday. Oh, she’s seven and loves whales right now. She draws whales, collects whales, and soaks up facts about whales every waking moment. Last week she took all of her tiny whale figurines, and arranged them on the floor of her room to spell w-h-a-l-e-s! All of her assignments at school are about, you guessed it, whales.

 I love noticing the ways that she has been uniquely and wonderfully made. She is a scientist, an artist, a builder. We’re trying to find ways to encourage her and walk alongside her as she begins to step into the story that God is writing for her life. It’s one reason I’m so excited for our current focus in Kids Ministry. All our kids from toddlers to high school right now are in a series called “MADE” and we’re talking to them about how God has uniquely crafted each and every one of us. God has a story and an adventure for all of us, and finding our passions and seeing God’s fingerprints in our lives is a big part of stepping into that story.

 5 marks of a healthy adult

 At the beginning of the month we had Scott Schimmel in town to share with our community and our church about what it takes to be a healthy whole adult and disciple of Christ. Scott has five indicators of whole, healthy people: they (1) know what they believe; (2) know who they are becoming; (3) know their mission in life; (4) know how they contribute to the world; and (5) know who they belong to.  

 I love that. I would be willing to bet that if you think of the healthiest, most joy-filled people in your life—the people that you’d most like to emulate—they probably could answer all five of those categories, and they are certainly modeling a life of learning and growing into even deeper understanding in all those areas (because none of us have really “arrived”).

 “Together is better than alone”

 We’re big on relationships at MHBC and this month has really underlined this value. Scott shared important research that, for a kid to grow up healthy and whole, they need at least five healthy adults pouring into them. I’ve been thinking about some applications for myself and our community:

1.     We need to pursue our own health and wholeness. Do I have at least five close friends who are helping me grow deeper in my beliefs, my values, my mission and purpose in the world, and my relationship with Jesus?

2.     As a parent, am I intentionally inviting others to pour into my kids? Who of your friends is living a life of faith that is worth emulating? Have you talked to them about how you want them to influence your kids?

3.     Go deeper than “how’s school?” or “how’s sports?” It’s really easy to stop there. We see kids on the courtyard and that’s often as deep as it gets. Our current Kids Ministry series is emphasizing how God MADE them… look for ways to encourage kids you know in that this month! “you are wonderfully made!” or “what are you learning about how God made you?” would be a great starting-point.

 Fearfully and wonderfully made:

 Psalm 139:13-14 says,

 For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

 That word “fearfully” in it’s original context evokes images of awe and inspiration, of honor and reverence; and “wonderfully” has a meaning of being extra-ordinary, beyond one’s own power and comprehension. God, creator of the universe, took time and care to think about me, to pay attention to how I was wired, to fill me with a particular cocktail of skills, passions, experiences, and relationships that flow together into who I am uniquely designed to be. Only God could have created each and every one of us with such attention to detail! My prayer is that our focus for Kids ministry this month would rub off on all of us “adults”; may we all have an incredible sense of awe when we think of what God did and is doing in each of our lives.

 Which brings me back to whales…

 Did you know that the blue whale is the largest animal to have ever existed? Not just currently. EVER! That’s another fact my daughter loves. There’s something about studying the biggest creature in history that evokes that same sort of “fear” and “wonder” that Psalm 139 addresses, maybe that’s why she’s so enamored. She’s starting to realize that the God who made her favorite animal took the same care and love in creating her, in creating me, in creating YOU!