Un-Proverbial Tales: To Bead or Not To Bead

Before the age of dinosaurs, there lived a poor cave woman who gave birth to her 13th child, a girl, and named her “Lumusi” which means, “born face down.”

The girl’s name summarized her place in life. Lumusi, or “Lumu” as she was called, grew up on the wrong side of the dinosaur tracks. Her mother was a half breed. Her father was dead, and her 12 siblings worked as servants in the family homes of the village chief.

When it came time for Lumu to earn a living, she begged her mother to let her work in the Hide & Stone factory, a business that made clothing and accessories for cave people. The only position Lumu was qualified for was cleaning. She did not mind the solitary night work and even found some parts of it to be inspirational.

For instance, in the hide preparation part of the factory, river stones were used to soften the skins. As they tumbled about in the water baths, small pieces broke off from the larger chunks. To Lumu they were beautiful. Smoothed and polished by the water, the colors and patterns were enhanced.

Lumu started a collection of the prettier pebbles. Sometimes on her break, she sat outside in the moonlight (the torch light was too dim) and laid out the stones as beads in her imagined jewelry designs.

One day, Lumu’s mother discovered the pebble collection underneath the bedding.

Lumu told her mother how some day she planned to own a boutique and sell her jewelry to the wives and friends of the village chief. The idea sounded absurd to her mother and sent her into fits of laughter.

“Stupid child, you will never be able to do it. You are what you are, and that means, YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.”

“You’re not smart enough, rich enough, or beautiful enough to attract any paying customers. No one will give attention to a poor, uneducated, half-breed. I know all about the matter.”

Her siblings heard the discussion and were also amused. A few days later, when their amusement had simmered into full-blown irritation, they took action. They threw Lumu’s stone collection down the mountain.

“Who does she think she is? She should have been a servant like us. Mom played favorites and let her work in the factory. Now, Lumu is getting ideas!”

When Lumu  turned to her mother for comfort, she was scolded.

That night when Lumu arrived at the factory she discovered her boss, Abimbola, whose name means “born wealthy, was working late. Abimola saw that Lumu’s eyes were red from crying.

“What is the matter with you Lumu?”

Hoping for encouragement, Lumu shared her artistic dreams with Abimbola who seemed sympathetic and even offered Lumu a piece of her dark chocolate bar to take away the sting of scorn.

However, the next day Abimbola heaped shame on Lumu. She used her as an example in front of the other workers and went into a tirade about how favor would never come to any of them because they were just as ugly, poor, and stupid as Lumu.

(Abimbola was third generation nobility, and she enjoyed rubbing her status in the face of those less graced.)

That evening Lumu was very embarrassed when she heard about Abimbola’s rant, so she grabbed her lambskin satchel, which also held part of her stone collection, and headed down the mountain leaving her wretched life behind. She did not realize a small hole in the satchel allowed many of the stones to tumble out as she walked.

Around dawn, she arrived at the base of the mountain. There by a well, a herder was watering his goats, and he gave Lumu directions to the nearest town. Under the gaze of curious villagers, Lumu sought out the local jewelry shop owner and begged to be taken in as his apprentice.

“Why should I make you my apprentice? You are an outsider. You are from that dismal town up in the mountains. The people of your village are retro-primitive.”

The jewelry shop owner turned to shut his door, but the town evangelist, who happened to be checking out the apples in the adjacent fruit stand, stopped him.

“Brother Trinket, isn’t it true that our village motto is “Even Strays Get A Day?”

It was true. In this valley town of great sophistication, the people passed out the keys to the city and proclaimed various “days” for every occasion. The proclamations were given with such frequency that the chief’s calendar had to be amended constantly. No event was too unusual. There was, Re-Make Your Hut Day, Cook Your Favorite Soup Day, Take Your Mother-In-Law to Lunch Day, and yes, even a day of canine compassion called, Give a Stray a Bone Day.

The diminutive jeweler nodded and sighed.

“You’re right Brother Angle. Even dogs have their day. Come inside my petite chien and meet my master.”

(Tiramisu Trinket was Italian and the “master” he spoke of was his wife who ruled the roost.)

“I wear the pants in the family,” he explained to Lumu. “Whatever pair she picks out, I put on.”

From that day forward, Lumu studied the craft of jewelry making under the guidance of Tiramisu Trinket and his wife Georgina. She discovered how to turn the polished river pebbles into beads and string them into pleasing patterns. On Sundays she put her work aside and listened to Brother Angle teach about The Maker.

Finally, the day came when Lumu had learned all she could from the Trinkets.

“You must go and make your own jewelry now,” Tiramisu told Lumu.

Lumu gathered up her tools and a bundle of beads the Trinkets gave her and set out to make her fortune.

Her spirits were high. Her childhood dreams were about to become reality.

Halfway to the next valley town where Lumu planned to open her boutique Lumu met with Brother Angle headed the same direction.

Where are you going Lumu?

To make my fortune. I’m opening my own boutique.

Shouldn’t you be headed the other direction?

I can’t stay in town and compete with the Trinkets. I’m off to a new town.

