The Cowboy

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

“Wanna make some extra money?”

I raise my head from my deepening discouragement, tilting it towards the voice coming through the passenger-side window.  A man in his thirties is stooping down while leaning inside my car.  His shades slide down a notch to reveal eyes constantly shifting between his shoes, the sidewalk, and me.

“Doing what?” I ask.

“Driving,” he replies. “I need someone to give me a ride to the border to pick up my medication.”

I study the man for a moment and I hesitate. A salesperson’s job can be demoralizing, even for the optimistic. Two weeks of door knocking has produced exactly one sale, a whopping sixty dollars in commission. I was trying to figure out gas money when he approached me. Is this a solution? Or a temptation?

Continue reading “The Cowboy”

When Ten Percent Doesn’t Cut It

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Hello my friend.

I wanted to share some follow-up thoughts on our conversation from yesterday, specifically your comment about the ten percent. It bothered me at the time, but I couldn’t find the words to precisely express what I found so troubling. After meditating on your comment, I think I have an analogy which might help you. 

Before I get to that, I want to first express my respect and admiration for how you handle yourself, your affairs, and your business. I’m sure I’ve told you this before. I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to handle your life, even if I had an opinion (which I don’t). I have full confidence that you hear the Lord in all matters warranting your attention because your life proves it. I, for one, have been blessed by your generosity. 

This also means that I don’t have any direct experience with your situation. For me, it’s never been a question of a percentage: my tithe has always been my time and service, in place of any material wealth. I have always been a member of the working poor, and The Lord gives me only what I need, never more than that. Although many have not appreciated what I give (as they only understand blessings in terms of material wealth, a reflection of where their hearts lie), testing has proven that this is the Lord’s will for my life. 

Labor cannot truly be divided into percentages. You do the job until the job is done, or until you are relieved. Which brings me to what is troubling me. 

Is it appropriate to look upon our gifts in terms of percentages? I don’t believe so. 

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A man was out walking with his best friend one day. As they discussed various things both light-hearted and serious, another traveler happened across their path. After introductions were made, the man asked the traveler if there was anything he could do for him.

“Well, actually, I was wondering if you could help me out,” the traveler replied. “This path is new to me. I was wondering if you could help me make a choice regarding the fork I see ahead.”

The man paused and turned to his friend. After a brief consultation, the man gave some counsel regarding each choice. After the man was finished, the traveler looked slightly bemused. 

“It sounds like you’ve been down each path!” the traveler stated. “I didn’t know anybody could walk both of them. I thought one had to choose one or the other!”

“I actually haven’t been down either path.”

“So how do you know these things?”

Continue reading “Invisible”

When Bible Studies Make You Cringe

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

“I want to start a community group,” I said. “There are still a lot of people in need, and starting a support group seems appropriate.”

“I have some literature that could help you,” the pastor replied. “Want me to send it?” I agreed, with the promised literature arriving in my inbox moments later. I began to look through it.

That’s when I cringed: it was all related to starting a Bible-study group. 

I didn’t have a problem with the subject (obviously), and I certainly had no problem with the structure. It was simple, straightforward, and easy to implement.

Nonetheless, I cringed. I cringed for the single mother, the depressed college student, the struggling addict, the abused believer, and many more examples. Even if I could gather enough people to form a group, these people would likely not come back.

And if you don’t understand why this would happen, then this post is for you.

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Blessed are the Peacemakers

Expected reading time: 15 minutes

“Dude, puff-puff-GIVE!”

Steve awakens from his stupor. “Sorry, bro, I was spacing,” he says with an embarrassed grin.  He holds out the pipe to me.

“What, I gotta go over there and get it?!” I ask in mock insult.

“You think I’m getting up and going over there? Bro, I am way too stoned to move!”

“What if I’m too stoned to get it?”

“Then I guess you ain’t getting any…”, he trails off, as he pulls the pipe back towards himself.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” I drag my butt out of my chair, snatching the pipe out of his hand. I look at him for a moment while shaking my head.  “F**king stoner.” We both laugh uproariously.

Continue reading “Blessed are the Peacemakers”