February 12 – Radio

A gang of cynics can upset a whole city; a group of sages can calm everyone down. Proverbs 29:8

As a father, it’s my job to look out for my brood. And for that, I admit, at times I “miss the forest for the trees.”

A touching movie came out a few years ago about a mentally challenged young man who impacted his community…forever.

Based on true events, “Radio” captured the struggle of a community of moms and dads trying desperately to understand the head football coach’s infatuation with a disabled twenty-something young man taking high school classes and disrupting the athletic program.

Their counsel and advice was legitimate, reasonable, and quite understandable. But Coach Jones answered them like a true sage:

I know some of you don’t know or don’t care about all that Radio’s learned over these past few months. But truth is, we’re not the ones who’ve been teachin’ Radio. Radio is the one who’s been teachin’ us. ‘Cause the way he treats us all the time is the way we wish we treated each other even part of the time. Look, I know somethin’s gotta happen here. I know some changes gotta be made. And I know I can’t let what happened last season happen again. So I’ve decided to step down as Head Football Coach.

Needless to say, this young man, not so young anymore (68), and his story has touched the hearts of many. Had it not been for a few sages along the way to issue calm, cool instruction, we may have never got to hear about…the Radio.


October 9 – So Afraid

The thing a wicked man fears shall come upon him, but the desire of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be granted.  Proverbs 10:24 AMP

Have you ever hid in the closet? I have.  Growing up, there were nights when my mother had to “pull a double.”  She would call my sister and I and tell us she was going to work through the night and be home in the early morning, before we left for school.  Our community was pretty close-knit, and everyone knew Mom was a hardworking nurse raising two growing kids.  I was eight or nine years old at the time, and I tried to be tough and not cry about it.  But as the night wore on, if there was any noise coming from outside, wind, sirens, dogs barking, I bolted to the closet.  However, when the morning light shone in, and mom was safely home, boy, was I brave! There wasn’t a trace of the trepidation that sent me cowering to the closet the night before.

Fear is a funny sort of emotion.  When the pressure is on, it hides.  But when the sun is shining, it reeks of pride.  That’s when I hear the loud and proud and the rich and famous boasting about rights, and my heart aches.  I don’t see the agenda they so adamantly promote.  I see a scared little “Lorenzo” shaking in the wee hours of the night, hoping and praying everything will somehow be alright.

Oh, I am not any man’s judge. There’s nothing to judge, love covers the most fearful of us all.  But my prayer today, in light of our Proverb, is one of clarity.  Fear has a way of distorting the truth.  When I heard the wind when I was “alone,” I heard something totally different than when my mom was home.  As a matter of fact, the only time I remember hearing the windows rattle was in Mom’s absence.  To me, that’s the best description of wickedness . . . the truth twisted or distorted by fear.  And I cannot count the times when in a state of fear, that which I feared had a life-long effect on me.  But righteousness, on the other hand, requires no explanation.   When mom was constantly present, I slept well.  If I did wake up, it was rare, because things were “right.”

Right now, the earth is full of a bunch of us kids who have spent way too much time being afraid in the closet. We desperately need to know God is home and everything is going to be alright.  Because as long as fear reigns in our hearts, sweet rest is only a fantasy.


October 8 – If I Were A Rich Man

The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it]. Proverbs 10:22

Milton changed his world. Though he only had the equivalency of a fourth grade education, Milton Hershey built what would become the largest chocolate manufacturing company in the world. He transformed the landscape of the twentieth century for so many with a simple but profound motivation. Generosity.

Not only did he create a viable market that could benefit from the many native dairy farmers of his birthplace, Derry Church, he revolutionized the concept of “Company Townships” where workers and their families had a community of support for all those “beyond the job” needs and desires; thus, the city of Hershey, Pennsylvania was built, which is thoroughly equipped with excellent housing, entertainment and medical options, and much, much more.

But in my estimation, one of the greatest expressions of the soul wealth of Milton Hershey was the founding of a school for orphaned, unwanted and underprivileged children, known today as the Milton Hershey School. Now more than one hundred years old, this school has been an instrument of endless encouragement and inspiration for multitudes upon multitudes of would-be lost innocent children.

To insure the school would have more than adequate funding long after he and his wife’s time on earth was done, Milton established the Milton Hershey School Trust Fund that to this day has the majority of the voting shares of the Hershey Company.

As I reflect on today’s Proverb, “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich…,” Mr. Hershey inspires me. Yes, he built a successful company that today does around seven billion dollars in sales annually, but he designated the lion share of what he could have hoarded as his fortune toward the betterment of others. That’s true richness.

No, I don’t have a huge company to underwrite what’s broken in the world, but what I have and what you have is just as “wealth producing.” It’s a heart that is capable of benevolence toward our fellow man. Money is easy, but blessed generosity can change the world!

September 5 – Miss Mac

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7, KJV

Now that I live back in my hometown, the memories of my growing up years are nearer than ever. Almost daily I see or talk to someone who helped “raise” me in a wonderful small town community.

So, speaking of “small town,” my mom was my teacher the year I was in second grade. I wouldn’t call it my best year, though. And this is why. I got in a fight in the line for the water fountain. Yep, a girl-kind of hitting and slapping fight. The reason we disagreed escapes me right now, but suffice it to say, my teacher (mom!) landed both of our hineys in the hallway.

If you grew up in our school, you know what that meant . . .to land in the hallway was big, bad news. See, we had a principal named Miss McDonald. With her dress shoes and tall red beehive hairdo she was easily over six feet tall. And she didn’t play around. Not one little, tiny bit. This was the rule: If she saw a child in the hallway, that meant their teacher placed them there for bad behavior. And that meant one more thing. You were heading to Miss Mac’s office and meeting with the Board of Education. (If you know what I mean.)

That horrible day in second grade nearly gave me a heart attack, but I was very suddenly paying attention. And from that time on, I was “getting” wisdom as much as I possibly could. (Along with praying to God to save me and begging him to PLEASE not let Miss Mac walk down the hall!)

Wisdom is ready and waiting, but we have to do the “getting.” Miss Mac represented wisdom to me and so many others. She probably knew sometimes it takes desperate measures to push us into going after what we need. Obviously this verse could imply that a life-long process is required to eventually receive understanding. Even if it takes a few visits to “Miss Mac,” the wisdom we will gain will be worth it.

Keely Goldston, if you’re out there, I’m really sorry I hit you in the water line!

Jennifer 🙂