The Greatest Man That Ever Lived!

I don’t want to be a naysayer but after reading a few passages I believe I have been corrected about something that I hear frequently. It’s not something Jesus said or something Paul wrote but it’s something John the Baptist said. You know, the guy of whom it was said “among those born of women none is greater than”.

It has to do with work. Our jobs. I used to blame Adam on the days I felt overworked or didn’t want to work. I think we would still be working if Adam hadn’t slipped up but we would have liked it. Sinners working alongside sinners can be aggravating. We try to make the best. We try to get the jobs we like and do things for a living that we love, but even the best jobs get boring and turn painfully routine. They have their temptations and moments of…how shall I say it…lack of desire.

We know that Paul was a tentmaker during his ministry. I assume he was a good tentmaker but I don’t know how he had time going from town to town sharing the gospel. Peter was a fisherman even though the recorded excursions were terrible without Jesus’s assistance. What about that Proverbs 31 woman?? She was no slacker and her model is held up to women worldwide. 2 Thessalonians says “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. We have to work, and Colossians says “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” We’re not supposed to work to impress those around us but to impress the Lord. We should be dedicated employees.

Over my 20 plus years as a believer I have heard countless messages from pastors warning us about spending too much time at work, or being a witness at work and being a good steward of our money from our labor. These are the predominant messages; I’ve never argued or questioned for a minute even though most of these messages made me feel like I couldn’t possibly measure up to what was expected.

Then came this exchange between John the Baptist and those following him(Luke 3):

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.”

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

When asked by these people what they should do to flee from the wrath and keep with repentance, what did the greatest man to walk the face of the earth say?

Compare that to what a good, evangelical Christian might have chosen to say.

What about not spending too much time at work, or being a witness at work and being a good steward of our money from our labor? Instead of give your money to the church, dedicate more time to your wife and family, honor your parents, follow the Law, etc….John addresses the struggles directly related to each person’s job.

If you are blessed with clothing and food, share. Tax collectors, don’t collect any more than you are required. Soldiers, don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely.

In this day and age, our jobs define who we are because our character is revealed in our jobs due to the amount of time we spend there. Work eight hours, sleep eight hours, and squeeze everything else into the other eight hours. Jesus spent much of his time preaching in the marketplace where people were working.

I think we should consider John’s advise and pray about wherever and whatever work we are involved in and not downplay that third of our life as something we must suffer through. It is a ministry and a testimony of Christ at work in our lives.

 

 

Dealing With My Past…again

Ok…crazy time. As I was sitting quietly I was reminded of the most obscure memory from childhood. It is a recurring memory but I’ve never think much about it other than I was a stupid kid. Today it had a surprisingly different meaning.

I was around five years old and had a plastic gun that I loved. It wasn’t one of those cheap plastic guns. It had a little weight to it and had a good solid CLICK when you pulled the trigger. Well, I lost it. Or I should say, it disappeared. I had three sisters and was convinced someone knew where it was. Days and weeks went by and I never found it. Eventually I gave up on ever finding it.

Then, late one night while everyone in the house was sound asleep, I woke straight up and knew where it was. I flicked the light on and started dumping toys out of the toy box onto the floor. Me and my sisters slept in bunk beds in one room so everybody woke up. Eventually my mom came in the room to see what was going on. My mom was trying to get me to go back to bed but I wouldn’t be stopped. I remember everybody just looking at me. The thing is I had never seriously looked in the toy box because the majority of the stuff in it belonged to my sisters. I kind of kept my select toys separate. And, there it was. Like gold in the collection of dresses, dolls and stuff animals.

Now it makes sense. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. There are things in my mind that need closure or understanding. They’re always hanging out there in the unsolved mysteries part of my brain waiting to be processed. They are constantly recalled and reprocessed by my brain to see if there’s any new relevant information. Here’s an example…

My wife and I will have a conversation. I will make one up. Let’s say we’re talking about the Disney cruise we took a few years back. We went to Cancun and the Grand Bahamas. In the Bahamas we hired a boat and went out site seeing. The young guy that rented the boat came from a family with a long history of boaters. I couldn’t think of the guys name right now for a million dollars. My wife has a steel trap brain and I’m sure knows the guys name off the top of her head. But let’s say in this instance she can’t remember either. We try to think of it but eventually give up and go on in our conversation.

Fast forward to a future date where me, my wife and maybe others are hanging out talking about the Bahamas. Later, everyone’s moved on to talking about their kids. But I am stuck on the Bahamas because there’s some unfinished business there. I don’t remember immediately what it was but then I remember…what was that boat guy’s name? I will look at my wife and say out loud, in the middle of the kid discussion and say “His name was John”. I don’t realize what I’ve done until the table goes quiet and everyone looks at me. Then I know I’ve done it. I found it! In the pile of soccer feats, birthday parties and 6th grade graduations, I found John!

These don’t happen too frequent, but I have many similar internal resolutions in the middle of random, unrelated thought processes.

