Pass the…Nuts

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34, Common English Bible).

This is part 2 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

Many are the times, when we go to a meal in the homes of a lot of folks, there is something there to snack on for those of us who are early arrivals. It may not be considered part of the “real meal.” It may not even be considered an hors d’oeuvre. It is just a little something to snack on while we wait for everyone else to arrive and the real meal to begin.

I am one who is habitually early for everything. I hate to be late for anything. If you were to ask Wayne or Christopher when they were growing up, it is just one of many things that drove me “nuts.” At work, I may have gotten in trouble for a variety of things, being late was almost never one of them.

Since I am almost always early I know it is not at all uncommon for some people to have out little snacks such as chips and dips, a veggie tray or a dish of mixed nuts. Perhaps we have learned a little something from the Mexican food industry with their chips and salsa, if you keep people eating they are less likely to complain. And, no, if I came (early) to your house and you didn’t have something like that, I would not complain.

If you are one of those people who is opposite from me, you may have no idea that people do these kinds of things. After all, by the time you get there I have probably already eaten all the nuts. Well, I did have some help from others who arrived early.

But the thing is, whenever we gather with family and friends, nuts are not something in short supply, even when they aren’t on the menu. I used to have a friend (now deceased) who would say, “Sure I’m crazy. But I have more fun than normal people.” You could easily substitute the words “I’m a nut” for “I’m crazy.” He would never have argued.

One of the things I always look forward to when I have the opportunity to gather with family and friends is having the nuts of the group join in. No, I am not talking about people who are certifiable. All of us may have a few of those hanging around. But, I am talking about those kind of people who are always ready with a story or a joke. I am talking about those who can grab my attention by tickling my funny-bone and getting me to laugh. I love to laugh. I think God wants us to laugh. Joy exudes from us when we laugh and God wants us to be, calls us to be people of joy. Our lesson also reminds us to give thanks for God’s goodness. Laughter, at least to me, is a sign of God’s goodness. That translates to, the “nuts” in our lives are signs of God’s goodness. In our laughter I believe we also see God’s faithfulness.

So, would you please pass the nuts. The nuts at the table remind me of the other nuts at the table. I might be a consumer of the first (I do enjoy eating from a nice dish of mixed nuts) but I enjoy the others even more. They remind me of the joy that goes with having a thankful heart.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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