Andrew Young 3

Andrew Young, Jr. apologized to the crowd for sitting while he spoke. He said sitting would help his 83 year old knees as he talked to the folks gathered at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.

Andy (as he likes to be called) Young was one of the closest friends and co-workers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and gave leadership to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Andrew Young 2

Someone said, “At some point civil rights activists have to come in off the streets and get involved in politics.” And that is what he did when he was elected to the U.S. House of representatives in 1972 becoming the first African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. Later President Jimmy Carter named him as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and after leaving that post he was elected Mayor of Atlanta in 1981.

Before his political career Young was a pastor. After graduating from Hartford Theological Seminary he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 1955. That calling was very apparent when he used the words of the biblical prophet Micah as he spoke to the folks in church last Sunday. “What does God require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”

Andrew Young 6

The crowd gathered in the Peachtree Road United Methodist sanctuary heard stories from Young’s childhood in New Orleans and how his father taught him about honesty and respect. Reflecting on his time as ambassador he told a story about a meal of cornbread, field peas, corn on the cob, and fried chicken prepared by his mother-in-law from Alabama in the kitchen of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York  for the Chinese delegation to the U.N. . This was an example of his belief that “breaking bread together” helps to transcend our differences.

As a youngster, Andrew Young, Jr. was an athlete. Once on a trip with his parents to North Carolina he ran to the top of Kings Mountain. As he stood at the top of that mountain and viewed the surrounding beauty, he said he became aware of God’s presence in a very special way. When he came down from the mountain he had a definite sense that God had a purpose for his life. He did not understand what it was but from that day onward he tried to be faithful every day to God.

I don’t believe that everyone who follows God’s will and purpose for their life will have such extraordinary experiences as Andrew Young. But I am convinced that if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing today, we will be where God wants us to be whenever God has something else for us. And that is the exciting way of faith!

Lord, help us to faithfully follow You in all our ways every day!

Jamie Jenkins

Occasionally it is good to be in situations where you are a minority. In my career I grew accustomed to being with groups where the majority of folks were not of my gender. As I grew older I often found that senior adults were a minority. There were times when my profession was not equally represented in the demographic of a particular activity.

The county I live in is majority non-white and my small neighborhood is very diverse. But most of my life has been spent in situations where the majority of people were of my ethnicity. I realize this is not the case with many. Recently I have been reminded of that and experienced a bit of what it feels like to be in the minority.

My wife and I attended an 80th birthday party for a friend and we were two of five people in a crowd of 50 who were not African American. Although we were treated with respect and dignity, there was a sense that most of the people present had experienced life very differently from us simply because of their skin color.

Being a minority is not limited only to racial distinctions. A few weeks ago I attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Everyone there was caucasian/white/Anglo (it is often hard to know the politically correct term) but my wife and I have a different religious background. Although everyone present spoke English, our language was different. The structure of our separate religious organizational structures provided fodder for conversation and accented our differences. I found myself interpreting and explaining things that I said because they were so foreign to the others present.

Last weekend I was in California for my daughter’s birthday and we attended a baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco. As we waited for the ferry to carry us across the San Francisco Bay to the ballpark I could not miss the fact that just about everyone but my wife and me were wearing Giants apparel. Everybody but the two of us. And my Atlanta Braves cap made it more obvious that I was an outsider. It might have been because of the current sad state of the Braves team that everyone was courteous to me. Whatever the reason I was grateful.

I certainly do not pretend to know how it feels to be a racial minority. As a Christian in the United States I am sure I cannot fully understand what it is like to live where you are a part of a religious minority. There are other things that cause people to feel like they are mistreated or disrespected because they are a minority in that setting.

There are many instances in the Bible that makes it clear that God treats everyone the same and expects us to follow that example. I wish it was easy but it is not. I would like to say that I always treat people equally but I do not.

My recent experiences have reminded me that no one is an outsider. No one is less than any other one. We are all God’s special creation and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. God help me to see all people as Your children and treat them as my brothers and sisters.

Jamie Jenkins

Today is my first anniversary of my venture into the world of EVs. Electric vehicles have been around for a while but only recently have they become popular in the mass market world of automobile sales. Last year after considerable thought and research, I took the plunge and leased a Nissan Leaf.

My 2005 Kia Amanti had served me well but it had a lot of miles on it and I knew that I would probably have major maintenance and repair costs if I continued to drive all the time. I did not want another car payment but friends and things I read suggested that you could drive an EV for practically nothing.

