Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

June 7, 2017

I think I may have a crazy day ahead of me.  Why?  It is because I woke up this morning with Johnny Cash singing in my ear!

Well I’m on my way to glory land and I shall not be moved.
          On my way to glory land I shall not be moved.
I’m like a tree that’s planted by the water;
          I shall not be moved.

(I Shall Not Be Moved, Johnny Cash, My Mother’s Hymn Book, 2004.)

          I thought this was curious.  I thought maybe it would be a good idea to see if I could find the origin of that old hymn.  I struck out.

          Nobody seems to know who wrote the hymn but everybody seems to agree that it was based on some Scripture by Jeremiah.

            “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:8-9 KJV).”

          Have you ever noticed nowadays how great is the temptation to run?  Life becomes too weighty at home so we run.

          My job does not inspire me so I run.  My wife does not understand me so I run.

          I run because I can.  I can run because I-77 is about three miles from my house and with a full tank of gas I can run to Daytona Beach in just a few hours if I want…or Nashville…or Washington…

          Sometimes I think the interstate highway system has been a curse.  Even Wendell Berry seems to feel this way, “It made distant what had been close and close what had been made distant.)

(Jayber Crow. New York: Counterpoint, 2000, p. 281.)

          Banks and convenient stores have now been labeled Stop and Robs.  Many are now situated near an interstate highway and the temptation to hop off and do some robbing is apparently overwhelming to some folks.

          Just yesterday my neighborhood Facebook page detailed such an event.  We were told to lock our doors because the police were chasing some Stop and Robbers who were on foot.

          The temptation to run appears to be overwhelming in our culture.  Back in the older NASCAR days a car builder by the name of Jake Elder was given the nickname Suitcase.

At the drop of the hat Jake would run.  The moment something happened that did not suit him he would run.

The Bible is filled with characters that ran.  Jacob ran because he had cheated his brother Esau; and, Esau was going to kill him.

King David ran firstly because God had made him king and old King Saul was not quite ready to hand the crown and robe over.  King David would run again as his son Absalom tried to kill him for not taking action to preserve the honor of his sister Tamar.

Shimei ran because Solomon was going to kill him.  Shimei had been a thorn in King David’s side for decades and like Popeye, Solomon said, “I’ve had all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.”

King David was Solomon’s dad.  Blood runs thick.

Maybe it is human nature to run.  Maybe as a species we’ve always ran when some things in life are no longer to our liking.

But, then there’s Johnny Cash and he is saying, “Like a tree that’s planted by the water, I shall not be moved.”

What if…what if today we took this stance?  What if we decided to ride out the hard times?

What if we sought holy ways through?  What if we stood firm and planted by the nourishing waters of Christ and sought his vision and wisdom for abundance.

Isn’t it possible that there is value in not running?  I don’t know about you, but everywhere I go, there I am!

And, no matter where I run, most likely I will recreate the same scenarios of my life wherever I am!  Everywhere I go, there I am!

I have long since given up the notion to run.  When we make our stand,  God will use us there.

My brother Joe called me last fall to say that one of the old oak trees on the farm had fallen.  I thought about that old tree and I am sure it was at least two hundred years old.

That tree had been struck by lightning twice in my lifetime.  Once, the tree was split right down the middle by lightning.  My Uncle Walt stuck a horseshoe inside the tree; and, the tree grew back around the horseshoe.

That tree was a stubborn old mule.  I went to the site and you will not believe what I witnessed.  There were new shoots coming up out of the stump of that old tree.

Even today that tree is clinging to life and it shall not be moved.  Even Forrest Gump decided one day that he was done running.

Maybe today is a good day to plant.



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