The Fellow Who Started Fast and Fell On His Nose

When I was a little tyke I heard a story that I loved—the race between the tortoise and the hare (that’s a turtle and a rabbit if you’re not too literary).

I think they even did a Bugs Bunny cartoon about it.

The rabbit explodes off the starting line leaving the poor old turtle struggling along in a dust cloud.

Old Bugs gets so far ahead that he knows he’s got plenty of time to finish so he decides a little siesta is in order.While he’s putting up zzzzzzzzzzzz’s the turtle rumbles slowly by and wins the race. The rabbit awakes just in time to realize his mistake, but even though he streaks to the finish line, the steady turtle still beats him.

I never liked turtles.

My favorite football team played a game like that recently. Way ahead at the half, they must have decided to take the second half off, because the other team played like my team wasn’t there and eked out a win. My heart was broken.

Speedy King

I even saw a speedy king in the Bible who won his race but was staggering at the end.

Few other kings in the Bible started out like Hezekiah. He also finished with a report card that few others could match. Continue reading

How To Stop the Ugly Spiral and Get Better Looking

We preached for a couple of churches in the North of France this weekend. They were together having an outing, so after putting some sausages and fries into the ministry, I settled into a reasonably comfortable spot in the shade to watch the soccer game.

At church outings, there is a mandatory sporting event so that the men can strut their stuff. My stuff is mostly strutted out because of a gimpy knee (and 65 years of walking on it). In some countries the sport is softball or touch football, maybe even volleyball.

In France of course it’s soccer.

I must admit that I was impressed by some of the middle-aged guys. They were no longer young, their belts were stretching to try to hold in the extra pounds around their middle and their aging heads were full of graying, gray, or disappearing hair.

They started out well and at times amazed me with their abilities. 

The game was divided into three parts for the older players:  first twenty minutes or so–“flashes from the past,” you could imagine that at one time they weren’t bad as they rumbled around shooting and passing and telling themselves that they still had it; second twenty minutes—“reminders of the present,” here the match slows down considerably and reality sets in; third twenty minutes—“flashes from the old folks home,” a vision of the future.

“Is it time for desert yet?”

Another twenty minutes and we could have called the undertaker for some of them. I imagine there was quite of chorus of, “I told you!” from their wives on Monday morning.

Folks, whether we like it or not, this thing isn’t heading in a good direction.

The tiny baby makes us smile. (Notice, I didn’t say “beautiful baby.” Look at the kid! No hair, no teeth, all red and wailing. Everyone says he’s the spitting image of his daddy). I will admit that he is kind of sweet.

This little guy becomes the cute kid and she then morphs into the eye-catching teenager.

Somewhere though, gray hairs begin to sprout like green grass in Spring and hairdressers get rich making blonds out of grays. Pounds pile on, cholesterol shoots up and you look up the road a couple of years at the people a bit older than you and realize that it’s not going to get better.

We’re all going to seed.

It’s actually worse than that. One day I was reflecting and I realized something. I loved my grandparents but it’s almost like you have to cash them in to get your children.

Then you trade your parents for your grandchildren.

Then came a sobering thought: One of these days my grandkids are going to trade me in too! “C’mon guys, no! I’m papa, remember those ice-cream cones?” Continue reading