In this blog 10 months ago I said, “I do not fit the demographic described above whether you consider age, income, or family. I am not often on the cutting edge of things. I am not a serious environmentalist and live a ‘green’ lifestyle. Nevertheless acquiring a Nissan Leaf seemed to be a good decision on all fronts.”

Now that I have 11,000 miles on my Leaf I thought I would update you on my experience.

Now to tell you how I feel after one year of driving my Nissan Leaf. Before signing the contract one year ago today, I considered four major issues: cost, safety, performance, comfort. Let me address each of these.

Cost: According to the Canadian National Campaign for Electric Vehicles, electric vehicles usually cost between 2 and 4 cents per mile to drive. Vehicles that have an internal combustion engine cost between four and six times as much. Electric cars have only a few hundred parts while gasoline-powered cars have a few thousand. This makes the maintenance cost of an electric car three times less than that of a gasoline car.

There is no transmission (drive train), radiator, or oil pump. Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars do not emit pollutants. Owning an electric vehicle also eliminates the need for smog inspections, cooling fluid replacement, oil changes and other types of maintenance. All of this reduces the cost of operating the vehicle.

Another way to address the expense of an EV against an ICE (internal combustion engine, aka gasoline powered vehicle) is to look at actual money spent to operate the car. I calculated the cost of the two-year including lease payments, insurance, tag, and subtracted the savings on gasoline and the state and federal rebates to determine what my out of pocket expenses would be.

The cost analysis concluded that it would cost me about $51 a month based on gasoline prices at the beginning of the lease and 12,000 miles annually. With the lower prices at the pump, I am probably paying about $81 a month. If I had opted for the base model that would have been reduced by about $50 monthly.

Safety: The car is equipped with side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, and antilock brakes. It is rated 4 or 5 stars in side and frontal  and side collision and roll over.

Performance: When I first got the car one of my friends said with a smirk, “I’ll blow the horn when I pass you on the expressway.” A Leaf owner posted the following on a Nissan website and it expresses my feeling very well. “People always seem to assume it’s like a go-cart or a Smart car when I tell them it’s an all electric. They are always surprised to hear it can go 70 MPH (or 80 or…) no problem and it’s got acceleration you wouldn’t believe. It’s fun taking the car out of ECO mode to show off to someone who has not ridden in my LEAF yet – they always get surprised that the car has that much power”

Comfort: It is not a big car but it is not a “tin can.” You can carry five passengers but that is a little tight. However, I was surprised how comfortable it is for four passengers.

It is equipped with a back up camera, navigation (which needs improvement), blue tooth, premium sound system, four heated seats, heated steering wheel, AC, auto door locks, power windows, multiple speed wipers, rear wiper, and cruise control. The ride is smooth and quiet and it holds the road very well.

I love driving the Leaf. The biggest drawback is the limitation of about 80 miles per charge. For the way I use it, that is not a problem. I drive it around town during the day, plug it in a 110 electrical outlet and it is ready the next morning. There are other more efficient ways to recharge the battery and there are other EVs that get better range than the Leaf, but they are more expensive and I do not need them.

Since the Leaf and other EVs produce zero emissions, they are very environmentally friendly. In this review I have not addressed that issue but it is certainly a positive factor that should not be overlooked.

What is the future of electric cars? One website answers that question in this manner: “It’s hard to tell where the future will take electric vehicles, but it’s clear they hold a lot of potential for creating a more sustainable future. If we transitioned all the light-duty vehicles in the U.S. to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles using our current technology mix, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 30-60 percent, while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by as much as 20 percent.”

I will conclude in the same way I finished my initial account of my Leaf experience. Someone said, “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” Every time I start my new car I am reminded that things once thought impossible are being accomplished every day all around us. That might be the best thing about my EV automobile.

A wise man of long ago said, “Whatever has happened—that’s what will happen again; whatever has occurred—that’s what will occur again. There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, CEB). That is true but often it takes a different shape and form.

Jamie Jenkins

P.S. If you are interested, you can read my summary of the history of electric vehicles below.

There is much discussion and uncertainly about when and where the electric car was invented. Evidence suggests that Robert Anderson developed the first crude electric carriage in Scotland in the 1830s. In 1890 a chemist from Des Moines, Iowa built the first successful car which was little more than an electrified wagon. It was not until the middle of the 20th century before the first practical EVs were built.

