Tom Thumb

A guest post from my friend and gospel singer extraordinaire Janet Paschal.


It was defined by slabs of wood laid across cinderblocks. These makeshift shelves were stocked with cans long emptied of vegetables, but still brandishing a decipherable sticker price from our local A&P.  Atop one of the shelves was my bright blue Tom Thumb cash register, filled with Monopoly money and loose change. I first played consumer, selecting various items for purchase, then I became the cashier, a role which made it all worthwhile. I would mentally tally the items then accept cash payment. When I pressed the register’s ‘Total’ button, a bell would ring and the cash drawer spring open. I spent hours upon pleasurable hours playing ‘store’ in the pine trees. I also received more tick bites and reprimands for staying too long outdoors than for any other single trespass.
When mom summoned us for supper, it was fairly predictable. We sat at the four seat, yellow formica table with chrome edges. Someone prayed, then we began passing the food. My mom talked to dad about whatever things were happening at her job and he did the same. My sister and I knew about the cutbacks, expansions, and daily routines of both our parents because most of their communication happened at the dinner table. We also knew about world events, local economies, and the rising cost of heating fuel. My sister talked about her day at school in her inimitable fashion, aiding and abetting where necessary. I think I learned more about home economics from her vivid descriptions at the dinner table than from the class I attended three years later. I have come to understand how fortunate we were to share that time together every day. I have come to understand that I was gleaning life lessons over fried chicken and homemade biscuits. I did not then realize that I was learning about character, as my dad would relate an event at work where someone had proven untrustworthy or less than completely honest. I had no idea that I was learning about compassion, as my mom spoke of the dire needs of the people with whom she worked. (None of us wondered why she sometimes packed extra lunches.) I did not know that I was learning to embrace friendship from my sister who assumed everyone on the planet was a friend she had yet to meet.
Perhaps this is why that one of the most poignant moments of Jesus’ 33 years on earth was, for me, during the Bible’s most familiar meal. The Passover supper was so important that Jesus gave specific instructions regarding the location and told his apostles that he had ‘eagerly desired’ to eat the meal with them. It was here that Jesus shared His upcoming betrayal. Knowing that His time was quickly coming to an end, He gave them a Reader’s Digest version of the things that really matter: the greatest should be the least, the ruler should be the servant, and then the payoff. Because they had been faithful to follow Him, they would eat and drink at His table and occupy thrones in the kingdom. He singled out Simon Peter (a preacher once said that perhaps Jesus took his chin in His hand) when he said, “Satan has desired to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you.”
So, when you next share a meal with family or friends, remember to lean in and pay close attention. Try to listen between the lines and hear the past, as well as the present. Don’t forget that this is a great opportunity to affect those with whom you break bread. And if your children are like me, fascinated with the outdoors, give them a break.
They may have customers waiting.
Have a blessed September…Janet


Janet blesses her friends at Janet Paschal and Friends at Facebook and Twitter and her website,

The Lord’s Supper, Brokeness for Brokeness

People around the world today participated in The Lord’s Supper. A bit of bread of some sort was eaten and a small portion of wine or grape juice was drunk as together followers of Jesus Christ remembered Him.

This morning I shared the bread and cup with perhaps 750 or more saints. I was reminded as the others were served that one commonality we share locally and around the world is brokenness. Then at the invitation the announcement of a girl who had been baptized, a man joining our fellowship who works with our prison ministry, a couple placing membership who are transparent about their marriage difficulties and solicit our prayers, a well-loved lady with concerns about a health issue was prayed for, and finally a ministry leader tearfully confessed his failure to be what he knows God wants him to be.

Each of us comes to the Lord’s table bringing our brokenness. Unique we are yet each of us brings broken lives. We share a history of sinful passions, hard to restrain egos, and psyches embedded with the popular culture that is against God. We everyone either are or have been broken, badly off kilter compared to God’s ideal.

Thus we come and hear the Lord’s voice saying “This is my body” and “This is the New Covenant in my blood” and we know his broken body and shed blood was for us. Because He was broken we are invited to come as we are with our brokenness surely to be helped and healed. Because of “His stripes” our broken lives are made new.

In view of what God has accomplished for us in the perfect living and dying and living again of Jesus we bow to His majesty and choose to be broken again. Now we gladly choose brokenness so that Christ might be all in all in us and for us and through us for others.

God’s mighty power is best displayed in the life of the meek, the poor in spirit, the broken. It seems that God does His best work when He has nothing to work with. Read your Bible. Don’t you know that men who accomplished great things for God were all alike marked with brokenness?

Brokenness for brokenness? Yes, I bring mine and His makes mine OK.