ANGER. According to Ripley's Believe it or Not, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, cut off a great part of her hair after a quarrel with her husband. She then asked an artist to paint her with her new hairstyle with her holding the clump of cut hair. She thus immortalized the quarrel. Sometimes we have to let things go. How many of us are clutching the remnant of some argument that needs to be forgotten?
COMMITMENT. After a great gathering of Christian youth, a church staff member was counting the offering. At the bottom lay a teen-aged girl's picture. Had someone taken that picture from some-one's wallet and thrown it in the offering as a practical joke? That's the kind of thing teenagers sometimes do. But someone turned the picture over. On the back of her own picture, a girl had written, "I have nothing to give but myself." Whether we have little to give or much to give, the gift God wants us to give is ourselves!
CONFESSION. Robert Anthony tells of the time when the Viceroy of Naples was visiting in Spain. He visited the harbor and saw a galley ship of convicts used to pull the oars. The Viceroy went aboard and asked the men why they were there. One man said that the judge was bribed to convict him. Another said that his enemies paid people to bear false witness against him. Still another said his best friend had lied to protect himself. Finally one man said, "I'm here because I deserve to be. I wanted money and I stole a purse." With this the Viceroy said to the captain, "Here are all these innocent men and only one wicked man in their midst. Let us release this man lest he infect the others." The man was set free and pardoned.
GOD. H.G. Wells once said, "If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, nothing else matters!" That ought to highlight our need to walk in God's ways, to talk in a fashion that pleases Him, and to think on those things that honor Him.
MARRIAGE. A wife went to the police station with her next-door neighbor to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description. She said, "He's 45 years old, 6 foot 3, has blue eyes, blond hair, an athletic build, weighs 185 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children." The next-door neighbor protested, "Your husband is 5 foot 3, chubby, bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children." The wife replied, "Who wants him back?"
PARENTING. Mark Tonra's "James" in the comic strip asked his mother, "How'd you learn to be a Mom?" She replied, "I didn't." Not satisfied, James said, "Seriously." His mother said, "Seriously, I'm just winging it." James walked away saying, "Not what you want to hear." The fact is that there are no perfect parents. While dedicated parents don't really "wing it" they do make mistakes and sometimes fail. All the parenting books and seminars in the world won't change that.
PERSPECTIVE. When you look at a field of dandelions, you probably see weeds. When Peter Gail looks at it, he sees lunch. USA Today carried the story of the Dandelion Festival in Dover, Ohio. One enthusiastic participant is Peter Gail, an etho-botanist, who is called the "wizard of weeds." He eats 20 dandelions a day. Gail claims that the dandelion is both healthy and flavorful. Much of our enthusiasm in life is related to our perspective. Sometimes the weeds can be wonderful.
EVANGELISM. In Soulguide Bruce Demarest tells of Dateline NBC's report on Boston oncologist Dr. Jerome Groopman. Dateline followed the doctor for two years as he attempted to save the lives of Gene, who suffered from AIDS and Elizabeth, who suffered from breast cancer. As the patients were treated, Dr. Groopman grew in intimacy with them. After watching them eventually lose their lives to their diseases, he concluded: "'If you care for someone without addressing his or her soul, you're not really caring for them'" (p. 35). Is the same not true for the Christian who walks among the spiritually dead of this world? If we meet material and emotional needs, but never address the spiritual need, then we're not really caring for them.