Five for Friday: Life Lessons

This Week on Five for Friday


When Your Favorite Team Cheats
I Wish I Had Known
What Do You Stand For?
KINDNESS IS MANY THINGS… RANDOM ISN’T ONE
After 103 Birthdays


When Your Favorite Team Cheats

13 Don’t have two different types of money weights in your bag, a heavy one and a light one. 14 Don’t have two different types of ephahs in your house, a large one and a small one. 15 Instead, you must have only one weight, complete and correct, and only one ephah, also complete and correct, so that your life might be long in the fertile land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 What’s more, all who do such things, all who do business dishonestly, are detestable to the Lord your God. 17 Remember, after all, what Amalek did to you on your departure from Egypt: 18 how he met up with you on the way, striking from behind those who were lagging back because you were weak and tired, and because he didn’t fear God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-18, Common English Bible)

I am an Astros’ fan and have been all my life. I will not change allegiances but I am happy about what they did. Cheating is wrong. Period. It concerns me that those who were most guilty didn’t receive punishment.

I concluded long ago that cheating, in professional sports exists to a degree most of us will never know. When we hear something it’s the worst examples. We lived through steroids and finger pointing, at the cheating that seemed clear to me. My team was involved in that too. I made statements then when someone, got caught, particularly if they played for the Yankees.

I complained about the New England Patriots sign stealing too. Then there is “Deflate-gate” where game balls had less air than allowed by the rules.

I have told you before that we watch a lot of NASCAR at my house. Chad Kanouse, at the time, crew chief for multi-time champion Jimmy Johnson, has been penalized 10 times by NASCAR. All but one for cheating. It is said in NASCAR “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin'”.

I have heard that quote in many places. While teaching I had discussions with students about cheating. In one of those discussions, one of my students made the statement.

I found it bothersome that most of my students didn’t see cheating as wrong. No wonder we see cheating in sports?

Working on this, I was reminded there was cheating going on with the Red Sox. I also saw a headline and read the article, “The Yankees Cheating Wasn’t as Bad as Houston.” My first thought , “So you admit cheating.” My second thought, “Cheating is cheating.”

That any of these teams and others cheat, is irrelevant. My team cheated and deserves punishment, more than happened. I am not sure what would be appropriate should be. Some say vacating the championship. The fan in me says “no” but I’m not sure.

I do think MLB should fine all players receiving playoff shares the amount they received that season. Anything else means MLB owes Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose an apology and reinstatement. That should happen anyway.

At the end of it, I hope the Astros learn from this disaster. As for me, I bothered much with baseball season, partly because of a strange season with stranger rules. But also after 50 plus years of the Astros, there isn’t much to cheer about.


I WIsh I Had Known

15 Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. (Luke 15:15-20a, Holman Christian Standard Bible)

When the “Prodigal” came to his senses (verse 17) he was probably said, “I wish I had learned how good it was at Dad’s house before I burned through my inheritance and possibly the only place I have to return.”

Bad decisions lead to such conclusions and consequences for our actions.

Shannon Hillson wrote, “8 Life Lessons I’ve Learned at 40-Something, I Wish I’d Known at 20-Something.” She opens with this, “Some of the things that come with age are great. Awareness is one.”

I agree. All of us wish we had learned some things a year or two or ten sooner than when we figured it out.

Shannon had eight things… I am not commenting on hers. I’m more qualified to speak about mine. I enjoyed reading hers. If you want to read hers, the link is at the bottom.

1. There’s no such thing as too late or too old.
2. Who you were as a child is more important than you think.
3. It’s better to make memories than collect things.
4. Little things are the big things.
5. Taking care of yourself physically is as important as people tell you it is.
6. The best time to make dreams come true is now.
7. Nobody’s coming to save you from yourself.
8. No one is entitled to a relationship with you (and vice versa).

Here are ten things I’ve learned, but the list is still longer.

1. Just because I could eat everything in sight doesn’t mean I should… I am still far from reversing my bad decisions.

2. The “Rule of 80” says, whatever your income, donate 10 percent beyond yourself. Perhaps the Church, a charity, or a cause important to you. The point is, be generous. Second, save ten percent. I needed to learn that. My parents tried. Had I learned that when I was younger, my retirement outlook would be better and I could do some things I probably will never be able to accomplish.

3. Playing the guitar is fun. When something brings joy, devote energy to it’s pursuit.

4. I have a gift for public speaking. Had I paid attention my call to ministry may have happened earlier. Even if not, I would have done well speaking.

5. Every criticism isn’t a reason for getting defensive. I still struggle with this. Often when I’m criticized, defensiveness and running away is where I go.

6. Reading is worth the effort. Reading didn’t come to me easily. When I read in my younger days I enjoyed it. It wasn’t worth the required work . Now I say two things. First, so many books, not enough time. Second, my eyes are not what they used to be and reading is even more difficult.

7. There is value in writing. I spend significant amount time writing. I’ve written sermons, school papers, my credo, my dissertation, Average Joe (my book more on that in a minute), prayers and this blog. I have to like it.

8. I like seeing my name printed on something that will outlive me. I feel like I have made a contribution to the world that will be here for a long time.

9. Children grow up quick. Too many things I did, should have been time with my kids. During my last year of seminary I missed all of my son’s football games. I was in a class I didn’t need and haven’t used since. My time should have been in the stands at football games. He ‘s a coach now. I try to attend at least one game a year. I enjoy watching him coach those boys.

10. The time with my Dad was valuable. Our relationship was often strained. He was tough. I didn’t like it. He was a talented carpenter. He built cabinets and furniture. I got upset when he wanted me to help him. I missed learning lots of carpentry. Even more, I missed spending time with him. Our last real conversation was the best we ever had. I wish I had some of those again.

