January 23, 2010

Forgiving Those Who Trespass Against Us

One of my heroes is Dwight David Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth president of the United States and the supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe in World War II.

When I was a young college administrator in 1963, I had the opportunity and the honor to speak privately with Ike for about an hour and a half, and despite his fame, I found him to be unpretentious and without vanity or affectation.

My respect for him reached another level when I read an excerpt from his book, At Ease; Stories I Tell to my Friends. It was there I learned that Eisenhower “made it a practice to avoid hating anyone.”

If someone offended him, he wrote the name on a slip of paper and dropped it into a bottom desk drawer. Then he would say to himself, “That finishes the incident and, as far as I am concerned, that person.”

I experienced a variation of Ike’s method of dealing with difficult people in a sermon in which the pastor invited each member of the congregation to write the name of someone who offended that person on a slip of paper. Then the slips were collected and burned.

As with Eisenhower’s approach, the intended result is that offenses against those who participated were forgotten.

My own advice is to forget those who offended you, because while you fret and fume about what they did, they are enjoying themselves shopping, playing golf or visiting Disney World.

From Proverbs, we read:

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

January 8, 2010

What Motivates You?

A seminary professor asked her students to write a sermon, and when the assignment was completed, one of the class members received a D for his effort. A note on the document indicated the message was creative, but the title lacked appeal.

The student was given twenty-four hours to come up with a better title. The professor said, “imagine a bus load of people have stopped in front of your church, and when they see the sermon title on the bulletin board, what will motivate them to get off the bus and run into your church?”

The student’s grade was changed when he offered his new title which read, “There’s a bomb on your bus.”

Fear, ambition, money, pride, revenge and the thrill of competition may motivate some people at one time or another, but, friends, I suggest the greatest motivator of all is love.

Author Joe Vitle says, “People will scale mountains with luggage on their backs, swim upstream in a hurricane and battle armies and all odds to fulfill that hard-wired emotion in us to love and be loved. Love rules.”

It is certain that love rules in Christian living, and those who love the Lord reach out to minister, support and sustain others in need, all in a spirit of service and a desire to make a difference.

What is it that motivates you?