Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 17 – No. 3115 August 01, 2015
Thought for the week: "The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes." – Marcel Proust
David McCasland tells about a woman whose car was stalled at an intersection. The hood was up, and she flagged McCasland down to help. "I can't get it started," she said, "but if you jiggle the wire on the battery, I think it will work." McCasland grabbed the positive battery cable and it came off in his hand. Definitely the cable was too loose. "The terminal needs to be tightened up," he told her. "I can fix it if you have some tools."
"My husband says to just jiggle the wire," she replied. "It always works. Why don't you just try that?"
McCasland paused for a moment, wondering why her husband didn't ride around town with her so he would be available when the wire needed jiggling. Finally he said, "Ma'am, if I jiggle the wire, you're going to need someone else to do it every time you shut the engine off. If you'll give me two minutes and a wrench, we can solve the problem and you can forget about it."
Reluctantly, she fumbled under the front seat and then extended a crescent wrench through the window of the old car. As he tightened the battery terminal, it occurred to McCasland how many times he had tried, in his own life, to get a "quick fix" from God. "I have this problem, Lord, and if You'll just jiggle the wire, things will be OK. I'm in a hurry, so let's just get me going again the quickest way possible." But God doesn't want to "jiggle wires," does He? He wants to take the time necessary to deal with our real problem and fix it.
"One To Grow On," Power For Living,
S.P. Pub. Inc. 10-9-88.
Cited on www.sermons.com
In 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T. Washington decided he wanted to go to school. For a boy, born a slave to a plantation cook in Virginia, who had no idea who his white father was, this was a huge step. He decided that he would enter the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. With nothing more than a small satchel of clothing, he started walking from Malden, West Virginia, 500 miles away. Eventually he made it to Richmond, about eighty miles from his destination. He worked there for a few days unloading pig iron off a ship, spending his nights on the ground under an elevated board sidewalk. He continued his journey and finally reached Hampton Institute. He asked the "head teacher" for admission.
Washington later recalled, "Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about the wisdom of admitting me as a student." The teacher delayed a decision about Booker while she admitted other students, and he waited anxiously. Finally, she said to him, "The adjoining recitation room needs sweeping. Take the broom and sweep it."
"It occurred to me at once that here was my chance," he wrote. "Never did I receive an order with more delight. I swept the recitation room three times. Then I got a dusting cloth and I dusted it four times." He cleaned the walls and closets. "I had the feeling," he continued, "that in a large measure my future depended upon the impression I made upon the teacher in the cleaning of that room. When I was through, I reported to her. She was a 'Yankee' woman who knew just where to look for dirt. She went into the room and inspected the floor and closets. Then she took her handkerchief and rubbed it on the woodwork about the walls, and over the table and benches. When she was unable to find one bit of dirt on the floor, or a particle of dust on any of the furniture, she quietly remarked, 'I guess you will do to enter this institution.'"
"I was one of the happiest souls on earth. The sweeping of that room was my college examination, and never did any youth pass an examination for entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction. I have passed several examinations since then, but I have always felt that this was the best one I ever passed."
Booker T. Washington not only passed that examination, but he kept a job as a janitor to help pay his expenses. In June 1875, he graduated on the honor roll and as one of the commencement speakers. Booker T. Washington was a dreamer who backed up his dreams with action.
A teacher assigned her 12th graders to pick a leader and write an essay. Most kids wrote about famous people, but a student named Julius titled his paper "Benny: The Man on the Bus."
Julius wrote that he'd been taking a public bus to school for years. Since most passengers were going to work, almost no one ever talked to anyone else.
About a year ago, an elderly man got on the bus and said loudly to the driver, "Good morning!" Most people looked up annoyed and the bus driver just grunted. The next day the man got on at the same stop and again he said loudly, "Good morning!" to the driver. By the fifth day, the driver greeted the man with a cheerful "Good morning!"
Soon, the man added, "My name is Benny. What's yours?" The driver said, "Good morning, Benny. I'm Ralph."
That was the first time the riders knew the driver's name and now people began to talk to each other and say hello to Ralph and Benny. Soon Benny extended his cheerful "Good morning!" to the whole bus. After a week, his "Good morning" was returned by a whole bunch of "Good mornings" and the entire bus seemed to be friendlier.
"A leader is someone who makes something happen," Julius said. "Benny was a leader in friendliness."
But last month Benny stopped getting on the bus. Everyone thought, "Maybe he died," and no one knew what to do. The bus got awful quiet again and Julius didn't like that.
"So," he wrote, "I started to say 'Good morning' to everyone and they cheered up again. I guess I'm now the leader."
"Then, leaving her water jar, the [Samaritan] woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'"1
In the Australian edition of ACTS Encounter magazine Ivor Bailey wrote how Trinity College in Cambridge, England, has a long held tradition of sending students to the slums of South London. At the parish of Camberwell the students sleep in the parish hall and spend a week each year working among the parishioners.
Some thirty years or more ago a student was helping do some home repairs when the occupant, a bed-ridden elderly lady, asked him if anyone had ever told him that he bore a remarkable likeness to Prince Charles. "Spitting image of him you are," she said. The student replied, quite truthfully, that no one had ever told him that before. "Strange," she replied, "even with my poor eyes you look just like him." To her dying day she probably never realized that her drains were being cleaned by the heir to the throne of England.2
Some 2,000 years ago the King of kings came into the world as a baby and most of the people of his day, including the religious leaders, never recognized him as the long Promised Messiah because he didn't fit the role of what they expected. However, there were those who did see him for who he was. Even the loose-living woman whom Jesus ministered to at the well in Samaria was so impressed with the fact that Jesus accepted her that she ran back to her community and shared how this stranger ministered to her and she asked, "Could this be the Christ?"
How sad and how tragic when we don't recognize Jesus for who he is and for the gift of salvation and eternal life he has for all who come to him.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, though I cannot see you with my physical eyes, please open the eyes of my understanding so that I recognize you for who you truly are and can be aware of the leading of your Holy Spirit in every area of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John 4:28-29, (NIV). 2. Ivor Bailey, Encounter, December '04-January '05, p 15. ACTS International, Australia. www.actsinternational/au.
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