Friendly Fire – Not so Friendly

Galatians 5:13-15 (14)

    The news reports flooded into the United States.  Pat Tillman the safety for the Arizona Cardinals who turned down a 3.6 million dollar contract in order to join the army following 9/11 made us proud to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  According to initial reports, this Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004 as he charged the enemy, saving the rest of his platoon.  In honor of his  heroism, Arizona Senator John McCain presented the Silver Star for Combat Valor and the Purple Heart to Tillman’s family.   

Then other news stories began to surface.  Our hero, Pat Tillman was not killed by enemy fire after all.  Instead there was a mine explosion that was mistaken for mortar attack.  Another group of Army Rangers saw Tillman and the four Afghan fighters who were in his group and thought they were the enemy.  When the smoke cleared, Tillman lay dead.  Three other American soldiers were wounded as well.  There were no enemy forces in the area.  He was killed by “friendly fire.”

Unfortunately friendly fire is too common among Christians.  Paul addressed this problem when he said that just because some Christians are not bound by the traditions of the elders, and the interpretation of the law that is specific to their congregation they should not feel free to condemn or criticize those who are still in this spiritual bondage.  Rather, the love of Christ should always be expressed by those who serve Him.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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Giving God’s Money

1 Cor. 16:1-5 (2)

R. G. LeTourneau, the Christian inventor, businessman and entrepreneur made his mark in the world in an unusual way.  His account chronicles a sixth grade dropout who went on to found a University.  In 1915, broke and discouraged after numerous failed attempts in life he went to his pastor, Rev. Devol for advice.  Expecting to be told that to be a totally committed Christian he would have to become a missionary or a pastor, he was surprised to hear his pastor saying something totally different.  Rev. Devol said, God needs business men too!”  From that day, R. G. LeTourneau considered his business to be a partnership with God.  Even though he was continually in debt he gave generously to the Lord’s work.   After the Great Depression, his business began to prosper and eventually he decided to give 90% of his income to God.  He liked to put it this way, “It’s not how much of my money I give to God, but how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”

When we come to realize that the penny that we are pinching is not really ours, but God’s, we will be less selfish in our economic practices and more generous in our benevolence.  When we come to realize that the dollar that we are stretching is not ours, but God’s, we be more careful of how it is spent and more free to give it to support the work of God.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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Great Enough to Bend the Knee

John 13:1-17 (5)

Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) took advantage of the possibilities post-civil war freedom offered.  He wrote five books, was an educator, orator and advisor to several US presidents.  He urged oppressed, discriminated, and disfranchised former slaves to avoid confrontation.  He argued instead, that the black people put their reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement among their people. 

One day he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Having never met Washington, she offered him a job making a few dollars chopping wood for her.  Washington smiled and accepted her offer to do the menial chore.  He chopped the wood, carried the logs into the house and stacked them by her fireplace.  At this time a young girl recognized him and told the wealthy lady who she had hired.

In embarrassment, the woman went to the Tuskegee Institute where he was the president.  She was ushered into his office and proceeded to apologize.  “It’s perfectly all right, Madam,” he replied. “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend.”  His gracious and humble spirit won her heart.  As a result she became a catalyst in his fund raising events for the college.

We laud great personalities who bend the knee in humility, but none can rival our Lord who left the throne of glory to robe Himself in flesh so that He could show us how to live a life that would be pleasing to God.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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