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The Parable Of the Broken Glasses – A Lesson In Stewardship


I wrote ‘Soul Keeping‘ because we are taught more about how to care for our cars than how to steward our souls. But you cannot have an impactful life with an impoverished soul.

John Ortberg

When I was in first grade, my parents took me to the eye doctor where the optometrist determined I needed to wear corrective lenses (the fancy name for glasses) to correct a problem with my eyes.

For four or five years, I wore brown, plastic-framed glasses.  I looked like Ralphie from A Christmas Story (if you need an image).

Like Ralphie, I often broke my glasses horsing around with my friends.  The eye doctor was used to fixing my glasses on a monthly basis.

Eventually, the glasses did their job, and I was able to stop wearing them.  In fact, my vision was better than 20/20 for the longest time.

I stopped visiting the eye doctor for several years, because my vision was excellent.

Then I turned 40.

A long overdue visit to the eye doctor indicated my need for reading glasses.

I picked up my first pair of reading glasses, and I’ve been able to get a new pair each year as my reading vision has changed slightly along the way.  I use the new pair as my primary reading glasses, and I use the older pairs as backup glasses.  I have two pairs on my nightstand, and I put one pair in the car.  It’s nice to have the coverage in case I need to read something with small print.

This brings me to my story – my parable.

According to Wikipedia,

A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. A parable is a type of analogy.

This week, events transpired in my life that caused me to take pause.  I broke one of my pairs of backup glasses.

Tuesday night, I was responsible for facilitating a Toastmasters Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contest for my Area.  I arrived early at the location of the contest, so I could set up and greet contestants and attendees.  As I was getting out of my car, I grabbed my spare set of glasses, and I must have put them on the roof of my car as I was getting other contest material out of my car.  Once I was in the contest location, I forgot about the glasses.

The contest went well.  The speakers did a fantastic job presenting to the contest audience.  The judging team selected winners wisely.  And the audience enjoyed the experience (from what I could tell).  After the contest, I cleaned up the room and packed up my contest materials.  I said goodbye to the last few lingering attendees, and I climbed in my car to begin the journey home.

100 yards after pulling out of the parking lot, I heard a loud thumping noise on the roof of my car, and I immediately realized the source of the sound.  My glasses had flown off the top of my car.  It was dark, but I decided to make several passes on the busy road to see if I might find my glasses.  Disappointingly, I could find the glasses, so I drove home with the thought of trying to find them in the morning on my way to work.

The next morning, I made a few more passes in the busy morning traffic, but I could see the glasses from my car.  Bummer!

At lunch time, I decided to make one last effort to find the glasses thinking they may have landed in the longer grass along the road.  I parked my car in a parking lot, and walked down the side of the road looking back and forth as I went.  Just when I was about to give up and head back to my car, I caught a glimpse of a familiar sight – the inside cover of my glasses case.  Half of it was laying on the side of the road blending into the grey of the road surface.  I walked a few more feet and found the other half of the case.  But where were my glasses?

As I began the journey back to my parked car, I found my glasses on the side of the road!  My excitement was soon replaced by sadness as I quickly discovered the lenses were missing, and the frames were smashed to smithereens.  It looked like my glasses took a ride in my garbage disposal.

I picked up the pieces and headed back to my car.  (A blog post was surely on the way.)

I’ve had a lot of thoughts since the incident with my glasses.

First, I’m a little frustrated with my carelessness.  I wish I had gone back out to my car when I realized I needed them for the contest.

Second, I’m a little disappointed in my opulence.  Where I serve in Guatemala, glasses like these are a treasured possession for those with failing eyes.  I could have brought the glasses with me on a trip to Guatemala to give to someone who really needs them.  Instead, I decided to have backups for my backups.  I want to be a good steward of my resources, and this means saving and spending appropriately.  And it means giving appropriately too.  I don’t want to be a hoarder of the resources God gives me.  I want to use the resources God gives me to help others and to honor Him.

My broken glasses remind me to hang on tightly to the things that matter, and they remind me to let go of the things that would be better served in the hands of others.

Are you hanging on too tightly to something?  What can you do TODAY to let go?  What does it mean to be a good steward?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

The Parable of the Lost Landscaping Plan


Don’t matter how much money you got, there’s only two kinds of people: there’s saved people and there’s lost people.

Bob Dylan

Have you ever lost something?

You remember having the item at one point in time, but now you can’t find it.

The search begins.  You look all over the place for your lost item.  Every closet, every corner, and every crack is checked and checked again.  You look under every bed, and you look everywhere else.  The search continues until you find the lost item or until you lose hope.

When you find the item (especially after a long search process), you celebrate.

Recurring Theme

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life.  In June, I wrote about The Parable of the Lost Blue Water Bottle.  There was much rejoicing when I found my lost bottle.  Since I made this story public, I’ve had several people point out my water bottle, “Is that the famous blue water bottle?”

Almost two years ago, I wrote about a lost item.

Over two years ago, I wrote about a lost child.

Four years ago, I wrote about a lost key.

Over five years ago, I wrote about a lost landscaping plan.

The lost and found theme that seems to run through my life is powerful.  Despite the countless stories of missing items, I’m generally a very organized person.  But God seems to be trying to get my attention.


My collection of lost and found stories grew last weekend when I discovered a long-lost item.

At my house, we have been going through a season of de-cluttering.  We are selling and giving things away, and we are simply discarding things we no longer need.  As we go through each room in the house, we take time to sort through the “stuff” we have accumulated since we moved into our house ten years ago.  I’m amazed to discover how many things we never use.

Last weekend, we spent the day cleaning up our basement.  As I was cleaning up my workshop area, I came across a brown bag full of paperwork.  I decided I should probably look through the paperwork to see if anything needed to be saved.  After twenty minutes of paging through appliance owner’s manuals and other miscellaneous pieces of paper, I discovered a familiar folded up document – I found our lost landscaping plan!

A smile immediately crossed my face, and the smile quickly turned into laughter.  I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I ran upstairs where Leanne and Isaac were preparing lunch, and I unfolded the landscaping plan for them to see.  They could hardly believe their eyes.

We had the landscaping plan designed for us shortly after we moved into the house.  We had big dreams of using the plan to beautify our property over the years.  Unfortunately, we lost the landscaping plan several years ago, and the initial landscaping plans were replaced with a new make-it-up-as-we-go plan.  We looked high and low (but not in the brown bag in the basement).

Whenever we lose an item in our house, our family jokes that the lost item must be with the landscaping plan.

This week, we celebrated the return of our landscaping plan with our H.O.P.E. group.  Leanne made cake.  I shared the story of our rediscovered landscaping plans.  And our friends helped us celebrate.

I’m planning to frame the landscaping plan to hang in our house as a reminder.  This new wall hanging will remind our family of the humorous story that has become a part of our history.  And the wall hanging will remind me of something else…

We Were All Lost

At one point or another, we were all lost.  God went to great lengths to “find” us.  He sent his Son to give us a way home.  When we decide to follow Christ, there is much rejoicing in heaven.  My lost landscaping plan reminds of the measures God took to help me find my way home, and the landscaping plan reminds me of the opportunity to share God’s love with others.

If you want to read more stories about the lost and found, check out Luke 15.

When was the last time you found something you previously lost?  How did you celebrate when you found the missing item?  Share your thoughts in the comments.