In the 1890s EVs which were assembled by hand outsold gasoline cars 10-1. The decline of EVs can be contributed to at least three factors: development of the motorized assembly line that allowed mass production of gasoline powered automobiles, the non-existent infrastructure for electricity outside city boundaries, and the addition of an electric motor (starter) to eliminate the hand crank method of starting the engine on a gasoline powered car.

In the late 1960s the OPEC oil embargo and concerns about air pollution sparked brought about a renewed interest in EVs. Then in the early 1990s, mainly due to California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Manadae, major automakers began producing a few EVs but this lasted only about 10 years.

Two events have been suggested as turning points in the development and sale of EVs. In 1997 the hybrid electric Toyota Prius was released in Japan and then worldwide in 2000, although Honda began selling the hybrid Insight one year earlier in the US.

The other event that helped reshape EVs came in 2006 when Tesla Motors announced they  would start producing a luxury electric sports car that could go more than 200 miles on a single charge.  Four  years later Tesla received at $465 million loan from the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office — a loan that Tesla repaid a full nine years early — to establish a manufacturing facility in California.

About 345,000 EVs have been sold in the United States since 2008 through June 2015. As of July 2015, there are over 20 different models available in the American market from 12 car manufacturers.

The following web addresses provide a more thorough account of the history of EVs.

I am not going to drive my car anymore. It is too dangerous. Too many distracted and careless drivers. Too many behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Too many carjackings. There have been 851 traffic fatalities on Georgia’s roads and I don’t want to be the next victim.

traffic 3

I love to travel but I am afraid to fly anymore. I know that statistics show that commercial airplanes are safer than automobiles, but every week you hear of another plane crash due to pilot error, bad weather, or mechanical failure.  Besides, I would have to take a car, train, or bus to get to the airport and that adds to the chances of an accident. Stories of suicide bombers and other terrorist activity are constantly in the news. I am going to stop traveling. It is just too dangerous.

delta plane

Worship and Bible study are very important but you run the risk that some mentally ill person with an agenda will show up with a gun. It is just too dangerous. I will settle for studying the scripture at home and watching the church service online or a television broadcast.

The Atlanta Braves have provided enjoyable outings (until recently) but I don’t think I will be going to Turner Field anytime soon. It is too dangerous. I might get hit by a foul ball or a flying baseball bat. And there is always the good possibility that I could fall over the railing that is to low to protect the fans. I will follow the team on television and rely on Chip Caray and Joe Simpson to make the game come alive.

Braves 1

Although I do not enjoy shopping, there are occasions when I need something from the grocery, department store, pharmacy or home improvement store. But it is too dangerous. You never know when you will be at the wrong place when a  robbery or some other violent act occurs. Besides there are many options now for shopping online and having things delivered that offer a better and safer alternative.

I don’t have school age children anymore. If I did, I think I would consider home schooling because it is just too dangerous to trust them to someone else. School shootings, abuse and neglect are becoming all too common.

school shooting 1

The world has become a scary place. I am almost afraid to walk down the streets of my neighborhood. It is too dangerous. You never know when you will become a victim of armed robbery or kidnapping.

I think I will just stay home and hope that I will not become a victim of burglary or a home invasion.

I hear comments like the ones above all too often. Situations such as those described do occur daily but we must not allow such incidents to dominate our thoughts. We must not let fear control our lives. I am not advocating for foolish abandon. We must be wise and careful not to put ourselves in harm’s way. But I think Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said, “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”

Fear 3

Tragedies of all kinds occur every minute somewhere in the world and frequently nearby. But they are the exception rather than the rule. For every person who is robbed at gun point, there are millions who are not. For every fatality on the highways, there are millions of people who arrive safely at their destinations. For every tragedy, there are  untold numbers of triumphs.

When we are afraid, we are hesitant to try new things, to venture into the unknown, to make the most of every opportunity. Journalist Dorothy Thompson said, “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”

Fear 1

We do not need to ignore the harsh reality of pain, suffering, and violence but I choose to live in hope, not fear, remembering the words of Jesus, “Fear not, I am with you!”

Jamie Jenkins

Flea markets, garage sales, consignment shops, and antique dealers have a lot in common. Each of them provide a means for dealing with old things.Flea Market 2

Planned obsolescence causes many items that we own to end up for sale in flea markets and garage sales. These are things that are still functional but have lost most of their value because a new and improved model has been developed. If they don’t sell, we give them to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or set them out for the garbage collector.

