One of my graduate school professors would frequently challenge us to “emotionalize the truth” if we wanted to effectively communicate with an audience.
He would then practice what he preached by giving illustrations: Jesus and the use of parables, Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and a score of others.
I am very fortunate in receiving several examples from Gary Morgan, Russ Digby and Warren Mitchell. They are not only stimulating for our minds but also very practical.
Albert Schweitzer was one of the greatest of Christian leaders. He was a noted philosopher, musician, medical doctor and missionary in Lambarene, Africa. When asked what he did when he felt discouraged, he responded with a clear but simple statement, “I go outside and work in my rose garden.”
I really love this story. Without a doubt Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest of artists. It is reported that while finishing the masterful, “The Lord’s Supper,” his wife called him to come into the house and said, “Leonardo take out the garbage.”
One college student asked his grandmother for an interview for his Psychology class. He wanted her to define success for him. Her answer was classic. “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”
Micah was a remarkable man who lived around 750-700 B.C. He was a lot like Bernie Sanders. He reproached big government and the leaders, defended the rights of the poor, condemned the rich and powerful and advocated social justice. In other words, he was a Socialist.
In Micah 6:8, he gives a word of hope, which many scholars define as the highest message in the Old Testament. (The Way translation) “No, He has told you what He wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, and just, and merciful and to walk humbly with your God.”
I read the other day the comment made by a very successful man in his 70’s. Three tips for success. 1) Read something no one else is reading. 2) Think something no one else is thinking. 3) Do something no one else is doing.” I remember what Robert Schuller described as his key for success. Simply, “Find a need and fill it.”
As mentioned before, Albert Schweitzer was a great man. Among his many books, the most important was/is “The Quest of the Historical Jesus.” His last paragraph is unforgettable.
“He (Jesus) comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside. He came to those men who know Him not. He speaks to us the same words, ‘Follow thou Me,’ and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time.
He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether he be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they will pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience, Who He is.”
Anyone who has lost a pet dog, as I have, will appreciate this short account. “Today after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died he licked the tears off my face.”
I keep the following incident in my Bible and read it often.
“Life I salute you, whether I have one hour or one day left, Life I salute you. To have lived you up to now, to have attempted to interpret you to others, to have known and to know people, good and bad, great and puny, eminent and anonymous is already to have lived life up to the jeweled hilt.
The going is stormy, but the going has wings and the heart sings. I salute you, life, for the riches and wonder of you.” This was written by Fannie Hurst, who was terminally ill.
In conclusion I quote the Serenity Prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous. It originally was written by Reinhold Neihbur.
“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Grant me the courage to change the things I can and grant me the wisdom to know the difference.”
Amen. Selah. So be it.