It’s about time for some good news

Published 3:45 pm Monday, January 20, 2020

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By Charles Qualls

Maybe you’ve heard this before. It’s called “Life! A Perspective on Creation.” This is simply a fun legend. It goes like this.

On the first day, God created the dog and said: “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of 20 or so years.” The dog said: “That’s a long time to be barking. How about only 10 or so years and I’ll give you back the other 10?”

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said: “Entertain people, do tricks and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a 20-year life span.” The monkey said: “Monkey tricks for 20 years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back 10 like the Dog did?”

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said: “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of 60 years.” The cow said: “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for 60 years. How about 20 and I’ll give back the other 40?”

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you 20 years.” But man said: “Only 20 years? Could you possibly give me my 20, the 40 the cow gave back, the 10 the monkey gave back, and the 10 the dog gave back; that makes 80, OK?”

“Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”

So that is why for our first 20 years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next 40 years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next 10 years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last 10 years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life really is a lot about perspective, don’t you think? Perspective will not solve everything; it will not answer all of our questions. There are many forces of life that are beyond the reach of cognitive experience. But the older I get, the more I find true wisdom and perspective to be gifts from God.

Because of our annual Deacon ordination last week, I chose a particular lectionary scripture for my sermon. I came back to another one from that same Sunday for this week. Matthew 3:11-17 depicts Jesus’ baptism out in the wilderness. Our perspective never had to be the same again, because good news arrived in the form of a Savior.

One news provider has published its list of the Top 100 Stories of 2019. Among them we are reminded that 2019 brought the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Also a cheating scandal that was being much discussed at year’s end, and that in the last week has rocked Major League baseball. Speaking of cheating scandals, a widespread and organized College Admissions scam was unearthed with familiar names atop the list of those implicated. Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas, and the devastation was horrid to watch. Recovery is ongoing as so many were displaced.

More political headlines were made than one could shake a stick at in 2019. Mass shootings from Dayton, Ohio, to ChristChurch New Zealand happened. A terrorist attack on a church in Sri Lanka killed over 250.

Don’t you think it’s about time for some good news?

Oh, I don’t have the kind of good news that’s going to reverse everything bad that happened in the last year. But Jesus arrived and suddenly we began to gain perspective. John helped us to see that what he, John, was doing mattered in its time. Jesus had come to walk among men and women to see to the business of God that was and is of importance beyond the day.

Whatever day it has been for the 2,000 years since, he was here for that day and beyond. In Jesus, we found One who is more powerful, but who has walked where we walk and has lived as we live, and has known our joys and our deepest sorrows. One who can bless us with things more eternal and more essential than the news headlines are normally want to even notice.

THE REV. DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.