Why don’t you go back home and open a shop in your village?

Never! I’ll lose all my confidence there. The villagers will never see me as anything but a poor, uneducated, half-breed like the rest of my family.

Think again Lumu. Your greatest confidence will come when you face your adversity and rely on The Maker to see you through. Nothing else you do can match such a combination.

For a moment, Lumu was silent. She was certain Brother Angle was wrong. She started to explain, but he continued persuading.

It’s no use Lumu. Even in a new place, YOU will remember. You have to go back for yourself.

Brother Angle reached to his neck and pulled off a leather strap bound around a small metal cross.

Take this to remind you where great confidence can be found.

He turned her to face the mountain as he fastened the token around her neck.

One more thing, Lumu. Your name must no longer be Lumusi. It is Akuchi.

What does that mean?

Wealth from God. Follow The Maker. In Him, you will find your fortune. Will you do it?

Although she had tried hard to believe a moment ago that Brother Angle was wrong, Lumu knew that in her heart his words were true, so she agreed. After hugging Brother Angle goodbye, Lumu started her climb up the mountain.

A thousand feet from her village, Lumu sat to rest on a boulder. She was afraid. She fingered the small cross on her neck. Wealth from God

She pulled open her satchel, laid out the stone beads in a pattern, and strung a simple necklace. When she finished, she put it around her neck. Then she repacked her bag, and hiked the remaining distance back to her village. Outside her hut home, she nervously twisted her necklace and the cross pendent wondering what her mother would say to her.

Before she could enter, a woman from a nearby hut stepped out and saw Lumu standing in the sunlight. The light shimmered on the bead and cross necklaces. The woman gasped and came up to Lumu.

Where did you get such a beautiful necklace?

Lumu recognized the woman was Abimbola, who now was fingering the jewelry. Her face was very close.

What is your name? Are you a seller from the valley town? I must know.

Lumu hesitated. It seemed Abimbola did not recognize her.

Just then, Lumu’s mother came out of the doorway and saw the commotion. She gasped and reached out to embrace Lumu, but Abimbola stepped in the way. She was still mesmerized by the necklace.

Abimbola spoke for her audience

Do you see the fine jewelry this woman wears? She must be from the valley town. Too bad you can’t afford to buy anything like this. I am certain it is all the rage.

When Abimbola paused and focused on Lumu, a brief gleam of recognition came into her eyes.

Lumu is that you?

Her mother shook her head at Lumu and then answered.

Her name is Akuchi. You are right. She’s from the valley town. She was an apprentice to Tiramusi Trinket, the greatest jeweler in the region. I’m sure she has jewelry to sell.

Lumu was just as surprised at her mother’s words as Abimbola was excited. For Abimbola, who had lost much of her sight except for things that reflected mightily in the sun, the news that such a fashionable women was at their village selling jewelry from the sophisticated valley shops was an event that thrilled. She tugged greedily on the necklace.

Akuchi I must have this necklace! What is the price?

Lumu gently pried Abimbola’s hands off the necklaces and unfastened them from her neck. Then she placed the two necklaces, still intertwined—cross and beaded, and placed them around Abimbola’s neck.

It is free for you. In exchange, you can bring me customers. Tell the chief’s wives a woman named Akuchi has come to open a jewelry shop.

As Abimbola eagerly hurried away, Lumu and her mother embraced. Then she questioned her mother.

How do you know all that has happened to me?

Her mother answered.

Brother Angle found me crying on the mountain one day. He came up often to pray, and we met where your trail of stones ended. He told me you were well and working with the jeweler.

Amazed, Lumu remembered discovering the hole in her satchel and the missing stones, however she was puzzled about the name. Brother Angle would not have had time to tell her mother about the change.

Why did you call me Akuchi?

It seemed to fit. You are not the little girl I birthed “born face down.” You are “Akuchi.” You are confident. I know this must be because you have “wealth from God.”

The End

 

Here is another confidence booster.

http://southhillsbc.org/index.php/media2/online-sermons/sermon/46-sunday-sermon-1-26-2014

It is a link to an audio file of a sermon entitled “Mega Faith” given by my son Daniel McFarland at South Hills church in Fort Worth.

My son preaches about the story in Matthew 15:21-28 where a woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and He responds (a faith test.) Jesus tells the woman that she is an outsider from the wrong town and wrong race. But, she doesn’t run. She absorbs all of the offensive things. She even bows before Jesus, “Lord, help me”.  She looks to the hope at the end, “If I am a house-dog, the master will care for me.” Or, “If I am a ‘no good, second class Canaanite, who has to wait her turn’, STILL the master will care for me.” And then Jesus exclaims, “O… Woman… Mega… Faith!”

God gives us this woman’s story in Matthew as an example of the possibility of Mega Faith, mega confidence we can have in Him.

Here are the Proverbs verses that inspire God- confidence.

“Lean on, trust in, and BE CONFIDENT in the Lord with all your heart and mind, and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct and make straight your paths.

 Be not wise in your own eye, but reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn (entirely) away from evil.”  Proverbs 3:5-8

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