Discipleship Thought began as a weekly email from First Baptist Church at the Mall's Discipleship Pastor, Mark Bedwell, to his Sunday Morning Connect Group Leadership Team. These Thoughts were meant as a weekly encouragement, point to ponder, break from the day and sometimes even meant to make you stop and say "hmmm?"

We hope you find encouragement. Feel free to pass this along to someone who might need a little encouragement today!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I have a really nice closet.  Actually, it is more than a closet…it is an entire room. You see, we have a room in our house that is a combination scrapbooking haven, office, and home for my clothes.  While I actually am supposed to use the closet in the room, I have found that the room itself..i.e….the chair, shelves, ironing board, and desk all make perfect homes for such things as t-shirts, shorts, or other clothes that I don’t “have time” to hang up properly.  Basically the scrapbooking/home office has become Pastor Mark’s World’s Largest Closet.  And I am good with that. But two months ago something changed.  My daughter entered middle school and she invited me on a tour of her cramped little closet in the back corner of the den that she had been using to house her clothes.  As I looked into the tiny abyss that was her closet…I quickly knew why this viewing had been requested.  On this day, she wasn’t after my money, she wasn’t after my time my time…..”gasp” …she was after my closet!!!  
I stood in the midst of a huge decision….closet vs. daughter….and as in most cases where dads and their little girls are concerned….daughter won over closet….in a landslide.   As I began moving from mansion closet to shack closet….I had several realizations.  1. I had allowed my closet to get rather messy.  2. I found clothes that I hadn’t seen in years.  3. I found clothes that I loved, but were hidden.  4. Since I lost 40 pounds in the last six months, most of the clothes in the closet didn’t fit anyway.  I used the downgrade as an opportunity to assess, purge, and re-organize.

It has been two months since I have moved into my tiny little closet, and I want to tell you something….”Life is so much better.” I don’t have any room to make a mess.  I only have the clothes hanging up that I can actually wear.  Since I have limited space, I have to organize, pay attention to where things are, and make a conscious effort to put things where they actually belong.  I hate to say it…..but what looked like a downgrade…..was actually an upgrade.  The tiny corner closet is the perfect home for my clothes and my pre-teen daughter is enjoying life in the mansion.

As I stood in the corner of the den this morning, I thought about how odd that “things were better” in smaller and tighter conditions.  I thought back to when Kim and I lived in a one bedroom seminary dorm room…..at a time when an aspiring young pastor and a licensed C.P.A. were making barely enough to get by and remembered fondly that experience.  I thought about our first car….a three cylinder geo metro with no air conditioner that got 7,392,503,000 miles per gallon and remembered how college students at the University of Georgia referred to it as “the blue pea.”  I thought about the first Christmas present I ever received from Kim…..a set of golf clubs made out of construction paper and a $15 tennis racket from Wal-mart. 

Friends…we have been tricked into believing that bigger is better and that more is more.  As Christians we have spread ourselves out so thin and piled on so much stuff that sometimes we find it hard to remember what is even important….or we have misplaced the important underneath piles and piles of unnecessary.  We think the abundant life is about abundance when indeed in retrospect we find truly that it might just be about…..simplicity.  When we work through this realization….we might find that we do have less…but realize that is where abundance can be found.

May you focus this week on accessing your choices. May you purge…get rid of the unnecessary things that are clogging up the paths of abundance that God is trying to bless you with.  May you re-organize around His purpose and His plan.  May you figure out what makes you special…what you are called to do…and may you find the clothes that actually fit.  May you upgrade your life.  May you work through the fear of letting go.  May you pay less attention to the commercials and more attention to the true message and true messenger. May you simply choose the smaller closet.

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.     - Matthew 6:30-34

Discipleship Thought Originally created 9/20/10

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