Do you remember in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, Wonka would get something wrong and then he’d say: “Strike that! Reverse it”? I’d like to give certain quotes the same treatment. Take this one as an example:
“You’re so heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly use!”
I would argue that those who are heavenly-minded are of far more earthly use. Heavenly-minded people examine their lives. They look at what they do and ask: Does this have eternal value?
“Preach the gospel and where necessary, use words.”
When I was growing up, the philosophy was that there were two things you didn’t talk about at dinner parties: Politics and religion. Your beliefs were to be kept private, but faith in Jesus is more than a religion – it’s a crucial part of my life. If God comes first and my loved ones come second to Him, asking me to keep quiet about my faith is like asking a newlywed not to talk about their spouse; it doesn’t work.
I can understand that people don’t want to make a great speech but leave their hearers still in need, and the Bible supports this: “A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person, ‘God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,’ but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing” (James 2:15-16). We don’t want our words to be worth nothing, but meeting people’s needs should never be a substitute for telling the good news of Jesus and His love that invites us into a relationship with God. Remember when that crowd of five thousand-plus stayed with Jesus so long that they were hungry? Why had they stayed? What were they doing? They were listening to Jesus talk to them about God! God’s Word came first and always will. Meet people’s physical needs if you’re able, but don’t neglect the spiritual. “Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Are there any quotes that you’d like to turn upside-down?
“There are no greener grasses, only different lawns” – Emily P. Freeman. This quote (from her book “A Million Little Ways”) is a good one when we’re tempted to think someone else is better than we are.
I don’t know whether Kim Hill will ever read this, but I must apologise to her if she does because when I first heard her voice, I didn’t know whether she was a man or a woman! And the name Kim wasn’t much of a giveaway either. Again with her it was difficult to choose a song, but this one was in my head this morning – one I’ve always liked.
Do you sometimes think it’s silly to follow your dreams because something’s bound to happen to derail them? Well, this is an invitation to ignore those fears and just live the best you can. There’s a quote one of my friends has on her Facebook profile. I don’t know where it came from, but we both love it. “Be realistic … demand the impossible.”
It’s the last assignment for Compassion Blog Month 2013, and this week the Compassion bloggers have been asked to think about a quote from Johnny Carr. Having pastored several churches and written a book on caring for orphans, he says:: “Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve.”
To be honest, I don’t find the quote particularly inspiring. I know I’ve shared this video more than once before on the blog, but it is good to think how far we’ve come in the last 30 years and that we, as a generation, could end poverty in our lifetime. For me, poverty is an issue to solve, and it’s also an opportunity. Johnny says ‘An opportunity to serve’, but I wish he’d chosen a different word there; I wish he’d said: ‘An opportunity to love’. Because service to my mind is work: Maybe waitressing in a restaurant, preparing a sermon or teaching a class of children, but the way Compassion tackles poverty is so much more than that.
Yes, they have tutors at their centres, but their focus is on the individual child – ‘Changing the world, one child at a time’ as the slogan says – ‘Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name’. Jesus is like that too. He spent hours talking to crowds of people, but what do we remember most about Him? We remember how He treated the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11), healed the blind man (John 9), and spoke respectfully of the woman who cried on His feet and dried them with her hair (Luke 7:44). We remember His focus on that life … or that life … or that life – one life at a time.
There’s an Amy Grant song I absolutely hate. Lyric-wise it’s probably one of the worst Christian songs I’ve heard. The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah sometimes? She’s basically saying God loves our honesty and brokenness more than our praise, but I don’t think that’s right. Because I think us honestly telling God how we feel should complement our hallelujahs, but never replace them. I remember hearing a friend say that when he felt down he would find things to praise God for, like a table or a chair or the roof over his head, and I think that’s what God loves – authentic praise; when things are going well, and in the midst of heartache.
When you reflect on someone’s limited time on this earth, you’re reminded of how important it is to take an extra-deep breath of fresh air and make the most of the time you’ve got. I was originally going to put this quote from Pope John Paul II under H for hallelujah, but it fits in well with ‘Zest for life’. “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
This time next week the A-Z challenge will be over. Are you joining in? How have you got on with it?
When I first started watching Formula One, it was commentated by Murray Walker. He was such a passionate commentator I’m sure he could have converted me to any sport, but Murray Walker and mistakes sort of go hand-in-hand. In fairness, it’s not always easy to tell which driver is which when they’re shooting past at a hundred miles an hour.
Sometimes he’d say something, and you could almost hear the cogs going round as he spotted the blip and tried to correct himself. For anyone who doesn’t know, there are two cars per team in a Formula One race, and so he came out with one of my favourites:
“This McLaren car is absolutely unique! Except for the one in front of it, which is identical.”
“We gave bread to the poor, but we did not ask sufficiently why the poor had no bread” – Bishop Kallistos Ware. I love this quote. In 2013, let’s not just throw food or money at the problem of poverty; let’s play our part in stamping out the root cause. Compassion do what they can to educate the children in their centres and get them into employment, to break the cycle of poverty. Trussell Trust food banks give food for so long, but also talk to clients and try to help them not to become dependent on a food bank. Those are just two of the organisations you could partner with. Will you do your bit?