In 1991, famed British guitarist Eric Clapton was stricken with grief when his 4-year-old son Conor died as a result of a fall from an apartment window. Looking for an outlet for his grief, Clapton penned perhaps his most poignant ballad: “Tears In Heaven.” It seems that every note weighs heavy with the sense of pain and loss that can be understood only by a parent who has lost a child.
Sometimes the Christian life boils down to the uncommon expression of common virtues. For example, you would expect that people indwelt by the Spirit of love would be friendly. What a difference practicing that virtue would make in society!
One mark of a good salesperson is a thorough knowledge of his product. He knows the materials from which it is made. He understands its capabilities. He studies the advantages it will bring to the consumer. And he can answer his customers’ questions. The vendor who doesn’t know his product will not get the sales.
From the time that Joseph Dixon (1827-1869) began producing the pencil during the US Civil War, the only substantial change in its design has been the addition of an eraser. Consider for a moment this unique little writing stick. At one end is a hard black point and at the other a small rubber tip. This simple instrument can be used to scribble, sketch, compute complicated formulas, or compose lofty poetry. But it can also quickly correct an error, change a figure, or start all over.
One of life’s most distressing experiences is being separated from the things and the people we love. It is often difficult to leave a house that holds many pleasant memories, and it is always hard to say goodbye to loved ones when we must leave them.
Prosperity and adversity are equal-opportunity destroyers. The extremes of life can be hazardous because a person with too much may encounter as much difficulty as one with too little.
An old adage says: “Next time you want a cupcake, eat a carrot.” The saying is good advice for dieters, but those who framed it may have had all of us in mind. By disciplining our desires when no moral principle is at stake, we prepare ourselves for those moments when we face a temptation to sin.
As a young pastor, I served a fledgling new congregation that included my parents. My father was very active in the church’s “people ministries”—evangelism, hospital and nursing-home visitation, bus ministry, relief for the poor, and more. Although he had never been formally trained in ministry, Dad had a natural ability to connect with people who were in the midst of hard times. That was his passion—the downtrodden people who are often overlooked. In fact, on the day he died, my last conversation with him was about someone he had promised to call on. He was concerned that his promise be kept.