So what? Sometimes I feel less human when I have these episodes. I feel like something is wrong with me. Today, making the connection with the gun makes me feel better because I feel like God made me that way. I’ve always been that way and won’t change. There are a lot of characteristics I have that frustrate me but I am comfortable knowing that God made me completely unique and no one else needs to understand, nor do I have to feel guilty because others don’t understand.

Another connection made!

New Start

It’s been two years since I’ve posted. Much has changed in my life and the world.

When looking thru my previous posts I noticed that I am a bipolar blogger. I have periods of doubt and struggle where I don’t post anything. Then I have moments of confidence and post like a crazy man. I think I even saw a couple of episodes that I imagine are similar to what I’m about to write, where I exclaimed my recommitment to blogging.

When I chose the title of my blog, “After I Think About It”, it was because I would post ideas that had crossed my mind and I couldn’t stop processing or thinking about them. Then I started into some religious posts but they were along the same lines: spiritual thoughts that I was processing.

I think about blogging and writing all the time but kind of lost my focus and was inconsistent(bipolar). Then after a while, I felt like Why start?

But, I was inspired by a blogger I followed that hasn’t posted probably in about two years as well. I thought he was brilliant and respected him. However, in the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Blogging world, he fell thru the cracks and I didn’t even notice he quit posting. I received an email that he was blogging again and I thought, “now’s the time to do it”. If he can do it, I can do it.

I’m at work so I’ll keep it short.

Good to be back.

Flash Jimi Jamison Memory

Jimi Jamison singing I Can’t Hold Back with Survivor just popped on my iTunes Genius lineup. He used to hang out a lot at Alfred’s on Beale Street when I was the General Manager. The Willies played frequently and lots of famous rockers stopped by to sit in with them. Jimi was a regular and so was Joe Walsh who had a house in Memphis at the time. One night the place was packed and many people sat in including Joe Walsh, Jimi and Joe Strummer of The Clash.

Fast forward 20 years. I was at the Memphis airport and ran into Jimi. I reintroduced myself and we shared a few stories about our Alfred’s memories. He laughed about one in particular.

He said he saw Rob Caudill talking to Joe Strummer earlier in the night and they seemed to be having an intense conversation. Rob walked away and came to Jimi with a bewildered look on his face. Jimi asked Rob what was up. He told him that guy was claiming to be “Joe’s drummer”. Rob knew Joe Walsh’s drummer and was arguing that he was NOT Joe’s drummer. Jimi said he cleared things up.

He was gone a couple of years later. When I think about it I wish I would have talked to him for just a little while longer. That was the last time I saw Jimi.

A little bit of Grace

A tree was down across our road out in the country. My son found this out on the way to school and had to back up to turn around. It was a little dark still so he ran off the road into some mud and got stuck. I picked him up at 6:45am and took him to school. My plan was to get it towed after I got my daughter off to school later.

My daughter and I sat at the end of the driveway and watched a county official in his truck blocking the opposite end of our street from any thru traffic because of the work being done on the downed tree. We then watched her school bus drive right past the blockade without even attempting to come rescue the one student on the street.

So out I set taking another child to school. I work from home so this is a pain in my day to say the least. I figured they should have the street cleared and took her to school in the same direction as my son’s car. That was a smart choice because there was a Sheriff  with all his lights flashing checking out the car.

I approached, rolled down my window and said “that’s my son’s car”.
Seeming to be a little irritated, he said “well I’m fixin to tow it”.
My first thought was that if I let him know I’m going to handle this, he’ll drive away happy.
“I’m was going to take my daughter to school then call a tow truck”, I proudly let him know.
“Well, if you leave I’m calling a tow truck now because I have to stay here until this car is moved. It’s a hazard sticking out in the street.” It was off the road but one corner was hanging out on a street that really only me, my eight neighbors and that sheriff use.

I’m already behind with work and don’t want to go to the impound lot to get my son’s car so I asked if I could call AAA to tow it to my house. He agreed and my daughter started freaking out because she was going to be late. Then, AAA tells me the tow truck won’t be there until 11am; it’s 8:45. That was not going to work for him.

I could tell he wasn’t happy with me. And he had every right to tow the car because to him it was a hazard to other drivers even though I thought it wasn’t. He was definitely defending the public and following the rules, “once I’m here, I can’t leave until the problem is resolved!”

“I’m calling a tow truck and it’ll be here in 20 minutes. You take your daughter to school and it’ll be here by the time you get back.”
I asked if they would take it to my house and he said they’d take it wherever I wanted since I would be paying for it.

As I sped off, my daughter said, “can’t he give you a ticket for speeding?”

As grumpy as he was, I found myself thankful of something. He showed me grace. He may not have realized it or intended to but he did. In my mind, my daughter was going to be late to school and I was going to have to pickup my son’s car at the impound lot. Because of his little kindness, neither one of those things happened.

When I returned I chatted with him for a few minutes before the tow truck arrived. It turned out he’s just a normal guy with a grumpy kind of disposition. He said that son of mine needed some driving lessons. I was still thankful.