4 ¶ Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered him, “The LORD bless you!” Ruth 2:4 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
For the past couple of days, I have been having bouts of sneezing. If I happen to sneeze once, then I go ahead and sneeze ten times. I wish that at the beginning of this I had kept a running total of the number of times that I have sneezed. It feels like I have sneezed more in the past two days than in the first half century of my life.
This morning Susan said, “What is wrong with you? Why are you sneezing so much? Are you trying to set a world record? Your head is going to fall off.” I sneezed twice more just for good measure.
I think there might be some kind of early winter pollen-weed blooming here in Mississippi. It got down 26 degrees here this morning, but it is supposed to be up to 73 tomorrow. My theory is that the “cold snaps” here don’t really ever kill the ragweed; they just make it very angry.
The nurse practitioner gave me some nasal spray that is supposed to help my nose. But when I get through using it, it seems like I sneeze even more. It makes my nose kind of irritated. I’m not going to mention that if I go back to the immediate care clinic. I don’t want to become known as “The Guy Who is Allergic to Nasonex.”
(I just sneezed again while typing this. I’m not kidding.)
Sneezing is nothing new. It’s mentioned in the Bible. In the book that Job wrote, he describes in great detail a huge creature (like a dinosaur or something) called a leviathan. I don’t have any idea what a leviathan looked like, but one thing I do know is that the leviathan was sneezing. “His sneezings flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning” (Job 41:18, NKJV). I wonder why they never make a Sunday School picture card of a biblical Tyrannosaurus Rex with hay fever?
I believe that in every situation, there is always something to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful that I have the “least bad” of the involuntary bodily interruptions. What I mean is, in my book, coughing is worse than sneezing. Hiccups that won’t go away are worse than sneezing, too. And, it doesn’t have to be explained that vomiting (and the ailment that often accompanies it) are both a lot worse than sneezing. We can all be thankful that each sneeze is over quickly. Scientists tell us that a sneeze travels at about 200 miles per hour. Then you can resume what you were doing before you felt a tickle in your nose.
Perhaps the best fringe benefit of being a sneezer is that people everywhere “bless you” a lot. In life it’s nice to be blessed when you sneeze—but even nicer to be blessed when you’re not sneezing. Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) is a favorite of mine. In it, Boaz is coming to work in the morning, and he blesses his employees. Then his employees bless him back.
Wouldn’t that be a great place to work? What if we all adopted that as the pattern for our lives? Better yet, what if in our daily lives we blessed everyone we came in contact with both our kind words and our loving deeds? What a wonderful world it would be!
(And that is nothing to sneeze at.)
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the warm climate makes Benadryl one of the daily “Food Groups”.) The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.