Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 16, 2010

The Preacher and Cards

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I am assuming you are anxious to read this blog based on the title.  I imagine most of you assume that this is a confession from me about some kind of card playing.  Wrong!

This is not about this preacher, but my great-grandfather. My great-grandfather, Philip McCurdy fought in the Civil War with Stonewall Jackson, and was involved in battles such as Manassas, and Fredericksburg.  At the Battle of Chancellorsville he received a wound that left him partially disabled for the rest of his life.

Following the war, he engaged in farming and stone contracting from the quarry at Stone Mountain.  He also served as the county tax collector.  However, he found he could not resist a call to ministry that he had felt earlier in his life.  He was then licensed to preach.  He would minister in several churches in and around Stone Mountain.  His committment and zeal overcame any lack of education.

However, it seems that some of his grown sons did not express this same dedication.  On a Sunday morning, Philip McCurdy was preaching at Tucker Baptist Church.  It seemed there was only one good suit in the family and that it fit Philp and some of the sons.  Evidently, on special occasions, the suit would be worn by different male members of the household. On this particular Sunday morning, great-grandfather Philip was wearing the suit on the preaching opportunity.

As he began to expound the Scriptures and was approaching the end of his sermon, perspiration developed and he reached in his pocket for a handkerchief.  As he pulled the handkerchief out, it pulled forth another item in the pocket.  A deck of cards!  Or at least some of the cards came out with the handkerchief.  Obviously, some fell to the floor, some landed on the pulpit, and I imagine folks began to smile as they saw the cards floating through the air.

Evidently, the last son to have worn the suit had been somewhere playing cards.  It is reported that my grandfather remarked, very calmly, that it seemed that one of the boys had worn the suit on the previous night!  Then he proceeded to complete the sermon.

Even though the son was grown — I wonder what happened when the father got home?  I am also sure that he  always checked the pockets of the suit very carefully after that!  Of course, I am sure each son was very careful about checking the pockets when they had worn the suit!

There are many things I need to check regularly.  I can have something within my  pockets that would be embarrassing if it slipped out. This is a reminder for me to check my pockets — the pockets of my mind and heart.  This especially applies to words and attitudes.   I need to clean out such recesses of my mind.  Daily inspection of my life can prevent a calamity.  My God invites me to be open with Him and He will cleanse me of all that should be removed.

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord.”  (Psalm 141:3)  “He who guards his lips guards his soul.”  (Proverbs 13:3)  “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)



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