Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

November 3, 2017

Today might be a good day to adopt a stance of optimism, as if our lives depend on it.   Why? It’s because our lives probably do depend upon it!

          Not long ago, I watched an oldie-goldie movie off the satellite feed entitled Secondhand Lions (2003). This film starred Robert Duvall and Michael Caine who were two old-goat brothers living as roommates in a rundown mansion during the winter of their lives.

          These two characters had lived lives bigger than life itself for years, on the edge of one adventure after another.  Apparently, they decided that what they should do was settle down and act their age.

            The only fly in the ointment was they were bored to tears. They spent their days sitting on the front porch of their old farm house, chewing tobacco and reminiscing about things they used to do.  

            But soon they would be shocked out of their boredom.  Their niece showed up, deposited her son with them (Haley Joel Osment) and then she promptly took off.  

            The two brothers were stuck with the boy and they told him up front they didn’t know anything about raising kids; and, for him to be prepared because they were old and would probably pop off in the night!

          As you may have already figured out, this boy saved their lives.  He brought them real life again; and, the next thing you know, these two old- goat brothers have recovered their lost vim and vigor!

          They even buy a used lion from a circus! It becomes their household pet!

          The end of the film features the nephew all grown up, living in a city far away, endeavoring a career of his own.  He receives a telephone call from the county sheriff.

            Apparently, his great-uncles had purchased a biplane kit, assembled it and had flown the plane into their barn. They had been doing daredevil tricks at the time; and, the end of a loop-the-loop landed them nose first into the hayloft upside-down.  

            Incidentally, both brothers were in their nineties when they died!   Furthermore, the nephew took comfort in the fact that his uncles went out while doing what they loved to do and that they died together.  It’s how they would have wanted it, he reasoned.

          So, what does this have to do with the price of eggs?

Well in 2012, Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin published a landmark book that got folks talking.   The title of the book is, The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study.

   I had to have a copy. I was dying to find out how I could live longer! (No pun intended.)

  As you can imagine, the answers were complicated and varied. But I can sum things up in a few short words. Longevity is mostly the result of being optimistic, faith-filled people who have a solid support system such as a church family.

  For the most part, the long-livers were huge risk takers and stayed active in the ballgame of life until the end. For example, it was proven that in this demographic 90% of these folks were still alive at 85 years-of-age while only 34% of negative, pessimistic people made it that far.  

  Now for the kicker, back in the day, Joshua and Caleb went with a group of forward observers into the Promised Land to scout out the people, the land and the surroundings. The group witnessed a cornucopia!

They saw a land of plenty! The Bible tells us that they witnessed  clusters of grapes so large that it required two people with a pole to carry them.  

But unfortunately, this group of spies witnessed some very large inhabitants in Canaan as well!  As a result, they began to wring their hands (Numbers 13:31-33).

 Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith and optimism needed to go into Canaan.  But get this, old-style negative thinking cost the Israelites an additional forty-five years of wandering! 

And, of all things, poor-old Caleb got caught up in the other’s pessimism!   Years later, Caleb would lament this tragedy.  (Check out Joshua 14:7-8.)

   So, here is the bottom line:

   If we seek to be optimistic and have a faith-centered life, surrounded by a positive support system; and, if we are willing to take risks to stay in the ballgame of life, odds are that we will live a decade longer than our pessimistic neighbors.

   AND, do not get caught up in someone else’s negativity!  The end result could cause forty years of wandering in the wilderness!

   Pessimism will kill you!  Find optimism!  Your life depends on it!

Just think about it!  

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