That’s my 10. There’s more but it’ll rest here. What would go on your list?


WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?

21 God is the one who establishes us with you in Christ and who anointed us. 22 God also sealed us and gave the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts. 23 I call on God as my witness—I didn’t come again to Corinth because I wanted to spare you. 24 It isn’t that we are trying to control your faith, but we are working with you for your happiness, because you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

When I finished my one-year teaching career, the last lesson I taught in all my classes (Government, Economics, and Sociology), was, “If I Had Only One Lesson Left to Teach.” I told the kids to, “Know who you are.” NOTHING I do can change that I am the son of Johnnie and Janice Broyles. It is who I am.

Next I said, “Stand for something.” What defines you? What is your passion? I try to stand for people who have no voice yet or who have lost their voice.

To do something about it, I spend time in schools listening to kids read. If kids can’t read they will be in trouble later. And if they are in trouble, we all are. Education is the biggest issue facing society. It impacts kids of every socio-economic status, racial-ethnic group, and gender.

I go to retirement centers and play guitar and sing. I’m not very good at either, but I understand music has powers to make a difference. I do mostly old Gospel hymns. I see people who can’t remember their name, remember the words to old hymns. I do a short devotional and the rest is music. I asked myself why I do this. If I go and preach, I do it for me. But, if I go to bring the thing those people most need, I bring the music.

I haven’t done either since March. Kids haven’t gone to school and retirement centers and nursing homes are closed to visitors. Perhaps soon, I can go again.


Kindness is Many Things… Random isn’t one

The Good News: When we hold a grudge, the only person we harm by not being kind is ourselves.

The Good News: We get what we put in the world.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:22-26, New International Version).

Kindness is a choice, a habit, a lifestyle, a character trait. Kindness is many things, but none of them are random.

For s0meto,e I have thought about our changing society. I haven’t paid much attention to positive changes. It’s hard for me to think of many positive changes.

Thinking of the negative, I first see our lost kindness, even in the Church. One of my colleagues from another denomination, Pastor Greg Locke, in a tirade against wearing masks, threatened to kick the teeth of a Dunkin’ Donuts employee (he calls “Nazi Skippy”). He calls Walmart customers little mechanized robots.

I’m not being political. I’m not defending masks. I wear a mask and think everybody should, but that isn’t this.

Locke is an example of our changing society.

Three things have led us down this path.

First, was 9/11. We lost trust and gained fear. We fear those who may not look, talk, or worship like us. 9/11 was a defining moment for the US and we allowed it to change us.

Second, we’ve lost our moral compass. We’ve walked away from what guided us. However people see the Church today, for centuries served as a guide to people using its influence on moral values derived from Scripture.

A verse from Proverbs comes to mind. Translations have different meanings. One of the favorite readings of Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision [prophecy, prophetic understanding or vision] the people perish.” That is King James. Modern translations usually say, “Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint.” That’s what happened. We’ve moved away from God and God’s people who help keep us on track. Moving away from the Church impacted society. According to the Gallup organization 77 percent of us claim ourselves Christian but we live our lives as if it doesn’t matter. There is no collective vision and the people have cast off restraint. With little or no restraint, kindness is vanishing before us.

Third, we self-focused. It is about me and my wants. We have rights and know it. Our rights are protected no matter what. That sounds good in theory. In practice, what happens when our rights conflict. We see Greg Locke angrily demands his rights, while Dunkin’ Donuts defends their rights and the rights of their employees and customers.

As a result no one is gets what they want. No one’s happy. Society’s without joy. To find joy perhaps we need to look at kindness. We never are fulfilled living for ourselves.

Let’s be kind. “4 Simple Acts of Kindness That Instantly Boost Your Happiness,” says if you want to feel happier, make someone smile. Check-in to see how someone is doing. Tell someone how much you admire them (or their work). Give someone an unexpected present. Let someone know you’re thinking of them.

We need a pandemic of kindness. It starts somewhere. I challenge all of us to seek opportunities to dispense kindness. We need more than random acts, we need people who choose kindness as a lifestyle choice. If we do, the world will be better and will have more joy.


AFTER 103 BIRTHDAYS

Image for post

13 Happy are those who find wisdom,
    and those who get understanding,
14 for her income is better than silver,
    and her revenue better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
(Proverbs 3:13-16, New Revised Standard Version)

When reporters encounter those who see 100 years pass, the question asked is, “What is your secret to a long life?” Answers vary but there is something there about being active or happy, eating right or eating what they want, going to church or going dancing, bowling or baseball, the list is endless.

Storyteller Jordan Gross says he his dad were watching the news about a 103-year-old woman. He never names the woman but says she seemed mentally strong.

Two things were her secrets to a long life. First, she ate a piece of dark chocolate every day (If Cindy reads either Gross’ article or this post she will have justification for eating dark chocolate everyday).I have heard that dark chocolate has real health benefits. But there is something more here.

Her second secret, she goes to Mass every week. Through my years in ministry I have heard people tell the importance of doing something you enjoy and gives life meaning. Attending Mass does that for this lady.

Gross said, he didn’t believe these were secrets at all. He said, “She believed in two things that contributed value to her life. She practiced them consistently with joy and pride. This to me, was her secret to longevity. It’s not about believing the secrets we have are right or wrong, but rather, the willingness and courage to believe there is a secret in the first place.”

He closed saying, “Believe in your secrets. The longevity will follow.”

Perhaps Gross is on the right track.


Well, those are the things catching my attention lately. What about you. Drop a comment and let me know what is catching your attention.

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

I Wish I Had Known?

What Do You Stand For?

4 Simple Acts of Kindness That Instantly Boost Your Happiness

After 1o3 Birthdays

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