"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, March 23, 2007

One More Rubber Tree Got Moved

I heard a story the other day from a friend that affected me in a surprising way. Surprising because it was one of those days when I was not living up to my own expectations, nothing was going right for me, I could not seem to get myself into a smooth gear; basically I was throwing a great big ole’ Jimmy Pity Party. Now, don’t go getting all smug as you sit there reading this because I know you and I know you have those same parties for yourselves. You enjoy feeling downtrodden, feeling the weight of the unjust world on your shoulders and getting a degree of pleasure in making those around you aware of your personal party to which they are not invited.

Now, back to the story from my friend. She was reading my new book “Being God’s” and told me that a young man in her church would enjoy reading it primarily because of the circumstances of his life. She and her husband have known him closely for many years. A number of years ago, Chris was in a tragic automobile accident and ended up hanging upside down held only by his seat belt. I’m not sure of all the specifics, but basically the doctors thought that due to the extent of his injuries that he might not live and if he did, he would never walk again. His prognosis was paralysis from the neck down. Chris and his determination (plus a whole bunch of continued prayers), saw him live, enter the Shepherd’s Spinal Clinic and eventually leave there walking down the driveway. The young man, who was to be paralyzed at best, was walking. Under his own power and strength. Since then, he has graduated high school and is about to graduate from college and enter the teaching profession.

However, the story does not end there. Recently, Chris realized that the only thing he was still missing in his life was a relationship with God; a personal relationship that would allow him to use his trials and experiences to minister to the students he would be teaching. He asked God into his life and his story ministered to me that day.

How often do we get out of sorts because the coffee maker doesn’t cut on when the timer is set? When someone has borrowed my scissors at work for the umpteenth time without returning them and I want to insert those same scissors into their body can generate a snarky word or attitude from me (yes, even I can be snarky at times). People get bent out of shape because of how the toilet paper is on the roll, whether the restaurant server forgets the extra pickles, traffic is backed up at the drive-thru and you are already late for work, blah blah blah.

Chris was facing the worst times of his life, yet he was determined to not let go of Hope. Through days of discouragement and disappointment, he endured, persevered; he overcame and won the battle. Would I have had the same attitude? I don’t know. Would you?

We are told in Philippians 4:13 that we can “do anything through Christ who gives us strength.” Folks, one thing I can assure you is the truth of that one verse. It has been proven in my life, lives of my family and friends, and now I know of the truth in the life of Chris.

When I left my friend’s office that day, I noticed that spring had come to McDonough. It was suddenly a beautiful day because one young man, whom I have never met, gave me a new attitude on the importance of living for today and trusting in the strength of God.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What Price Can You Put On A Good Pink Pump?

It seems as if our lives are full of drama, seriousness and general bad stuff today. Whether you agree or not, our country is at war. There is corruption and deception in government from all parts of the country. Buses overturn, fires in apartments, home invasions, job losses and on it goes. What I have discovered is that we need is a dose of fun and whimsy to try and get our perspective back.

We are promised over and over in the scriptures that the world is not going to get any better until the end of time. Sorry to bust the bubble, folks, but there isn’t ever going to be a wonderful and glorious period of world peace, at least this side of heaven. Now, that ain’t a whole lot of encouragement to this guy who really wants to just live and grow old without being afraid to leave his house. On the positive side is that God promises us that He will always be with us, His people, and give us the strength to bear up under what happens. He doesn’t promise that times won’t be tough and even tragic, but He does tell us that He will be our comfort and our source of hope in all these times.

Several weeks ago I was in a local store and saw the strangest thing. I knew I had to buy it simply because it made me laugh since it was so tacky and gaudy. It was a pink lady’s pump with gold heels and lined with little diamond-like jewels. The really funny part is that it was a key chain and it was just calling my name. Why, you ask?

A fairly youthful appearing, straight, conservative Christian single guy would normally not be interested in such a thing, but it was so unlike anything I’ve ever owned that I just bought it. Well, there was that matching pink ball gown that I kept hanging in my closet as a teenager, but another story for another time. I bought the pink pump with the diamonds and put it on my ring of keys when I got to the car, and continued to snicker.

When I see my keys lying on my desk, kitchen table or hanging from the ignition, there is my sparkling little touch of fun. I forget for a minute about the troubles and woes of the world and my little part in it and laugh at the fact I actually bought such a thing. I have been kidded and tortured beyond words by friends and family about my pump, but I don’t care. Life is too short to worry about what kind of trinket is hanging on your key chain.

Where do you go or what do you do to escape from the worries and tragedies of the world? Many people escape through alcohol or drugs. Others escape through overspending on material things (much more expensive than a key ring).
Some withdraw from the community in general (bad thing), while others decide to get involved and try to make a difference (good thing).

Folks, trust God when He tells you that if He is concerned about the birds being fed that He is surely going to be concerned about you! As for me, I try to leave the big world events up to God and just continue to look for my Cinderella who will fit (or at least laugh at) my little pink pump with the diamonds.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.