What Others Say

I always enjoy your Saturday columns in the "Trib". The one today was particularly good, thank you for writing it.

Gary J. - MacGregor, TX

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Resurrection Body


I took off my gloves the other day and laid them on the kitchen cabinet.  I had been outside watching the sun rise, as is my habit, even though the temperature was in the teens.  I have had these gloves a long time, several years.

When I went back to put them on again, I saw them lying there, limp and useless.  They still held the form of my hands, the fingers slightly curved. The thumb in place to grasp something, but they were empty, wrinkled and worn with use.

 My gloves reminded me of my body.  The day will come when I will put off this body that has served me for seven decades.  Like my gloves, my body was once young and new, without wrinkle, elastic, unscarred.  But over the years it has grown old.  My body groans when it moves, becomes stiff when I sit in one position too long.  It aches. Putting on my socks has become an exercise in calisthenics.

When I die I will put off this body like I pull off my gloves when I come in from the cold.  It will still hold something of my shape.  But it will no longer be me, any more than my gloves are me.  When my hand occupies my glove it can move and grasp things. The glove is filled with my life.  Likewise my body is filled with me while I still live.  But, someday, I will lay it down. 

According to Scripture, I will eventually put on a new body, just as I can place my hands in a new pair of gloves.  The Bible has a lot to say about this, especially in 1 Corinthians 15. “It is sown [a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” 

When my mother was dying we talked about heaven.  She was 89 years old.  Her body had withered away.  Her back was bowed with osteoporosis.  Her vision was failing.  She had suffered a series of mini-strokes.  She had difficulty walking.  When she was a young girl she was athletic, a beautiful fast runner. She won ribbons in track.  We talked about how she would run again, the wind in her hair, flying through the meadow as she did when she was growing up on the farm.

There’s a lot I don’t know about Heaven.  What kind of bodies will we have when we get there?  Will our heavenly bodies resemble our earthly bodies?  Will we have different ethnicities, different skin color and racial features?  Will we all look the same?   Maybe we will know other in a different way, more spiritual and intuitive than visual.  From what I know of God in this world, I would have to assume there will be variety … lots of variety … even more than we see on earth. But all prejudice and pride will vanish. 

1 John 1:3-2 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Investments


Everyone, it seems, is thinking about investments, especially since the stock market started December with its worst performance since the Great Depression.  When I was young, I didn’t think much about the stock market.  It seemed far removed from my day-to-day concerns.  After all, I had nothing to invest. 

When I asked my wife to marry me I was making $40 per month.  Surprisingly, she said yes.  Of course a gallon of gas cost 32 cents, 28 if you found it on sale.  Our biggest financial concern when we married was how many ways we could eat a chicken.  First she fried it, then we ate chicken salad, and finally she cooked chicken and dumplings.  It is surprising how many ways and how many times you can eat a chicken when you are broke.

But across the years we invested in annuities for our retirement.  I am glad we did.  And now a portion of those savings are invested in stocks.  So, I pay attention when the stock market goes into a swoon like it has the last three months. I try to remind myself I need to think in the long term, which is harder to do the older I get. The years are running out.

Benjamin Franklin understood the power of investments.  When he died in 1790 he left $5,000 to each of his favorite cities, Boston and Philadelphia with the stipulation that the money be invested and the interest compounded for 200 years. By 1990 the initial investment had grown to $20 million. As Franklin said, “Money makes money, and the money that money makes, makes money.”

Jesus used this metaphor to remind us of the importance of investing our lives in the right things. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the story of a wealthy man who asks three servants to manage portions of his money. To one he gives $5,000, to another $2,000 and to the third $1,000.  After a time he asks each to account for their management.  The first doubled the $5,000 and returned $10,000.  The second doubled the $2,000 and returned $4,000.  But the third buried his $1,000 because he was afraid he might lose it.  He returned the $1,000 he had been given.  The master was furious because the third servant did not invest anything. 

Of course Jesus was never concerned about money.  But he was deeply concerned about the way we invest our lives. 

Clint Eastwood’s new movie, The Mule, was released into theaters December 14.  Eastwood plays the part of Earl Stone who, late in life, is estranged from his family because he chose to invest his time in his career and hobbies rather than his relationships.  The movie is based on the life of Leo Sharp, a WW II veteran who became a renowned horticulturalist in day lilies before becoming a drug courier in his 80s.

We all have choices. Whether we have financial investments or not, we are responsible for our time and resources.  As we look forward to 2019 we need to ask ourselves the question, “What investments will I make in the lives of those I love and the world around me?”