There is a topic that has been weighing heavy on my heart for a long time. I have lightly addressed it in past columns like ‘Selling Jesus’, but, have never boldly spoken about it outright. That changes now.
You see, a few weeks ago, Pamela, one of our beloved sisters-in-law, passed away in her sleep. It was completely unexpected and heartbreaking to say the least. Pam and Richard were married a month before my husband and I, and we could not imagine the heartache Richard is dealing with.
We gathered together as a family for her funeral in Georgia where we all mourned her death and celebrated her life. Pamela was the best biscuit maker in the family, heck, possibly in the world. She loved her children, husband, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with the heat of a thousand Suns. Sang country songs on car rides and loved jewelry. She wasn’t complicated or controversial. Pam was just a small town southern lady who loved God and her family. She was loved and she gave love. In that, she was very rich.
When it came time to say goodbye and we walked up to her casket, you could not help but notice that the jewelry she loved to wear was all but missing. What remained was a wedding ring and a newly bought mother’s necklace. I understand that people do not usually bury their loved ones with lots of expensive things so it was not unusual to see that Pam’s jewelry was minimal.
However, she did have one very valuable item with her and it caught everyone’s attention.
In her hand lay a white paper napkin, the kind you get at a restaurant. Except on it was written an expression of love and devotion from her husband, Richard.
My husband, John and I talked about the napkin and the beautiful words on it when we were alone in our hotel room. We wondered if it was written after Pam passed away or before.
At the bottom of the napkin it said, “Over——>” with a line and arrow pointing to the back, but we did not dare turn the napkin over to read what it said on the back.
However, everyone was talking about the napkin and someone was curious enough to turn the napkin over where it stated the date. Apparently, this love letter was written in 2018. A pretty long time to save a simple white paper napkin, if you ask me. Except it wasn’t so simple after all.
Which brings me to the topic I alluded to earlier.
I am down right angry and frustrated at the mean spirited nature of the world right now. Seriously, I am nauseated by it. Everyone has something mean to say or some way to poke fun at others. Social media is the worst, but, what has brought me to my boiling point is this meanness seems to be infiltrating certain pastors.
Maybe, it has been this way for a while and I am just now noticing it, but these particular pastors seem to pander to their ego and not to the love Christ spoke about.
For instance, there are two pastors I have followed on social media that I would consider prosperity preachers. Something I find slightly contradictory to Christ teachings.
While I don’t believe Christ wants us to be poor, he also does not want us to worship things of this world. When the focus becomes more on prosperity preaching and less about helping our fellow man, we have tilted the teachings of Christ to suit our needs and ego, but that is just my humble opinion.
These two men have used their time to poke as much fun as they can at people who have chosen to get vaccinated. Even making videos mocking them for doing so. They actually spend most of their valuable time preaching to their followers using this mocking technique about various topics. This is not about the vaccine. Right now the vaccine is just the flavor of the month. Tell me if I am wrong, but I never read where Christ mocked people to make a point or get his message across.
It has really been bothering me. Their words and actions are so arrogant and far from the love Christ shows that I have been in prayer about dealing with it for several months. Praying for clarity; praying for wisdom; and ultimately, praying for guidance.
An answer to my prayer
Then the funeral came and with the simple white paper napkin it all became crystal clear to me.
This is what was revealed to me.
Everything is useful in some way. A simple paper napkin is excellent at wiping your mouth when you have eaten something messy. Only to be thrown away.
However, you can make that napkin more valuable simply by expressing true love on it. It has become far more valuable than one could ever imagine. Something that is cherished forever,
Words can be used the same way. Using words to mock others may get a laugh or two from the people listening, and it will certainly fluff your own ego, but the spirit will not be nourished by mocking.
However, using your words to speak with love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding, will leave them written on the hearts of men forever.
Which paper napkin are you choosing to be? One that is discarded or one that is cherished.