Archives for the month of: February, 2017

Two days ago UPS tested truck-launched drones for package delivery in rural areas. The drone-equipped vans would only be used on rural routes where the company’s vehicles often have to travel miles to make a single delivery. The goal isn’t to replace drivers but to make them more efficient by allowing one driver to more quickly and efficiently deliver to several homes near one another.

UPS estimates that reducing the distance its trucks drive by just one mile per driver per day over one year could save the company up to $50 million. In another news story

In a separate story about the package delivery company, CNN reported last Sunday that UPS trucks almost never take left-hand turns. “By favoring right-hand turns at all times, unless a left is unavoidable, the carrier saves 10 million gallons of fuel each year, and avoids emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars.”

Who would imagine that such minor adjustments would make such major differences?

However, in reality little things mean a lot. One ounce of weight loss or gain per day equals 22.85 pounds in a year’s time.

If a person put $10 per month aside for 30 years, it would amount to $3650. If that money was invested at 7% interest compounded daily for 30 years, it would add up to $12,489.66, an increase of $8839.66. Little things mean a lot.

 

The No. 1 song of 1954 in the U.S. on the Billboard chart and in the U.K Singles Chart was a song recorded by Kitty Kallen. Since then Little Things Mean A Lot has been recorded by many artists from the big band sound of Harry James to country music legend Willie Nelson.

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you’re far away
Little things mean a lot

Aaron Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, suggests thatLove is often described in terms of grand deeds, such as moving mountains. Love can indeed induce such deeds, but usually it is the little things that mean a lot more in love.”

He says further, “These little things, be they gestures, actions, or words, are the many small things that we do every day and that naturally express our heart. They are not the result of calculations or intentions, but are rather spontaneous expressions of what we feel moved to do.”

Jesus suggested that it is not always the “big” things that we do that make a difference. He realized that we could easily be overwhelmed by the challenges of life and the needs of the world. So He counseled us to realize that even a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty is an important act. (Matthew 10:42)

Lord, help us to see the significance of little things in our daily lives and in our relationships with others.

Jamie Jenkins

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There is a classic fable about a man who approaches three men working in a quarry. Each was asked what he was doing. The first man said, “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m breaking rocks.” The second man responded that he was building a wall. The third man said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

All these statements are true but all quite different. The first man did not look beyond the task and the sweat of the moment. He had a job to do and he was simply doing what he was supposed to until time to go home. Hour by hour, day by day it was the same. Breaking rocks.

The second man saw things a little differently. Breaking rocks was a way for him to support his family. This was his personal objective and he took it seriously. It was important to him for their survival but he had no goal beyond making a good living.

The third man said he was building a cathedral. That is a different perspective. Just like the other two men he was making a living breaking big rocks into little ones but he has a loftier vision that merely doing a job and making a living.

The different answers are an indication that their lives are also different. Terrence Moore suggests that “Their words measure the distance between the thoughtless and the thoughtful, between the pedestrian and the sublime.” He says further that their story is “a steady march from breaking rocks to building cathedrals, a story of transformation, a story…of self-transcendence.”

With startling clarity, this story illustrates that purpose has the power to transform not only our attitude about the work that we do, but the quality of our work as well

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink says that most methods of motivation are ineffective. He proposes that the most effective motivation must include purpose.

Image result for images of Rick WarrenRick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us that the search for purpose in life has been elusive for many because they are looking at the wrong starting point- themselves. He says, “It all starts with God… Life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not you using him for your own purpose.  One’s identity and purpose is discovered through a relationship with God and realizing that the purpose for your life fits into a much larger cosmic purpose designed for eternity.”

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism addresses the purpose for which we were created in question number one:  “What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Jamie Jenkins

He has no business being there. Doesn’t he know that basketball is a game for big people? And the NBA of all places has no room for someone who is a foot shorter than the average player? What is he doing out there on the court in uniform? Doesn’t he know how absurd it is to think that he can play with the “big boys?”

All of the questions above might enter you mind the first time you see Isaiah Thomas. Then you watch him play.

I remember my eighth grade at Barton Academy in Mobile, Alabama. Jimmy Galloway. He might have been an inch over 6 feet but he was a “giant” on the basketball team of that public junior high school in 1957. Things have changed. A recent issue of Sports Illustrated had a story about Austin Wiley from Hoover, Alabama. He is an 18 year old, 6’11”, 255-pound basketball player at Auburn University.

