MM: Monday (or Minute) Meditation; this is a meditation/Wednesday Wisdom
Pink Susie and her husband had a big impact on my upbringing, indirectly as well as directly. They tried everything to help my older cousin to improve his reading, and succeeded mostly in teaching me how read before the age of five. They had Hooked on Phonics, which I could play with for hours all by myself, and Highlights magazines, with simple stories and crafts I could make in the back. I even made a few of them.
One of my favorite things about Highlights magazines was the Goofus and Gallant section. Goofus and Gallant were twin brothers. Goofus was bad and Gallant was good . Goofus looked unkempt and Gallant was as neat as a pin. Goofus would trip you; Gallant would help you up. If he had a dessert, Gallant would share it with you; Goofus would keep it all for himself. Goofus never did anything right, and Gallant never did anything wrong.
It wasn’t realistic, of course. They were just pointers, things to strive for. Simple things that every kid could do each day to work toward being Gallant. In my pre-Kindergarten mind, there were two kinds of people in the world: you were either a Goofus or a Gallant. We all started out the same, had the same parents and the same house. The differences came in how we treated ourselves and each other. Mother Nature and Father Time were our parents and this Earth was our house. It made sense, but it wasn’t true. We are not identical, and there aren’t two kinds of people in the world. Things aren’t Black or White; there are a million shades of gray.
But in my mind, on the most basic level, I can acknowledge that at each individual moment of decision in our lives, we only have two choices: we can be Goofus or we can be Gallant. I can be at work on time or I can be late. I can exercise or I can decide not to. I can do my homework or I can put it off. People love to throw it off onto the devil or angel on their shoulder, but ultimately, we make the decision. I try to be more Gallant than Goofus, but we all have our moments.
In Bible study, we are starting to study Leviticus. Leviticus is the book of the Bible where the Old Testament laws are given. You learn what they were to offer, how they were to offer it, and how they were to offer it. You learn about the hygiene and sanitary measures God put into place, as well as moral and religious laws for the people to follow. God organizes the running of His tabernacle and designates which people are to do what. For example, the Levites are to be the priest. He gives the responsibilities and limitations of each office. Most of all, He lets the Israelites know some things about His character. He is holy; He is orderly; He wants to have fellowship with them. The Israelites’ relationship with God must be according to his terms. Unlike in the New Testament, if you failed to serve God correctly in the Old Testament, you died–immediately. God has always been, and continues to be, very specific about what He requires. To God, there are two types of people; those who obey Him and those who do not. I can’t wait to delve into this book and see what fruit it will bear in my life.
What does any of this have to do with G & G? Jesus is now my Gallant: he’s the one I look to when I want to know how I’m supposed to do it. Jesus does it all perfectly every time; he never gets it wrong. Moreover, God accepts no Goofuses. Goofus revels in his bad behavior and has real malice. While we may not all be perfect like Gallant, we should be striving to be. There should be no malice in us; yes, we may fall short, but we shouldn’t be happy about it or trying to.
I picked up a Highlights at the library today and noticed they added a new element to G&G. Now, kids can write about a moment when they were like Goofus and a moment when they were like Gallant. I tried to think about the last time I was like Goofus (the devil) and the last time I was like Gallant (Jesus) and what that really meant. The last time I was like Goofus was this afternoon at work, when I went on a dummy mission to the third floor to talk to the receptionist for the last fifteen minutes of work. I was tired and didn’t feel like doing any more work, and since I couldn’t physically leave early, I just mentally checked out. The last (sort of important) time I was like Gallantwas when I prayed for my coworkers baby who was born prematurely.
So for this Monday Meditation, tell me how you were like Goofus and how you were like Gallant, or what you think God expects of you that you do or don’t do. If you don’t do it, how can you do one thing differently today that will move you towards doing God’s will in your life?