View from the Pew: July 6, 2001

July 06, 2001

An opinion by Jerry Godsey

"For more than 20 years Faith Assembly's youth group has had a fireworks booth to raise money for its missions project. That means for the last 20 years or so, every July, a Faith Assembly youth pastor has hated Jerry Godsey. Darrell Maston, Jake Evangelist and now, Jeremy Alford; you see, they hate me because I started it. Julie Mitchell was on my youth staff when she had the bright idea to sell fireworks, and I am the goofball who said it would be a good idea.

Good idea? For one whole week you sweat like a big dog from 9 in the morning until 10 at night, selling fireworks and drinking sodas that went flat and got warm within five minutes of getting out of the car with them.

And then you have to put up with exchanges like the one I had this year with a pudgy, freckle-faced boy who went down the row of fireworks asking the same question, "What does this one do?"


"It emits showers of sparks," I answered patiently. I really was patient the first 20 times. Then it got ugly.

"What does this one do?"

"It emits showers of sparks."

"What does this one do?"

"It burns the freckles off of fat 10-year-olds!"

"AHHHHHH," he cried as he motivated his stocky little body toward his mother. "That man said the fireworks would burn my freckles off!" (OK, I didn't say that, but I thought it)

The fireworks all do the same thing. They emit showers of sparks. Some sparks are blue, some green, some red. All of the sparks will singe your eyebrows, and yes, even burn the freckles off of fat 10-year-olds. They all do the same thing.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that Christians are like fireworks, that we all do the same thing, act the same way, believe the same way. Sometimes they think we all are cut out of the same cookie cutter.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am so tired of hearing, "You Christians are all alike. I knew a Christian once who …" And then they proceed to tell me their tale of woe of how some Christian did them wrong, so they have held Christians in low regard ever since.

Prejudice, no matter how it rears its ugly head, is always sad.

Who you are is so much more important than what you are. The sooner we understand that, the better off our world will be.

There's a wonderful story about a Chicago bank that once asked for a letter of recommendation on a young Bostonian being considered for employment. The Boston investment house could not say enough about the young man. His father, they wrote, was a Cabot; his mother was a Lowell. Further back was a happy blend of Saltonstalls, Peabodys and others of Boston's finest families. His recommendation was given without hesitation.

Several days later, the Chicago bank sent a note saying the information supplied was altogether inadequate. It read: "We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes. Just for work."

God is the same way, He is not a respecter of persons. God accepts those from every family, nation and race who fear him and work for his Kingdom. And yes, sometimes they mess up. In fact, most Christians have rough edges they need to work on. Get your eyes off them and onto God.

Don't judge all Christians by other Christians you have known, and certainly don't judge God by Christians you have seen!

You see, Christians are imperfect people trying to become more like the pattern Jesus left us. We fall short sometimes, way short, but we are trying. And that's more than you can say about most people.

Apologizing to the freckle-faced kid … Jerry

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles