Devotion in Motion: What I’m wishing for right now

7 ¶ When a man’s ways please the LORD,

      He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.     Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

When my sister and I were young adults, she told me, “John, you make me sick. You always get what you want.  If you want something, you always wind up getting it, one way or another. You always get your wish…the job…the award…the girl. It’s nauseating.” I assured her that she was exaggerating and chalked the rest of it up to my being the youngest grandchild in the whole family. After all, doesn’t the baby in the family get everything he wants?

But later, after I had some time to think about it, I realized that I have had an awful lot of good things come my way in life. And I did manage to wind up with “the girl.” (That in itself looks pretty improbable on the face of it.) So, I began to wonder, “What if I really do always get what I wish for?” I realized the importance of using my powers for good, not evil.

So, ever since then, I’ve always tried to wish for very, very good things. And I’ll tell you what I’m wishing for this Christmas. The thing I want in my stocking is political. I’m wishing for Christian candidates who bear the Fruit of the Spirit. 

Really, the “Christian” part of my wish is easy, isn’t it? Almost all of the candidates claim to be Christians. They attach themselves to some denomination because nobody wants to identify as an atheist, or an agnostic, or a cannibal. But I don’t want leaders who are Christians in name only. I want their lives to show evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit. St. Paul said the Fruit of the Spirit is:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness and
  9. Self-Control

Think of all of the politicians that come to mind. Then compare them to each of those virtues, one at a time. Hmmm….

Now, some people will say that bearing the Fruit of the Spirit is not compatible with good leadership in a nation. Oh, how far that is from the truth! I can supply you with many positive examples in our nation’s recent history.

Take, for instance, President Jimmy Carter. He is a devout Southern Baptist. His faith helped to make mainstream the phrase “born-again Christian.” When he was President, he went to church every Sunday and taught his Sunday school class. He admitted to a national magazine that he wanted to live a life of holiness but it was a daily struggle. (Sounds like what all true Christians confess to.) His life was a model of gentleness and purity.

A couple of years ago, my older son Spencer ran into President Carter as he was leaving a meeting in Memphis. He smiled at Spencer and gave him a cheerful “Good morning!” The former President was 92 years old at the time. He had come to Tennessee to help build houses for “Habitat for Humanity.”

The events of this past week have made us all aware of another positive example of faith in public life.  President George Herbert Walker Bush was a devout Episcopalian. He lived such a loving Christian life that even his opponents adored him. The thing he wanted more than anything else was to be reunited with his late wife, Barbara, and his daughter, Robin, who died at age 4 of leukemia. President Bush was a man of faith and knew that he would receive this; as a Christian he lived with the sure hope of The Resurrection of the Body.

As long as I’m wishing for things, I think I’ll add one more thing. What if the Christians who are part of the news media were bearers of the Fruit of the Spirit, too? It used to be common. Walter Cronkite is a great example. With his family he attended Episcopalians services each Sunday; he shed Christian tears-of-kindness when he gave our nation the news of JFK’s assassination. We could use a lot more of that sort of thing.

By the way, I’m just kidding you with all the talk about “wishing.” Mr. Rogers said, “Wishing never makes it so” and he’s right. Instead, I intend to make this a matter of earnest prayer, and I hope you’ll join with me.  Nothing is impossible with God. And I can’t imagine a better gift the Lord could send our nation.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 33 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the preacher was surprised to hear the interview where even Cher said she loved President George H.W. Bush.) You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.