"An Inside Perspective"

July 2013


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I graduated high school in 1975 and in less than a month I moved out of my parent’s house. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them, quite the opposite really. They were great and I loved them tons. It was very traumatic for me though to leave my mother’s cooking. I wanted out to do what I shouldn’t.

My sister Kevy and I, who are only a couple years apart, were very close and still are. We had our moments growing up, as do all siblings, but you couldn’t pry us apart. As such, we rented a beautiful beach bungalow in Elberon. As time went on, we moved out and rented a cottage on the back of a ten acre estate in Ocean Township. Kevy was a nurse and I was a rascal. I was a steeple-jack by trade but still very wild and immature.

Kevy ended up marrying Tom who was the son of the lady who owned the estate. She then moved into the mansion and had two beautiful children. I stayed in the cottage. As part of my chores on the estate, I would help to cut the lawn. The estate had a giant vintage Allis-Chalmers tractor with a huge woods-cutter on the back. I love tractors and this one was my joy. Anything three inches or less was history. It had a spring-loaded seat about five feet off the ground and I just loved to cruise along in it.

There were also lots of trees on the property. I had to duck constantly, always paying close attention to what I was doing lest I be beheaded! I used to love to put on my AM/FM transistor radio headphones and rock out while I mowed the lawn.

About the same time, Sony had come out with the Walkman, a small portable hand-held cassette player with headphones and a belt clip. I had to have one. In my sin, I went right to Tech Hifi on Route 35 and stole one. I thought nothing of it. I went back to the cottage happy as could be with my new Walkman. Nobody had them yet; I thought I was the cat’s meow. Little did I know.

Remember, at this point in my life, I had literally never even seen, let alone read a Bible, nor had I ever met or known a Christian. I had absolutely no moral compass. Well, as the Lord’s poetic justice would have it, the first thing I wanted to do was mow the lawn. I put on my new Walkman and jumped in the spring-loaded seat. I was cruising along wonderfully for about ten minutes. I then looked down to adjust the volume and as I looked back up there was a low hanging branch inches from my face! I lurched out of the way and the branch just missed my head!

In the process though, amazingly, a part of the branch wedged between my head and the headphones. It quickly whisked them off my head in a nanosecond, pulling the whole cassette player off my belt! It went straight up in the air, dropping perfectly in front of the woods-cutter, which promptly shred it and spit it out the other side! There was only a sad trail of small spaghetti wires and transistors behind me in the grass! I was stunned! Looking back 40 years later, I can still see the whole thing in slow motion as if it happened only yesterday.

It is written, “And He said unto them, Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Lk. 12:15)

I am often reminded of this incident and the fleeting satisfaction of possessions. So every once in a while now, I look around my cell and determine that I am going to give away things that I am hoarding. It is my observation that most of us are hoarders by nature. I have noticed that most of the stuff I “hang on to” I never use anyway. I therefore give it to those who have not and I feel blessed in the giving. It’s not like I have much so to speak but it’s all relative. To the guys just getting into prison they peer into my cell and deem me to be king. It’s been said, “In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king!” (smile) It took 22 years to amass what I have but in the grand scheme of things it’s nothing. What does God deem you to be when He peers into your house?

One day, no matter who you are or what you have, you will be snatched away from all your stuff just as quickly as the Walkman went into that woods-cutter. How attached are you to your stuff? In the context of the above verse the man had been saving up everything while saying in his heart...

“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided [stored up]? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Lk. 12:19-21)

Maybe you have been cruising along wonderfully for a while in your spring-loaded seat of life? I hope you are watching for low hanging branches. Wouldn’t it be better to clean house now and give to people who are less fortunate? Make no mistake, the Lord expects nothing less from you. Maybe you’re now thinking, “How did this joker get into my closets, my basement, not to mention my attic?” I haven’t; the Lord has. Believe me, it is wiser to examine yourself now than to be examined later. Precious one, do you think “you” are the cat’s meow? If so, do not ...