The barber I go to is a ‘far-cry’ from the others I have had in my life. I remember the first time I had a shave and a hair-cut, after moving to Florida in 1972, by a ‘up-scale’ place in Castleberry (a new Jr. Executive housing area) and was shocked to see Playboy’s latest ‘Pin-up’ on the ceiling. I thought it was quite Avant garde; very pleasing to the eye, and risqué. Today, you can see more on Victoria’s ads.
My present barber, John, is a Christian man, he is a big old boy that could go bear hunting with a knife; but, he also sells and trades guns in his shop. He has a Display case filled with knives he sells and trades, and up-scale Fishing-lures he makes and some of his customers make and leave for him to sell or barter. He was guard at the County Jail before he made barbering his life’s work. My wife makes Christmas cookies for friends and he always gets a few.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14
What is it about commitment that makes Pilgrims cringe? I know Atheists have decided commitment for marriage isn’t any longer a necessity, and their model is now becoming the ‘First-choice’ in America…as bastard children are littering its landscape…and the Creator is weeping; but, in its essence, what is so challenging about one deciding to make a commitment…about anything?
I wonder how many times a week Pilgrims make a ‘silent’ commitment concerning their lives? I’m not going to lose my temper and swear; I’m not going to bring my job problems home; I’m not going to feel disgust when my kids want one more minute of my time; I’m going to shower my spouse with TLC…at least once a week; When I arrive home I’m going to pitch-in and help rather than seek ‘safe-harbor’ for my sanity; I’m going to be sensitive and cognizant the underwear on the floor is mine; the family will prepare for worship on Saturday night; and you can add a zillion other failed ‘commitments’.
Perhaps, Pilgrims fail to make commitments because we can’t stand the ugly trauma of knowing we are too weak (spirit is willing; the flesh is weak) to make a dent in a change we deem worthy of our concentrated efforts. If we try and fail, it reveals what we already know too well: desire wans when the prize moves farther away. You do know this is the very same thing that happens with our personal relationship with Christ…right? The question for all Pilgrims: when the relationship wans, who moved the goal?
How does a Pilgrim decide to make a commitment? On the spiritual side: a hunger to know more about the Creator and his only son, Jesus Christ. How can this happen? I suggest you commune with the Universe and dig deeper into the holy word of God; and a desire to use biblical knowledge in a way that you overcome your reticence to be a bold witness. On the flesh side: You’ve finally agreed that Satan has messed up your life: i.e. He wants you fleshy, flabby, and encased in fat, and your appearance remits tiny messages…about a thousand times a day, you are inadequate. The entire corporate world reinforces this outcome as billions of dollars are spent on advertising how one can be slim and more desirable. Our Nanny-gate government can legislate it is against the law to discriminate and will punish offenders, but it changes nothing about the absolute known qualifiers the ‘real world’ uses to function. Discipline is a word few truly understand its meaning. Jesus certainly did! Any commitment one makes will never get off the ‘Runway’ without discipline. Excellence in anything will never be produced without discipline. Encased in discipline is bogey-man items that scare the ‘you know what’ out of us. Truth rather than flattery, personal integrity rather than ‘feel-good’ Pablum, love of sweat rather than comfortable sloth, embracing discomfort rather than chasing ease, and all Pilgrims can write a descriptive narrative to fit their own lack of discipline that would draw you nigh to Jesus.
John’s gospel, sixth chapter, records the D. I’s (Drill Instructor) talk to the recruits (Jesus talks ‘turkey’ to his disciples) about what is expected of them if they are going to be worthy of the Mission Charge. Most of the followers go A.W.O.L. and return home with their Dishonorable Discharge in hand. Even those who stayed questioned the necessity for the arduous task he gave them: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
John, the Barber, not the Disciple, told me he weighs just this side of a very large pig’s hind quarter: ( my description) two-forty-three. He has made a commitment to lose as much weight as he can before October first. The reason you ask? He has a much shorter and plumper client; he weighs two-hundred and seventy-three pounds, and each one bet that he could lose more weight before October: the loser has to shave his head. I haven’t seen his opponent; but, John has one of the largest heads God ever put on a man’s shoulders. I fear if he loses, his wife might have grounds for divorce: there must be an ‘Ugly man’s’ clause in those Marriage vows! I told John I would diligently search the Scriptures in case he lost the bet. My wife is interested in helping John: she is going to whip up a kettle of pickled Bees knees and take them to him.
Our little hamlet at the foot of the Smokey Mountains is suddenly becoming sophisticated: we are getting a Poppa John’s and a Little Caesar’s Pizza joints; and we have the new fancy, digital ad boards. Maybe our mayor has some new business venture up-his-sleeve and some gargantuan manufacture is coming to our area. This got me to thinking: If John losses the bet, I’m going to suggest John sell ad space on his shaved head.
John has put on his ‘Rocky’ shoes and persona. Hope he doesn’t get creamed by Apollo Creed’s commitment. This little Greek Tragedy that is being played-out reminds me that commitment is often easier to come-by if one’s embarrassment quotient is heightened. Perhaps, if Pilgrims considered their lack of commitment to Jesus an embarrassment, we’d see a lot more committed Pilgrims.
Pilgrims, I made a trip to the barber shop to see John and try to have a moment of quiet prayer for his commitment, sorry to report his competitor reneged on the bet and it has been called off. I suggested John continue with the commitment. He said he didn’t need to lose weight! Pilgrims, there is a biblical lesson in this fiasco: Our commitment to Christ is often just as fickle
On a personal note, please pray for old Doc as my life is running full bore…and I’m aware at least two spark plugs are acting up. I have been having major back problems: MRI shows the end of my spine should be 14 MM; it is a 9…and that doesn’t leave much room for all those ‘tingly’ nerves and other things I don’t know a thing about, to work. I think my next doctor’s appointment is a Neurosurgeon. I have also been suffering unexplained spells that have given me great weakness, a sense of dizziness, and vision that sees white for a few seconds. I suffered my fourth spell in ten days, yesterday. I hurried to E.R. and they checked everything from a brain scan to finding delight is ‘playing Dracula’: the told me I’m in remarkably good health. This didn’t have an answer for my sudden ‘funny’ spells. I’ve lost 16 pounds since January; I haven’t varied five pounds since my basketball days in college. They suggested I seek the answer ‘down-south: Prostate and Colon check-up.
On a second front, I’m launching the publishing of two new books next month. Please pray for me that the Lord will lead my stories to new levels of success I haven’t known, and that the books biblical message will reach millions of people around the globe. If Pilgrims are interested in helping me reach this goal, you can read more on my website: www.ogradypublishingcompany.com . You can get signed copies from me; you can download from Kindle, or buy from Amazon. You also can use PayPal.
O’Grady Publishing Company
364 Eagle Creek Dr.
Monticello, Ky. 42633