Raise Every Ship

Story of the Day for Tuesday April 3, 2012

Raise Every Ship

                      Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:37

On September 21, 1989, in Southhampton, England, Steve Mc Carthy was knocking the stuffing out of Tony Wilson in a light-heavyweight boxing match.

In the third round, Wilson collapsed and barely managed to stagger to his feet by the count of eight. McCarthy then pinned Wilson against the ropes and the referee stepped in intending to stop the fight and award McCarthy a TKO.

But then Tony Wilson’s mother climbed into the ring and, with one of her stiletto high heels, smacked McCarthy a couple of good ones on the back of the head.

The fight was stopped while officials escorted Tony’s mother out of the ring. When the ref signaled for the fight to resume, McCarthy was unable to continue. Dazed, and with a nasty gash on the back of his head, he was led away to the hospital.

According to the rules, the referee, Adrian Morgan, had no choice but to hold Tony Wilson’s arm high in the air and declare him the winner.

No one questions the intense love Mrs. Wilson harbors for her son. But, is it possible to love someone too much?

Absolutely.

The problem isn’t the intensity of our love for someone, but clinging to a love disproportionate to a higher devotion. When the Lord becomes our highest love, oddly enough, our love for parents, spouse, or children is not lessoned, but enhanced.

Love itself isn’t the problem. We can love anything — our country, our family, our race. But when we hold to any of these loves with a misplaced fervor it produces jingoism, the Hatfields and the McCoys, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Ask Steve McCarthy, as he stumbled out of the hospital with stitches in his scalp and the loser’s paycheck, how much he appreciated Mrs. Wilson’s undying love for her son. When love becomes disproportionate to devotion to God, injustice always results; every benefit we bestow on a loved one causes someone else to suffer.

But at least Tony benefitted from his mother’s love, right?

Not exactly. After Tony was declared the winner, the fans were furious and Tony received death threats.

And it got worse. Tony could never live down the taunts. “Hey, Tony, is your mummy going to step in and help you win this fight for you, too?”

Tony will always know his mother loves him. But as he looks back at his dream to win the light-heavyweight championship, he may have wished she hadn’t have loved him quite so much.

When we learn the life of Jesus, love becomes a rising tide that raises every ship.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Palm Sunday When…Things Happened

Story of the Day for Monday April 2, 2012

This story actually happened a year ago on Palm Sunday…but since it is so fitting for this Holy Week, and because the techy person believes it is so good, climbinghigher.org is reposting for your enjoyment.

The Palm Sunday When….Things Happened

                 The people were absolutely amazed at Jesus. “He has done everything well.”

Mark 7:37

Last Sunday was the most joyous Palm Sunday celebration I have known, and most everything went wrong.

We drove to church early because there was so much to get ready. After unloading the van I discovered it wouldn’t start. Wayne and I surveyed the situation and tried to think of something insightful, but neither of us were great mechanics. Soon, the reinforcements arrived and I excused myself to go inside and prepare for the service.

My wife was handing out large palm branches to all the kids. At the beginning of the worship service, they would walk in from the back of the church – waving palm branches and singing a song that Mary Ann composed for the occasion.

As soon as the palm branches were handed out, my ten-year-old daughter and her friend, Kyoti, sensing the importance of setting a good example for the little beaners, immediately started thrashing each other with their palms.

The Palm Branch Incident of 2011 was brought to a premature conclusion, and when order was restored, my wife used the moment to clarify palm branch protocol.

“Now,” my wife asked the kids, “what are your palm branches to be used for? Do we use them to whack each other and bother the person sitting in front of you?”

The littlest ones shouted in unison, “YES!!!”

Palm Sunday was turning out to be far more exciting than they had imagined.

Outside, Robert brought a donkey and a colt, the foal of a donkey, for the kids.

I went down to the basement, late, for Bible study. So late, in fact, that we decided to rehearse the hymns instead. But, so many adults were poking their heads out the window to watch the kids with the donkeys, that we no longer had a quorum of attentive hearts.

We called it a day for the Bible study (in which we never opened a Bible) and I rushed upstairs to go over the service and my sermon one last time. But soon, the kids thundered in and the little ones spotted me in the office. They knew you weren’t supposed to hit people with palm branches, but recalling no rule against holding branches over someone’s head, they did just that. The office was crammed with giggly little girls trying to hide me under a palm branch canopy, and if I wasn’t having so much fun, I would’ve added this to the list of things you shouldn’t do with your palm branch.

One of the musicians left her music at home so the special music was postponed until later while her husband drove home to retrieve it. I wrote the opening hymn in the wrong key and had to do a little mental calculating.

I used to think a Sunday would come along in which everything went right. I’m no longer that naïve. But I really don’t care. The thing that matters most is not that we get things perfect, but that we learn to focus on the One who does all things well.
                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)