Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Preacher’s Corner
Take it from one who knows — don’t speed on Hwy. 7 S
Getting speeding tickets is something nobody wishes to admit, especially preachers. But except for the elderly lady in my hometown who was famous for driving her blue Ford Fairlane at 10 miles per hour, I think we all have exceeded the limit at some point or another. I figure that has happened to me so many times that even if I did not deserve the ticket at the precise moment I was spotted, I deserved it for some other occasion when the patrolman was not watching.
I try to obey the rules. That said, lapses sometimes occur. The most embarrassing happened shortly after I moved to Holly Springs. I was driving a group from our congregation to a church governing body meeting in Grenada, and got to talking instead of paying attention, and before you know it, I had a summons to pay a fine or appear before the justice of the peace in Tallahatchie County. It is so much worse when others witness you getting caught!
I took comfort in the fact that I had given Holly Springs something to talk about that night after we got home. “Preachers who fall short” is a popular topic among one and all, even among other preachers.
My other story leaves me much more culpable, and come to think of it, this also occurred along a similar stretch of Highway 7, south of Holly Springs. Take it from one who knows: be mindful of the limits on this stretch of road.
A ministerial friend, the Rev. Henry Williamson, retired from active pastoral service and bought a house in his hometown of Water Valley. Henry was in bad health, had no close family, and was lonely for company. He had found one nice thing to interest him—the little Sand Spring Presbyterian Church near Orrwood in southwest Lafayette County. They had asked him to conduct services for them. At first Henry declined, but when he found out that his great-great-grandfather had been one of the church’s founders, he went to work with zeal and served that old, country church for a good while.
I knew Henry wanted visitors, so when he ran an ad offering his ministerial books for sale, I decided to take the opportunity and pay a friendly visit. We spent an afternoon talking, watching his dogs romp, and I bought about $200 worth of books.
Heading out of Water Valley back to Holly Springs, I congratulated myself for being so generous with time and money to an elderly minister. Hopefully, someday people would do the same for me. I had been a good friend and a good minister.
At just this moment I was aroused from this reverie by the flashing of blue lights in my rearview mirror. I was going 65 in a 45 m.p.h. zone. There was no point offering excuses. I was busted!
I am quite sure the Lord sent that patrolman to teach me a lesson in humility. It was a reminder that, as a famous theologian has said, we sin in our best deeds as well as our worst. This same theologian went on to say that pride is the besetting sin of all good people, and when I need to be reminded of this, I always think of my speeding ticket on the outskirts of Water Valley.
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