News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Edwin Jenkins

ABCs for happy school year - and life

Schools all around us have picked up the pace as students have returned for fall. Students are encountering orientation days and will soon be inundated with homework.

In the midst of it all, here at the beginning, we will all do well to pause and consider an appropriate approach to what lies ahead. This applies to students, teachers, parents and, in essence, all of us. Let's use the ABCs to remind us of a possible strategy to use.

A: Adopt a positive attitude in advance. Not everything will be easy or will go well. In fact, some who read these words have probably already encountered several surprises and dilemmas. Such is life.

While we should not minimize the challenges, they must not overcome us. Someone said, "Bumps are what we climb on." We must not become simplistic or deny that problems can be discouraging. Nonetheless, the Bible clearly reminds us over and over in numerous verses and passages that "God will make a way when there seems to be no way."

B: Behave in such a way as to be a blessing. It is easy to look to others expecting them to bless our lives. We often wonder why people do what they do. It can be puzzling when people choose to go against what we expect them to do.

You may recall that in the time-honored comic strip Peanuts, the delightfully assertive heroine Lucy attempted to make money by selling her advice for 5 cents. Charlie Brown may have been her sole client.

Perhaps we should truly forego our “Lucy” expectations from time to time about what others should do. Then we can focus on giving positively to others instead. Maybe we will discover that we will be “most blessed” by seeking to be a blessing to and for others.

C: Commit to developing a caring character. In the ’60s, many church youth groups sang the song “Do You Really Care?” The title of that song provides an appropriate question for all of us.

Apathy and indifference seem to characterize our culture. Because of the busyness of our lives, many of us succumb to being self-absorbed. We need to be reminded that when we focus only on what we need and want, our lives shrink dramatically.

A person whose life is committed to caring looks to the needs of others before his own. Such a person finds unusual liberty by giving himself away.

A: Attitude

B: Behavior

C: Care

Ultimately, these ABCs seem to be three approaches to one goal — living positively and purposefully. Positive and purposeful living defines the truly “good life.” Be a good guy or girl, and you will be happier. It may be simple, but it’s ultimately profound.

The Rev. Edwin Jenkins, pastor of Athens First Baptist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for The Daily. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468.

Rev. Edwin Jenkins Rev. Edwin Jenkins

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