Goodwill Industries

Furniture, clothing, sports equipment, jewelry, and other possessions that still retain value are often marketed through consignment shops where we get a portion of the sales price. This revenue may be used to replace these older items that are still serviceable and in good condition.

Occasionally we hear of someone discovering that some piece of furniture, a home decor item, or a painting is worth much more than they expected or might have paid for it. Television shows like the Antiques Road Show fuel our hopes of finding a treasure among our possessions. So we hold onto things that are antiquated (useless) hoping one day they will be considered antiques (timeless) and make a fortune from selling them.

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Of course, there is always the option of being frugal enough to use things until they wear out. Then we can with clear conscience replace them with the latest model. Sometimes minor repairs are all that is needed to prolong the useful life of an item. Another possibility is to find new uses for an item or to upgrade it so it retains it’s worth.

But that defies the principles of our throw-away society.

We are trained to be wasteful consumers based on the messages we’re confronted with daily. Media pressure makes it difficult to be satisfied. It seems that everything is constantly being improved. Technological advancements add features to everything from automobiles to home appliances to office equipment that expands their capabilities. In an affluent society like ours, we are tempted to always have the latest and greatest. Being able to pay cash for it is not considered a prerequisite. You can use a credit card or one of many options that allow you to have it now and pay for it later.

Consumerism and materialism are prevalent attitudes in our world. Our culture tells us that everything is temporary and disposable. Not just things but morality and relationships as well. Timeless principles are often swept aside as out dated and irrelevant. People are even considered disposable as well. When they have served their “useful purpose” they can be devalued or discarded.

Pope Francis 1

Pope Francis has frequently spoken about a “throwaway culture” in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.

God, save us from ourselves. Help us to see the real worth of things and of people. Help us to differentiate between the eternal and the temporal.

Jamie Jenkins

Dikembe Mutombo is a big man. Not just in physical statue but in reputation and influence. He is a retired professional basketball player that stands 7 feet 2 inches tall. But his humanitarian efforts cause him to stand much taller.

Mutombo wears a size 22 shoe but he hMutombo 1as left much larger footprints through his determined efforts to provide health care for the people of his native  Democratic republic of Congo.

Dikembe played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times and was an eight-time NBA All Star. He is commonly called the one of  the greatest shot blockers of all time, surpassed in the NBA only by Hakeem Olajuwon. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

Mutombo 2

If you don’t know Dikembe Mutombo, you don’t know much about professional basketball in the United States. If you know him, you are well aware that his trademark is a “finger wag” after blocking a shot. Today that finger wag is used in the face of life threatening diseases like malaria.

Outside basketball Mutombo has become known for his humanitarian work. He paid for uniforms and expenses for the Congo women’s basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. He is a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE, and a long time supporter of Special Olympics.

Mutombo contributed $15 million to fulfill a lifelong dream in 2007 by opening the doors to the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center. This is the first hospital that has been built in the capitol city of Democratic Republic of Congo. The 300-bed hospital will provide health care to people in Kinshasa where Mutombo was born. The hospital was named BiambaMarieMutomboHospital, for his late mother, who died of a stroke in 1997 at age 64.

Mutombo 3

Mutombo continues to work to eradicate childhood diseases like malaria that prevent one in five children in the sub-Sahara Africa from reaching age 5.

Last Thursday night Mutombo attended a gathering of folks in downtown Atlanta who are engaged in the fight to eradicate malaria. I stood beside a giant- not because of his physical statue but because of his passion to improve the lives of others.


“It is a lesson of life,” Mutombo said. “We all are here for a purpose. My purpose is to make a difference to society, not just by being a good human being, but to contribute to lives. I’m changing lives and the living condition of my people.”

Jesus said he came so that people could live life to the fullest (John 10:10 CEB). “Abundant life” (KJV). The Message translates those words to indicate that his purpose was to provide “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

I think that includes quality of life during our time on Earth as well as eternal life in the hereafter and I am glad for people like Mutombo who give themselves as co-workers with Christ to that end.

Jamie Jenkins

Charity 2

As the wipers cleared the rain from my windshield I saw a woman with a small boy in tow. They did not have an umbrella or anything to keep them dry in this summer downpour. They probably lived in one of the many apartments along this street near my house. I suspected that they heading for the bus stop which was a couple blocks away. The rain was so heavy that they would be soaked before they got to the shelter.

I wanted to help but I did not know how.

Although my motive would have been pure, you just don’t stop on the street and offer people a ride. Even when the weather is bad.

