As Mother’s Day approaches I think about what an amazing job my lovely bride Joni did raising three sons in the sea of testosterone that was Casa Burchett. She suffered through countless hours of sports on TV and sports talk. She probably didn’t encounter a toilet seat in the down position more than a handful of times in two decades. I can not express enough gratitude and admiration for how she gently molded each of her sons into good citizens and good men. She understood that God created each one with unique bents and talents. I hope I contributed to who they are but I am convinced of the role she played in the maturity and goodness of our sons.
I think of the influence my departed Mom had in my life. A song by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder brought back memories of something my Mom always said to me. As I grow older I realize this was a more profound lesson that I realized at the time. The song that jogged that recollection was called Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’.
Now lookee here gal don't ya' high hat me,
I ain't forgot what you used ta be
When you didn't have nuthin,
That was plain ta' see.
Don't get above your raisin'
Stay down ta' earth with me.
Mom was raised as a farm girl in Kentucky and she was fiercely proud of that. So anytime she perceived that I was getting a bit uppity and full of myself she would throw that line down.
“Don’t get above your raisin’.”
Sometimes it was over such important issues as abandoning Maxwell House for that fancy-schmancy gourmet brew. Usually the comment was meant to keep me grounded (no pun intended for once) and to remind me where I came from. Can’t say that I always appreciated the input because I was desperate to escape Southern Ohio and become somebody. But she realized who I was. The son of two Kentucky farm kids that did not finish high school. Born in a small town with small town values. My opportunity had come on the sacrifice of simple and good people. So don’t forget it!
I think we do the same thing as Christians. A big reason that we are not more joyful and victorious in this journey is that we forget where we came from. We have forgotten our raisin’ and the gift of grace. Somehow we forget how desperate we were and start to believe that we were actually deserving. You know, God is pretty fortunate to have me on board. Paul reminds Titus to tell the believers in Crete to remember where they came from…
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
Not too attractive. Nothing to be uppity about. Then the grace of God intervened.
But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
So that is where I came from. That is where you came from if you are a follower of Jesus. Paul wraps ups this text with a challenge.
This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these
teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing
good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
My constant challenge is to not get above my raisin’ spiritually.
- If I can’t forgive then I have forgotten where I came from. I did not deserve to be forgiven by a Holy God. I was.
- When I look with disdain at another person I have forgotten where I came from. That person is a soul that Jesus came to this planet to die for on the Cross.
- When I don’t accept another brother or sister I have forgotten where I came from and that I was unacceptable to a Holy God. Jesus said you are acceptable because of Me. We must offer the same grace because of Jesus.
- When I can’t serve without expectation of personal return I have forgotten where I came from. If I remember where I came from I will serve because I am grateful for what Christ did for me.
- When I don’t give joyfully of my time and treasure I have forgotten where I came from. If you truly understand where you came from the natural response is to serve Him joyfully.
This is important stuff. I don’t want to forget where I came from
both as a person and as a child of God. My Chillicothe, Ohio roots are
a big part of who I am. And my encounter with grace at the foot of the
Cross defines who I am spiritually. I was lost and then was found. Was
blind and then I saw. I pray that I will remember every day who I am
and where Jesus brought me from. Take time to remember where you came
from. And then respond appropriately.