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Midweek Musing for 6-16-21

One of the best ever with these snappy one-liners was boxing great Muhammad Ali. Ali always seemed to have a snappy one line and a great delivery. If he had not become the heavy weight champion of the world, he could still have had a career as a debater.

It was rare that someone could come back with a line that would quiet the champ. However, the story is

told of a memorable event when just that very thing happened.

Ali who was not noted for his humility was boarding a commercial airliner. He was of course in first class, and he was resisting the instructions of the flight attendant, who repeatedly told him to buckle his seatbelt stating the plane could not take off until he was buckled up.

Ali looked at her in defiance. “Superman don’t need no seat belt,” he proclaimed, for all the first–class cabin to hear.

The flight attendant, without missing a beat, replied at the same volume, “Well, Superman don’t need no airplane, either. Please buckle up.”

Knowing he had been bested, Ali swallowed his pride and buckled up.

I do not like to admit it, but I know I have a little bit of that same pride in me that Ali demonstrated on that airplane.

And I bet some of you do to.

I have said “oh no I don’t need help” when I indeed I really needed it.

I have not wanted to “bother anyone.”

And have smiled saying “I am fine” when the truth was that I was anything but “fine.”

And truth be told - the same thing has even happened - when I was too arrogant to let go and let God.

I know the text from the 11th Chapter of Matthew and have even preached on it from the pulpit. But more often than I would like to admit I have chosen to ignore these verses where Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Instead, Clay often says “Jesus don’t worry I got this and oh I see these other concerns that aren’t mine well let me grab ahold of those too! Don’t worry God, I am superman, I got this.”

And then when it does not work-out I start acting grumpy and tired and lose my temper and I wonder where God is and shake my fists to the heavens. (Even though I was the one who turned all help away)

I even might snap at a friend or family member in anger because they did not help me. Of course, I told them I was fine and did not need and help and to go away.

Any of you ever been down these self-destructive paths?

Well, if you have then let me offer you the same advice, I often have to remind myself of.

1. People who offer help generally want to give it. If they don’t, they will either create an excuse very quickly or never ask such a question again without meaning it.

2. Most of the time simply the act of sharing burdens with another lightens our load.

3. God not only wants you to share your burdens and worries and concerns it is God’s greatest desire. God desires an intimate relationship with you so much God sent God’s own Son to live and minister and work and die and conquer death so that we might know the very depths of God’s love. In fact, Jesus says to the disciples that he came to be our friend.

4. Additionally, Paul proclaimed, “Nothing in life or death can separate us from God.” We often hear the death part, but it also says life. Friends, no matter what we do or what mistakes we make, God is always available to us. And God will forgive us even when we have turned our back on God offer to help carry our burdens. Even when we arrogantly say to God “I got it without you.”

Just like Muhammad Ali was reminded, none of us are superman (or super woman). We all need to be willing to accept help from other and most importantly God who promises to be with us – in fact to be our friend both now and in the promised day to come.

Thanks be to God that our Lord is such a friend, and that God has also blessed us with such friends in our world who want to support us just like our very Creator.

Alleluia Amen.


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