Dedication and Turnip Greens
Occasionally you will see someone do something that is a direct result of their dedication. Well, it happened to me on Christmas morning. About a mile north of the city, as I was driving in, I saw an older black man walking up the highway. It was about 8:15 in the morning and frosty cold. He was all bundled up, knit cap pulled down over his ears, gloves strapped securely to each hand and walking with a moderate pace. There was no one else around. The streets were empty. Families were still cozy and warm, tucked away in their homes.
This old gentleman caught my eye because of what he had in his hand. Swinging back and forth in his right hand was a couple of bunches of turnip greens. I don’t know where he was headed, but at the time he was at least two miles from the closest grocery store. How far he had walked to get there I do not know. How far he still had to go… I don’t know that either. But I do know that he had to have had at least two more miles to walk to get home because that’s how far it is to the next house. The way I figure it, round trip, he had to have walked at least eight miles. Now who on earth would walk eight miles to get a couple of bunches of turnip greens? They are good, mind you! But are they that good?
My mind raced. I tried desperately to put the story together. All I could come up with was that this old fellow wanted something special for his family when they sat down for Christmas dinner. My… the dedication he must have to his family. Perhaps his wife just mentioned, “Hon, I sure wish we had some greens for lunch.” Maybe his grandchildren said, “Papa, are we going to have greens for lunch today?” I don’t know what brought it all on, but I do know the old fellow walked a “fer piece” to get the greens. He was dedicated to the task.
Dedication is the key element this church needs in the New Year. From time to time some of us slip into a self-centered mode and please only ourselves. “It’s too cold this morning…” “I’m too sleepy to sit there today…” You know the excuses. We use them often. I use them often. One thing I do know, I don’t believe I can offer an excuse again without seeing that old black fellow on the side of the road with the turnip greens in his hand. Where were his excuses?
Attendance to the assemblies is only a part of what goes on here. There is a basic belief I have, however. I find it hard to believe that someone who will not come to the assembly will be found actively working for the Lord on a daily basis. It is possible…but not likely. We need each other. We need the boost that we get from being together.
The key here is dedication. If we will dedicate our lives to the Lord, all of the other things will fall in place as they should. If we will just hand our lives over to Him, all the excuses will vanish and most of the decisions about ourselves will be made in advance.
1995 can be the year that everything turns around for this church. But, there are two elements that must be present. First, God must be in control! He has the ability to “take control,” but His choice is for us to desire to give it over to Him. Secondly, for that to happen, you and I must be committed to the work.
If an old man could be committed to his family enough to walk eight plus miles for a couple of bunches of turnip greens, couldn’t we be committed enough to get involved in 1995?
We need each other!