4/16 Life in the Parkie Lane

What's Up Chuck?                                                                                      

I used to work with a know-it-all named Chuck.  He loved to tell everyone how to do their jobs.  One day, he walked into my area and stood in the doorway watching my co-worker and I do our jobs. We had learned to pretend not to notice because we always regretted opening a dialogue with him.  As we worked, someone walked by and said, "What's up Chuck?" I said to my co-worker, but loud enough for Chuck to hear, "Vomit…upchuck is vomit."  Chuck stared at me a moment, stuck his tongue out at me and left as we "chuckled" about it.

My wife and I have always loved Yorkies - cute, cuddly lap dogs with enough spunk to drive off larger dogs. Yet, I have caught every one of them doing nasty things. They will yell derogatory remarks at neighbors, mailmen and strangers, unless I get after them. They will roll around on their backs on something dead or disgusting. If a dog finds something in the lawn to eat, it's undoubtedly gross.  The absolute worst thing in my opinion, is that a dog will upchuck and then go back to his barf and chow down.  Nasty, yuck, yuck, yuck.

Of all the positive traits dogs have, God chose a nasty habit to teach us something. Just like dogs, we as people don't think our sin is so bad. However, God gave us an unforgettable visual of how revolting our sin is to Him.  So, what's upchuck?  Sin.

"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Proverbns 26:11

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

4/15 Life in the Parkie Lane

Moving Days    (Pt 3 of the Woman at the Well)                                        

The men showed up one by one, staring in wonder at each other. When she made it back to the well, the motley crew was already talking with Jesus. Amazingly, the men were enjoying their conversation with Jesus. When the sun began to set, the men received assurance from Jesus that He would stay longer.

She awoke the next morning, ambition welling inside.  She washed and brushed her hair and put on clean clothes. She couldn't remember waking to a day with as much purpose. She cheerfully bathed the kids from six different men and hurriedly knocked the dust off their clothes. After feeding them, she led them back to the well. The kids noticed that Mom was different this morning - good different, happy different.

When they arrived, the men were back - with more of their friends! The thrill of seeing these hardened, cold-hearted, gruff and oftentimes abusive men softening before her eyes, moved her.

Later, the men reminded her that it wasn't her words that made a change, but that they had heard Jesus.  She knew that they wouldn't have come if she hadn't influenced them. 

She thought of how her life had gone from miserable, to memorable to absolutely moving, simply because of Jesus. Her greatest thrill in life was meeting Jesus. The second was bringing the people she cared about to Jesus. 

She and the kids headed home that day with gladness in her heart, a song on her lips and hope in her life.

"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." John 4:39-42.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

4/14 Life in the Parkie Lane

A Memorable Day        (Pt 2 of the Woman at the Well)                                  

Jesus had said things that only God could know, but instead of getting angry, she felt her life's load lifting.  Her mind cleared. The weariness vanished.  She felt like a kid again.  Something had changed. She had experienced the searing pain of rejection by five husbands, the townspeople and as a Samaritan. However, Jesus did not reject her. Something inside changed. She now believed He was God in the flesh - the Messiah.

Jesus reminded her of her life of misery, but instead of the usual feelings of sadness, shame and failure, she now had hope. Her thoughts rushed to the memories of those worthless men, those men that had done her wrong, those men that still held a special spot in her heart, regardless.

Without thinking, she abandoned her burden of water to deal with her life's burden. She lifted up her wrinkled robe, and stirred up the dust as she scurried back to talk to "Tom, Dick, Harry, Bob, Al and C.B. (Current Boyfriend)."

She stumbled a bit, disheveled and breathless as she ran up to "Tom." Without looking up, he dourly addressed her, "What now, woman? You lookin' for money again?"

"No, I met someone, you have to meet.  He knows all about everything I ever did.  He must be the Christ."  

She eventually convinces him to go to the well and meet Jesus, then goes to the rest of the locally known "scumbags" and tells them about Christ.  They all saw that something had changed in her demeanor and decided to check it out. Instead of feeling uncomfortable with the reunion of her former lovers, she rejoiced that they all showed up. She didn't care what the townspeople thought - they needed to meet Jesus. 

"The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.” John 4:28-30.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

4/13 Life in the Parkie Lane

Ain't Never Been Nobody                                               

My 8th grade English teacher taught me that "ain't never been nobody" was a double negative, and a double negative actually makes the statement a positive. Thus, "ain't never been nobody" equals somebody. To be somebody I had to be twice as negative as usual.  I was on to something here!

I tried that logic in Math class but zero x zero = nothing, zero + zero = nothing, zero - zero = nothing, and so on. My Math teacher took the opportunity to exercise her ability to belittle me into feeling like a zero. She would tower over me running through her catalogue of insults amplified by the tone of voice that dripped with contempt. I hated the feeling of droplets of contempt falling on my head. I wished I could turn into nothing with a "pop" and disappear from Math class forever.

Today's passage is one of my favorites because it fits me: "not many wise men," I wasn't sure I would graduate, "not many mighty," I was fodder for the predatory jerks in school, "not many noble," no royal blood in my veins. God chose the ones that most people think would be foolish - to baffle those that know it all. He chose the weak, even people with Parkinson's, to completely mess with the minds of the orators with great charisma. He chose the skid row bums, cripples, untrained, unskilled, even the dregs of society - "the things which are not," the nobodies - to accomplish his will.

Put God in the equation and the answer is really something! Zero + God = success in God's eyes. I ain't never been nobody, yet God has been able to use me! God makes all the difference in the equation.

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1Co 1:26-29.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff