13 August 2017

posted 11 Aug 2017, 22:20 by C S Paul
13 August 2017

Quotes to Inspire 
  • "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." – Benjamin Franklin
  • "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." – John Quincy Adams
  • "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." – Author Unknown
  • "Your attitude determines your altitude!" – Denis Waitle
  • "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." – Albert Einstein
  • "The church exists by mission, as fire exists by burning." – Emil Brunner
  • "It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand." – Madeleine L'Engle
  • "A great attitude does much more than turn on the light in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before we changed." – Earl Nightingale

Ragman

by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.

Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.

Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: “Rags!” Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.

“Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!”

“Now, this is a wonder,” I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?

I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.

The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.

“Give me your rag,” he said so gently, “and I’ll give you another.”

He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.

Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he put her stained handkerchief to his own face; and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.

“This IS a wonder,” I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.

“Rags! Rags! New rags for old!”

In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.

Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.

“Give me your rag,” he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, “and I’ll give you mine.”

The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood – his own!

“Rags! Rags! I take old rags!” cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.

The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry.

“Are you going to work?” he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.

The Ragman pressed him: “Do you have a job?”

“Are you crazy?” sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket – flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.

“So,” said the Ragman. “Give me your jacket, and I’ll give you mine.”

Such quiet authority in his voice!

The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman – and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman’s arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.

“Go to work,” he said.

After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, and old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.

And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider’s legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.

I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.

The little old Ragman – he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.

Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope – because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.

I did not know – how could I know? – that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.

But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.

Light – pure, hard, demanding light – slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.

Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: “Dress me.”

He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!

A sea captain’s prayer

There is a story of about a sea captain who in his retirement skippered a boat taking day-trippers to Shetland Islands. On one trip, the boat was full of young people. They laughed at the old captain when they saw him say a prayer before sailing out, because the day was fine and the sea was calm.

However they weren’t long at sea when a storm suddenly blew up and the boat began to pitch violently. The terrified passengers came to the captain and asked him to join them in prayer. But he replied,  ”I say my prayers when it’s calm. When it’s rough I attend to my ship!”

Is there a lesson for us, here?

If we cannot seek God in quiet moments of our lives, we are not likely to find Him when trouble strikes. We are more likely to panic. But if we have learnt to seek Him and trust Him in quiet moments, then most certainly we will find Him when the going gets rough.

Happiness

An anonymous friar in a monastery once wrote these words: "If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of very few things I would take seriously. I would take more trips. I would be crazier. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. You see, I'm one of the people who lives life prophylactically and sensibly hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I've been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over again I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hockey more. I wouldn't make such good grades, except by accident. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I'd pick more daisies."

    — Pastor's Professional Research Service, "Happiness."

      Cited by David Leininger, "Ask the Average Person." 

Live and Work

Author Unknown

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.


The Most Important Job in the World

adapted by James Moore

Dr. Tony Campolo is a well-known and highly-respected, inspirational speaker. Over the last several years, Tony Campolo has spent much of his time traveling around the world on speaking tours.

Meanwhile, his wife, Peggy, has chosen to stay home and give herself and all that she has to the "Bringing Up" of their two children, Bart and Lisa. On those rare occasions when Peggy does travel with Tony, she finds herself engaged in conversations with some of the most accomplished, impressive, influential, sophisticated people in the world.

After one such trip, Peggy told Tony that sometimes as she visits with these powerful people… she finds herself feeling intimidated and sometimes even questioning her own self-worth. Tony said to her: "Well, honey, why don't you come up with something you could say when you meet people that will let them know that you strongly value what you do and you feel that it is dramatically, urgent and crucial and important.

Well, not long after that, Tony and Peggy Campolo were at a party… when a woman said to Peggy in a rather condescending tone, "Well, my dear, what do you do?" Tony Campolo heard his wife say:

"I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God envisioned from the beginning of time."

And the other woman said:

"O, my, I'm just a lawyer."

I like that story because it reminds us that there are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother.

Did you know ?

  • A whole library floor of books can be stored on 50 Gigabytes.  
  • A wind with a speed of 74 miles or more is designated a hurricane.  
  • A women's heart beats faster than men.  
  • A woodchuck only breathes 10 times during hibernation.  
  • A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.
  • A two-inch garden hose will carry four times as much water as a one-inch hose. 
  • A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime. 
  • A typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites. 
  • A typical lightning bolt is two to four inches wide and two miles long.  
  • A vexillologist is an expert in the history of flags 
  • A volcano can shoot its debris as high as 50km into the sky. 
  • A vulture will never attack a human or animal that is moving. 
  • A whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound. 

Just for Laughs

Stolen coat

After a morning service, one church elder came rushing in to see the Vicar.

"Reverend!" he blurted, "My overcoat's been pinched from the vestry!"

"Wonderful news!" replied the Vicar. "We've had some sinners in at last!" 

I AIN'T AFRAID

One Sunday morning, everyone in a bright, beautiful, tiny town got up early and went to the local church. Before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking about their lives, their families, etc. 

Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. 

Soon everyone was evacuated from the church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, "Don't you know who I am?" 

The man replied, "Yep, sure do." 

Satan asked, "Aren't you afraid of me?" 

"Nope, sure ain't," said the man. 

Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, "Why aren't you afraid of me?"

The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for over 48 years." 

Comments