Archives for posts with tag: integrity

Sam and Susan are folks you might never have known if it was not for two of their children. They lived in a small town and although they both were well educated neither of them were in high profile positions of leadership.

Sam’s career path was certainly not one that many would count successful. He spent over 40 years in a rather non-descript place. Many of the folks he worked with and for did not like him. Some of them even burned his house down- not once but twice. One of his associates had him thrown into jail because he could not immediately pay a debt. This was one of two times he spent in jail due to his poor financial status. Lack of money was a perpetual problem.

It could be easily argued that Susan was more gifted than her husband but there was no attempt to upstage or overshadow him. She gave birth to nineteen children but nine of them died as infants. Her primary role was to focus her attention on her children. She was the primary source of her children’s education and ultimately the prominent force in shaping their lives.

Sam was also a poet but never achieved any real fame or success as a writer. One account suggests that Sam “spent his whole life and all of the family’s finances” on one literary work that “was not remembered and had little impact on his family other than as a hardship.” In contrast, Susan’s writings were foundational to her children’s education.

Susan devoted several hours every day to her children’s education. She was a commanding presence and a profound influence in their lives. Sam failed to provide financial security for his family but his life was a demonstration of perseverance- holding on when suffering, tragedy and opposition came.

In different ways Sam and Susan profoundly impacted their children. Their influence can be seen especially in two of their boys, John and Charles, the founders of the Methodist Movement that changed the course of history in 18th century England and is a continuing spiritual force in the world today.

Stained glass windows depicting John and Charles Wesley.

Because of the impact of the Wesley brothers, the world knows Samuel and Susanna Wesley. In his book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It, Adam Hamilton says that the boys learned a lesson from their father that would be essential to their future work by his example that “when suffering, tragedy, and opposition come, don’t turn away; turn to God. And don’t give up.” As for their mother, Hamilton says: “Susanna Wesley changed the world by shaping the heart and faith of her children and by her wise counsel and persistent prayers and encouragement.”

I suspect that Samuel and Susanna had no idea of the impact they were having on their children. There was no way they could have seen the effect of their teaching and example on their lives. They were just doing what good parents are supposed to do- live before their kids a life of faith and integrity and leave the results to God. The role of parents has never been easy but has always been important- and never more so than today.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

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Good News 2

It is not unusual to hear of someone getting shot. Or someone robbing or killing folks as they walk the streets of their city. Or a purse snatching. Those stories have become commonplace and fill our newscasts. But I have a different story to tell you.

Good News 1

A friend had been running errands and shopping. After returning home and unloading the things she had bought she realized her purse was missing. The last time she remembered having it was at Walmart when she was loading her purchases into her automobile.

She figured she had left it in the shopping cart or perhaps had left it on the car and it fell off as she drove away. And that was about an hour ago. Her purse was probably lost for ever with her ID, credit cards, and money. Surely she would never see her purse again.

With little hope of a positive outcome my friend and her husband rushed back to the store hoping against hope. When they came to the spot where her car had been parked it was no surprise that there was no sign of her purse or its contents. Perhaps whoever found it might have thrown the purse in a nearby trash can after taking her valuables. But the trash can yielded nothing.

Good Deed 1

With hopes dwindling and dread growing they went to the customer service desk inside Walmart. With little expectation of an affirmative answer she inquired if anyone had turned in a purse in the last hour. As expected she was given a look of “you’ve got to be kidding.” However, minutes later the store employee returned from a side room with her purse AND nothing was missing.

My friend responded, “Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!” and the store clerk replied, “God is good!”

There has never been a doubt in my mind that God is good but I have not always felt so confident that people are good. There is so much badness and meanness on display in the world that it is easy for goodness to be overlooked. The attention given to violence and hatred and greed outweighs any emphasis on compassion and  integrity and honesty.

Honesty 2

One of my teachers long ago had a favorite saying: “Bad news goes around the world twice before good news gets its shoes on.” In other words, we hear and spread “bad” news much more regularly and rapidly than we tell “good” news.

The attitude demonstrated by my friend and her husband reflects the attitude of cynicism that is all too common. We have been conditioned to expect the worst. We have been taught to believe that evil is more prevalent than good. An incident like this lost purse encourages us and reminds us that there are a lot of good people in the world. Thank God!

Jamie Jenkins