Since I drive an electric vehicle (EV) most of the time, I don’t have to get gasoline for my car. But the hotdogs at the QT are the best- and they are inexpensive. So I occasionally stop in and get a hotdog loaded with ketchup, mustard, onions, sauerkraut.

Charity 3

One day recently as I got out of my car to go inside to prepare my “nutritious” and cheap meal, a young man standing nearby asked if I had any spare change. Should I give him money? Should I offer to buy him some food? Should I ignore him? I wanted to help but I was not sure of what to do.

During the years I served as pastor of a local church there were many occasions when persons would stop by the church or my house (everybody seemed to know where the Methodist minister lived) in need of financial assistance. The stories were all too similar. Their grandparent or parent had died and they were traveling to the funeral when they had car trouble that took all their money. They needed money for gas, food, or lodging. Often there were small children in the car.

I always wanted to help but I was not always sure what to do.

Charity 7

Every time I am approached by someone seeking assistance (handout) I am conflicted. I want to help but frequently I feel like I am being scammed. Even when I sense that the need is legitimate I am not sure what will really help and what will simply encourage irresponsibility. If I “help,” I am troubled with whether I did right or not. If I refuse the request for assistance, I wonder if this is one of the times when I failed to be compassionate.

I don’t think I will ever get past the dilemma described above. There will always be situations when I just won’t know what to do. I will continue to struggle to be caring but not an “easy mark.” I will be a sucker on some occasions and I will probably be a stingy Grinch at other times. I am reconciled to that reality.

Charity 4

However, I have found a way to be compassionate,  generous, and responsible with the resources God has entrusted to me. I give to the church that nurtures me because I know it is a good investment in the health and well being of many people locally and globally. I also give to organizations and causes that really meet the needs of humans beings and have proven to be trustworthy and wise in the way they use the funds provided to them.

Charity 1

When I see homes being built for families that otherwise could never afford one, I know that Habitat for Humanity is a good choice for my donations. Knowing what Compassion International does in places of extreme poverty around the world, I feel comfortable providing support through them. I have seen the good work and gladly support Action Ministries Atlanta as they seek to lead people out of poverty by providing hunger relief and educational opportunities to our metro area neighbors in need. Honduras Outreach, Inc. has transformed lives in rural Honduras and now in Nicaragua.

UMC Cross and Flame

Since I am a United Methodist, I support many of the agencies and ministries of the United Methodist Church that have proven themselves to be effective in serving the needs of people.  The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur has been serving children and their families since 1871. Murphy Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown provides a safe and nurturing environment where severely abused and neglected children can heal and thrive. I have seen the benefits of Wesley Woods Senior Living as it has been a leader in helping people age with grace. I am heavily involved with Imagine No Malaria, a denominational initiative determined to eliminate death and suffering from malaria. These are just some of the places I am willing to give because I know I am really helping others.

Charity 6

There are times when I want to be helpful but I do not know what to do. But there are other times when I know exactly what to do. And I am trying to do it!

Jamie Jenkins

God's Love 2

The church sign proclaimed, “God’s Love is Unconditional, This Sunday, 10:45.”

I wondered about other times. Were there certain conditions that had to be met for God to love you except on this particular day and time? Did you have to meet certain qualifications on Monday or Friday for God to love you?

Should John 3:16 have an asterisk indicating the day and hour that everlasting life was available to those who believed  in God’s only Son?

Seriously, I understand that the church sign was announcing the sermon title and the time of the worship service. At least I hope that is what was happening. But in reality I think most everyone (maybe everyone) who believes in the God of the Bible and in Jesus Christ has moments that they are not sure that God loves them.

God's Love 6

There is the tendency to think that we have to measure up to some standard in order for God to love us. It is hard to accept that God loves us unconditionally. No strings attached. No minimum requirements. Regardless of how you behave.

There is nothing that you can do that will keep God from loving you. Period!

And there is nothing that you can do or nothing that you have done that disqualifies you for God’s love.

Peter was one of Jesus’ followers but after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus- not once but three times. Jesus was subsequently put to death but came back to life after three days. A short time later, Jesus met his disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  He and Peter met face to face and Jesus allowed Peter to declare his love for him three times. Then he restored Peter as one of his disciples and commissioned him for new work.

God's Love 4So, you ask, “God will love me no matter what I do?” Yes.” Then why should I even attempt to ‘be good’?” Good question.

There is a song I learned as a child with simple but powerful words:

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak but he is strong.



There is another verse that is not always sung but contains an important truth.

Jesus loves me when I’m good,

When I do the things I should.God's Love 3

Jesus loves me when I’m bad,

Though it makes him very sad.


Thank you God for loving us. Help us to love you and live for you!

Jamie Jenkins




In today’s world it is certainly an advantage if you can communicate in more than one language.

Word 3

My grandchildren (ages 9 and 12) are bilingual. They were born in Tokyo and lived there until 18 months ago. Consequently their first language is Japanese although they are very fluent in English. A couple of years ago my grandson said he wanted to learn Chinese. When asked why he replied, “When Mom and Dad don’t want us to know what they are saying, they speak in Chinese.” There are many reasons for wanting to be fluent in more than one language.

In a couple of weeks those grandchildren and their parents are moving to Spain to live for at least a year. Their English and Japanese, or the parents limited Chinese, will not be of much value to them in this new country, especially when the children enter Spain’s public schools. They will quickly learn that the ability to speak and understand Spanish would be a definite advantage.

I took three years of Spanish in high school many years ago. Recently my wife and I participated in two 10-week Spanish classes. I know a little about conjugation of verbs and recognize a lot of words and phrases but I cannot communicate very well in Spanish. The primary reason- I don’t use the language in my daily life. Most of what I learned a long time ago has been lost due to the failure to use it on a regular basis.

Of course words are not the only way to communicate. Language is not always verbal. A smile can speak volumes. An embrace or a thumbs-up can be very affirming. Listening attentively to another person’s expressions of grief, frustration, anger, or dreams can be therapeutic.

Word 2

As a matter of fact, words sometimes are the least effective means of communication. They are often perceived as being empty and meaningless, and sometimes they actually are. The effort to verbalize may in fact obstruct communication.

It has been said that actions speak louder than words. Of course, deeds don’t actually create sound but they can clearly demonstrate understanding, caring, and compassionate in ways that words alone cannot. The Apostle Paul said, “If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal” (I Corinthians 13:1, Common English Bible).

Love in action 2

St. Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” There is a lack of evidence that indicates that he never actually said that. However, in his instructions on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching, he said, “All the Friars … should preach by their deeds.” Essentially he is saying make sure your deeds match your words.


Of all the languages we might learn and “speak”, perhaps the language of love is the most important. It always includes words and actions.

Love in action 3

Jamie Jenkins

Headstones 3

Cemeteries are interesting places to visit. The headstones often give insight into the personality and character of the deceased. Some of them are humorous. For instance, the headstone on Margaret Daniel’s grave at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia has the following inscription: “She always said her feet were killing her but nobody believed her.”

Headstones 6

Other grave markers have religious implications. One common inscription for a Christian is “Absent from the body but present with the Lord.” Some of them express this same sentiment more creatively. For example, on a grave from the 1880’s in Nantucket, Massachusetts: “Under the sod and under the trees lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod. Pease shelled out and went to God.”

The purpose of the grave headstone is often to praise the humble virtues of the person who has died or to remind us of the bond between the living and the dead. Many graves have markers that simply list the name of the deceased with the dates of their birth and death. The two dates are separated by a dash (-).

Headstones 7

Some say life is from B to D. From birth to death. But what is between B and D? It is a C. But what is a C? It is Choice. Our life is a matter of choices. While the two dates are significant, the in-between time is extremely important. What happens between the beginning and end of earthly life. Our choices make a difference- sometimes momentarily, sometimes eternally.

Understanding the purpose of our life is essential for a meaningful existence. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.” I believe that every person is made by God and for God and until they understand that, life will never make sense.

Purpose 1

Centuries ago the leader of the Israelites counseled the people to hold God in the highest regard and serve God honestly and faithfully (Joshua 24:14). American author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. suggested that the purpose of life is “to be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe”

Although ancient Joshua and the more contemporary Vonnegut lived centuries apart and their lives were very different from each other, both provide us with sound advice. I think they both would agree with the psalmist that human beings are the crown of God’s Creation with wonderful abilities and tremendous responsibilities (Psalm 8). Og Mandino put it this way: “You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life… You were made with a purpose.”

According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the ultimate goal and purpose of humankind is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever. So what happens in this life- between birth and death- is extremely important. The choices we make determine our future both now and forever.

purpose 2

Lord, help us today to choose wisely and live faithfully as children of God.

Jamie Jenkins


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