The average American man in 2017 is 5-foot-9 1/2 . Ninety-five percent of adult men are 6-foot-2 or shorter. On the other hand, the average NBA player is around 6-foot-7. That means the average NBA player is more than nine inches taller than the average American man. That’s a lot.

In his book The Sports Gene, David Epstein estimates that the chances of a man who is between 6 feet and 6-foot-2 being a player in the NBA is approximately 5 in 1 million.

So what is 5’9” Isaiah Thomas doing on the basketball court when he is so much shorter and smaller than almost everyone else?

Well, on January 13 he had a game-high 28 points, including the game-winning shot with 2.4 seconds remaining as the Boston Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 103-101. After his 20 points in the final quarter of that game he leads the NBA with 334 fourth quarter points. They call him The King in the Fourth

Judging by all outward appearances, Isaiah Thomas should have chosen another life path. However, this guy known as The Pizza Boy, who celebrated his 27th Birthday a couple of weeks ago, earns a salary of $6.5 million this year.

Robert F. Kennedy said, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

If things “are” that “should not be” for a basketball player, why can’t we believe for miracles in our lives and world? Jesus performed many miracles but He said that those who follow him would do even greater things. You talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. Believe Big.

Jamie Jenkins

The Word Warriors of Wayne State University believe that “we limit ourselves to words that are momentarily popular or broadly applicable, and so rob ourselves of English’s inherent beauty and agility.” Consequently this group of people are trying to help rejuvenate the language by “advocating for words of style and substance that see far too little use.”

“The English language has perhaps more words in its lexicon than any other,” said Jerry Herron, dean of WSU’s Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a member of the Word Warriors editorial board. “By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. Bringing these words back into everyday conversation is just another way of broadening our horizons.”

One way this group of scholars in Detroit helps us to expand your vocabulary is through their annual list of words that we either have never known or have forgotten. They recently released their ninth annual list of words worthy of returning to regular use.

Here’s the words they recommend you start using:

Acedia: Spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.

Anfractuous: Indirect and containing bends, turns or winds; circuitous.

Blithering: Senselessly talkative, babbling; used chiefly as an intensive to express annoyance or contempt.

Bombinate: Buzz; hum.

Bucolic: Of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.

Effulgent: 1. Shining brightly; radiant. 2. (Of a person or their expression) emanating joy or goodness.

Gauche: Lacking ease or grace; unsophisticated and socially awkward.

Guttle: To eat or drink greedily and noisily.

Mugwump: A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.

Stultify: Cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of a tedious or restrictive routine.

You can pursue the meaning of these words and their proper use in a sentence if you wish. Then when you use them in conversation your friends and acquaintances will be impressed- or at least confused.

Although they have not been a part of my vocabulary, most of these words can be applied to my life in one way or another. There is no doubt that at times I am guilty of acedia. I certainly am blithering and gauche at times. I have been known to guttle. These are not very complimentary but can be used to accurately describe me and my behavior. But I think the one word that applies to me for which I offer no apology is mugwump.

I have never been called a mugwump (probably because most folks don’t know the word) but that is who I am, or try to be. I am not a person without an opinion. As a matter of fact, I have an opinion on just about everything and all too often I am willing to express it. However, it is clear to me that others have opinions that are different from mine and that is alright with me. I know that I can be wrong or that another opinion might offer a better or complimentary perspective.

While I hope my thoughts and opinions are respected, I make no claim to having a corner on the market of truth or wisdom. Mutual respect is very important and often I find that is often a missing ingredient in “party politics.” Elections, legislation, budgets, personnel, and a host of other issues tend to divide us in both secular and sacred settings.

 

 

If recognizing that the other person (or party) might have a better idea makes me a mugwump, this is who/what I am. I want to be willing to listen respectfully and when I disagree to be careful not to demonize the other person or ridicule their perspective.

As much as it is possible I want to live in peace with my fellow human beings loving them and respecting them at all times. I think that is what Jesus meant when he instructed us to “love one another… just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). And it is in keeping with the Apostle Peter’s admonition to “love one another, and be kind and humble with one another” (I Peter 3:8).

Jamie Jenkins