If you are like most people, you don’t much want to think about your non-existence, much less what to put on your tombstone. Movie veteran PETER O’TOOLE has decided on the message he’d like hammered on his tombstone – it’s inspired by a note from his dry cleaner that once made him chuckle. The 74-year-old LAWRENCE OF ARABIA star recalls getting the missive about a battered, well-worn and has always thought it would make the perfect testimonial. He says, “Many years ago I had a beloved leather jacket… and I never wanted to throw it away. “I sent it to the cleaners because it was covered in blood and Guinness and scotch and Corn Flakes, the usual. “It went off to the Sycamore Cleaners and it came back with a thing pinned on it: ‘It distresses us to return work which is not perfect’ – so I want that on my tombstone.” A great theological statement wrapped in a joke from a dry cleaner. Gotta’ love the wit of the Irish!
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Fear is contagious. Warren Buffet, the world’s wisest investor, agrees. “Fear,” he said on CNBC in 2009, “is very contagious. You can get fearful in five minutes, but you can’t get confident in five minutes.”
Buffet went on to provide a wider (wiser) perspective….“Everything will be all right. We do have the greatest economic machine that man has ever created. We started with 4 million people back in 1790 and look where we’ve come. And it wasn’t because we were smarter than other people. It wasn’t because our land was more fertile or we had more minerals or our climate was more favorable. We had a system that worked. It unleashed the human potential. It didn’t work every year. We had 6 ‘panics’ in the 19th century. In the 20th century we had the Great Depression, World Wars, all kinds of things. But we have a system – largely free market, rule of law, equality of opportunity – all of those things that cause the potential of humans to get unleashed. And we’re far from done. Your kids will live better than mine. Your grandchildren will live better than your kids. There’s no question about that. But the machine gets gummed up from time to time. If you take the bulk of those centuries, probably 15 years were bad years. But we go forward.”
The Bible is said to contain 365 “Do not be afraid” encouragements. One for every day of the year. What fears grip you? How do you deal with them? Open your Bible and hear what God wants to say to you today. You can start with Luke 12. It’s a very good beginning.
Luke’s Gospel is the Third Gospel, written after Mark and Matthew.
Luke commends his Gospel to Theophilus. Some scholars believe Theophilus may have been an actual person; an official, or perhaps Luke’s financier. Many more believe, on the basis of the original Koine Greek language, that Theophilus means friend of God or (be)loved by God or loving God. I like the latter interpretation. We are all Theophilus’, the beloved by God! Written to a Gentile audience, Luke’s Gospel stresses the human qualities of Jesus as well as Jesus’s deep concern for all in the secular world, Jew and Gentile, tax collectors, women, sinners, and others on the fringe of society.
Curriculum for this course can be found at this website: Study of Luke Chapter by Chapter. This curriculum will be appended by many other study materials consistent with a Lutheran perspective. Listen to the audio of Chapter 1: The Gospel According to Luke: Chapter 1