Devotion in Motion: The gift of understanding

1 ¶ O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. ~ Psalm 139:1,2 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Throughout this November, people have been making lists of blessings for which they are thankful. Thankfulness is a holy habit and one that is commended by Scripture. So, today I’d like to mention just one thing that I am particularly thankful for today: I am thankful for you, my loyal readers.

When I started writing my weekly online column 4 ½ years ago, I imagined that only my relatives and church members would read it. But that’s not what has happened at all. I’ve been amazed that my readership comes from all age groups and every walk of life; from places all over the United States and around the globe; from people who have known me all my life, from people I’ve met in the past, and folks who have never met me at all. I’ve found that you, my faithful readers, are a very diverse group.

But, judging from your many comments, emails, and feedback, I believe that you all have something in common: You all “get me.” After all, isn’t that how we choose which columnists we read? When I write something, you read it, and immediately you know where I’m coming from. Then, sometimes you come back the next week to read again. This is a great blessing—the blessing of being valued and understood. It may be the greatest blessing of all. Thank you for that gift.

Back in July, Susan and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. For a present, she bought me something that I have always wanted–a concrete statue of St. Francis of Assisi. I am glad that he is now standing in our flower bed because I have always loved “The Prayer of St. Francis” :

francis_statue_in_garden_large-3Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Did you notice that Brother Francis said it should be our goal to understand others rather than to be understood ourselves? Writing my column has made me realize why this is so. When a person feels he is understood, even in small things, it changes everything. It makes that person feel like their life’s work is worthwhile. That’s why we should daily pray to understand others—because it can make all the difference in the world for them.

So, dear reader, thank you for taking time to read these words each week. Thank you for your kind comments and notes. But most of all, thank you for understanding.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 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, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher’s wife sent “honeybun cake” to school for all the Preacher’s schoolteacher-friends this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at .