“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

“To Be PC Or Not To Be PC?”

Can’t believe I turned to Shakespeare for this one, but when tough topics come up we have to be honest with ourselves and each other. In the news all we hear about is being politically correct. What does that mean anyway? Of course the answers some learned in their secular college course somewhere will come out, but to be honest, I think this is what got us into the mess we are in now.

My intent is not to pinpoint a college for a fault, but what I am referring to is the idea that political correctness was taken to levels unseen by everyone. Now, we are stuck with it regardless of how far it has come and I have an idea that many of those who raised banners for it are now stuck eating “Crow”, but in order to save face are unwilling to upset the status quo they find themselves in. Why? Because quite frankly it could mean losing jobs, friends and their livelihood.

It seems to me in my simple mind that if I am being honest, it is a better quality than lying to myself and everyone around me about my feelings and what I consider to be right or wrong. If I give up my beliefs and betray my feelings I have just handed who I am over to someone else; something I refuse to do regardless of the consequences. Anyway, I am not mine to give away as I belong to God.

For those who are struggling with choices they know they must make to save themselves; make the choice you know your heart is telling you.  God has put His Law on your heart and by this you will know that the choice you make is the right one. Do not let sin cloud your heart and repent.  Let God in so that you can honestly and clearly examine yourself; remember God have given you grace through Jesus Christ – He is your gift so honor and cherish it.

For those around you who claim there is no God or God’s Law does not apply or other absurd claims; they too know that God exists.  If they truly thought that God did not exist they would not fight so hard to prove otherwise. For those who would challenge you in this our foundation comes from the book of Romans 1: 18 – 25. Although you may come from a biblical world view it is simple. Do not let anyone be the judge over God and His word, but remember that our example is Christ and it is with Christian love we approach the lost; not free love as they might have you believe.

As Christians we are constantly told that we have to prove that God exists so I will simply reverse the table and use the same weighted balance; prove that He doesn’t.  Theory and hypothesis do not count as fact or truth. Remember that the Laws of Nature are used by science which also agrees with Laws of Logic, so just because I believe in something that cannot be considered tangible does not mean that I am the only one in the room that uses faith as my foundation.

Praise and Glory to God as He continues to use those who know Him and those who claim otherwise – All for His Glory!

“Our Public Testimony”

Today I saw something that made me think of the status of Christians everywhere.  I witnessed a young lady sit down to eat a meal at a public eatery and before she ate any food she bowed her head and folded her hands.  I am assuming that she was thanking God for her food, but it also seemed as though she was trying to hide the fact that she was praying.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t always thank God for my meals when at the table, but I do thank Him at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day.  My practice may not be in with the best discipline, but I do thank God nonetheless. So, again, I am not without fault here.

What I would like to point out concerning how we conduct ourselves as Christians in public.  Starting with what the Bible says we are to never deny Christ or He will deny us; (Matthew 10: 32 – 33) 32. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

As we are human and prone to forgetting things I find it fortunate that through the grace of God we have Jesus Christ and the ability to ask for forgiveness, along with the ability to pick up the Bible and remind ourselves of what Christ actually said.  So being my own worst critic and quick to be hard on myself when I don’t do the things I should, I love the fact that God has a way of reminding us of what is important and that sometimes He doesn’t work in mysterious ways to keep us on track with our physical and spiritual life.

When it comes to our confession of faith in Jesus Christ we should only fear a few things; God, something that can destroy both the body and soul, and offending the Holy Spirit.  Nowhere in that list does it say to fear another human being.  In my own experience if someone is offended it is because they are trying to suppress the truth of God and are feeling conviction from God and instead of agreeing to or complying with it, they become angry or “offended”.

So to give a bit of a warning; if you happen to see me or another Christian praying prior to eating their meal, maybe as a Christian approach us and let us know that we did the right thing; everyone can use a dose of support from other Christians.  If you are not a Christian, then maybe take the time to ask the person why they pray; you might be surprised by what you hear.

Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and in this truth resides the living God that we glorify in all that we do.

Praise God!!!

 

 

“A Piece of My Heart They Shall Forever Have”

Many of us have walked through stores and seen employees who live with limitations and must work harder than anyone else in the store to come up to what most of us consider normal or average.

For some people it is a momentary passing and a fleeting thought that appears or some of us think of how good it is that they are working and trying to be part of society and not a burden.  And then there those of us who either know are a family member to them.

For me as a father of a young adult with limitations, not only do I have thoughts into their trials in life, it is my heart that pulls so hard that it could come out of my chest because of the love I have for all of them.

I want to be their knight, their crusader, and their shield.  But there are also times I wish to carry their sword.  These can be one of the toughest times for a Christian when we have to choose between forgiveness and correction for those who forget that people with limitations are not to be discriminated against.  We are our brother’s keeper and must know that for those who cannot always speak for themselves we must.

If it were not an important issue we would not have laws in this country to protect those who are not able to do for themselves the things we take for granted every day.  There is a reason the laws God gave, Moses communicated and Jesus fulfilled were created and they were for the good of all humans, not just for a privileged few.  I believe for us it is a matter of task that we try to take them seriously and not just let bad things happen without somehow enforcing them where possible.  If not the laws, then at least the idea they represent must somehow be presented.

So the next time we see a person with limitations working in the stores we frequent, take a moment, tell them they are appreciated and are doing a great job.  Know that they are always giving their best, just as we should always give them ours.