5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”
7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
I love living in Mississippi.
We have a groovy thing going on here in this State. It’s a great place to raise your kids, and my sons have had a blast growing up here. When they were in grade school, I worried that they might be missing out on something growing up out-in-the-country in the Deep South.
I had a job offer in a large city, and briefly considered it. But when the boys caught wind of the possibility of a relocation, they quickly shut down that idea. They both wanted to stay in Mississippi where they had always lived.
I went to college in Mississippi, so I’ve basically been here since I graduated high school in 1979. As I look back, I see 34 years of love, joy, harmony, and friendship with the diverse folks that make up this great State. There really is such a thing as “Southern hospitality” and we’d love to have you come see us.
Even though it seems like the national media is pretty negative about us sometimes, we’re okay with that, too. If you don’t love us, it’s probably best for you to stay where you are. Just stay put, and don’t come here and mess up the good things that we’ve got going on. To be truthful, I can only think of two negative things about living in Mississippi.
First of all, it gets really hot here in the summer. And second, sometimes it is a little hard to make a living—you have to work hard and be resourceful. Other than that, we like to think that Mississippi is America’s best kept secret.
Amongst the general population, Mississippi has some of the worlds’ best cooks and best cooking. A friend of ours went to famous restaurant run by a celebrity cook who is known for her Southern delicacies. When asked how she liked her meal there, our friend replied, “It was very, very good. But you can get the same thing at your Mammaw’s. And it doesn’t cost $25 and you don’t have to wait in line.”
There are so many good Southern people that live here in Mississippi. They fall into a category that I refer to as “God-fearing-and-decent.” The go to Sunday school and church, and Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, and they take their children with them. They work hard for a living, and pay their bills, and take care of their neighbors. It’s nice living in a place where “the good ol’ days” aren’t exactly gone yet.
The best thing of all? For so many in Mississippi, faith is still a part of daily life. Back in December, I passed our local BP station and smiled when I saw the message on their marquee:
KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS
NO ETHANOL IN GAS
Does that seem absurd to you? I must confess, having lived in the Deep South for so long, it makes perfect sense to me. What do those two sentiments have in common?
Just this—to folks running the gas station, both of these facts are equally and unequivocally true. That is to say:
1) There is no corn-derived-alcohol in their gasoline,
2) Jesus Christ is the Lord of all Creation.
Something about that makes me want to say, “This is the Gospel. Thanks be to God.” It’s the kind of faith that proclaims that the truths found in the Scriptures are really and truly true—even in the everyday lives. And it’s the kind of faith that is most pleasing to the Lord: A faith that is learned on Sunday—and then lived out on the other six days of the week.
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 public school football games still open with prayer, but if you’re from the federal government I just made that part up….) 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.