We are the times

I was confused. My fifth grade class was not on schedule. Instead of our normal routine, we were about to watch something on television. As my eleven-year-old mind tried to make sense of the pictures I saw, this much became clear: someone had hurt many people. A building was torn in half from bottom to top. Could it be that this was Oklahoma City?

171 lives ended that day. The memorial honors the victims with 168 empty chairs (149 adults and 19 children), plus the names of three preborn children who died with their mothers. It was, until 9/11, the deadliest terror attack in the United States.

In the days that followed my eyes saw the helpers. I saw rescue workers fighting through exhaustion to help pull people from the wreckage. I saw thousands lined up to donate blood. I saw compassion. I saw love. Continue reading “We are the times”

Discipline in the midst of disaster

But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7, 8 NASB).

While teaching preaching students, Edwin Jones would say, “Your life is always full, choose carefully how you fill it.” We fill every moment with something. We may be productive or fruitless, contemplative or ignorant, but our time is never empty.

An interesting consequence of social distancing is that the amount of “free time” many people have has risen considerably. What do we do with that time we have? We will fill each available minute. With what will we fill it? Continue reading “Discipline in the midst of disaster”

Becoming humble

Becoming like Christ is a full-time, life-long pursuit. It is a journey which includes both forward and backward movement. Times of advancement and times of stagnation should be expected. It is important to understand that this “walk” with Christ which we are on is our life’s work. We must continue to press forward. While perfectly emulating Christ is impossible, it is likely that some aspects of Christ’s life may be easier to imitate than others.

Humility is one quality of Christ that requires dedication and persistence. Acquiring humility is difficult, for the moment when you think you have it, it is gone. It is also difficult because the world is so devoid of humility. The absence of humility gives us all the more reason to develop and demonstrate a humble life. Continue reading “Becoming humble”

Character can be destiny

“Character is destiny.” This quote, attributed to the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, has been on my mind these last months. Seemingly a response to those who claim that fate controls one’s life regardless of one’s life-choices, “character is destiny” places the path and end of one’s life into one’s own hands.

Certainly, there is much truth in this statement, both from a secular and religious viewpoint. It does not mean to suggest that a person of poor character cannot be successful from a worldly standpoint. Only that the result of their life will reflect the choices which they made, and the character which informed those choices.

We might be dismayed to see wicked people, liars, cheaters, and the like, rise to prominence and power in our world. We might be saddened to see the world seemingly support such people. But we, like the Psalmist, have a more informed perspective. Continue reading “Character can be destiny”

Watching the greatest

Who is the greatest you have ever seen? There is something special, something almost poetic in watching the greatest perform. Seen in person, a Michael Jordan fadeaway, a Messi shot on goal, a Jack Nicklaus approach shot, a Federer down-the-line running forehand, or a Willie Mayes moonshot would leave an indelible memory.

Perhaps you hang upon every note as Eta James sings or Dizzy Gillespie wails on the trumpet. Or maybe it is the works of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, or Dvorak, brilliantly performed that draw you in. You dare not turn away when the best take the stage, for something great may happen. Continue reading “Watching the greatest”