Tag Archives: priorities

A Wise Answer to a Thought-provoking Question

Surely everyone who spent much time growing up in the western world in the 20th century knows a universal law which is almost as time-tested as the Law of Gravity. It is this: Thou shalt not throw out old National Geographic magazines. Doing so may not be illegal; it is just not something that civilized people of good upbringing would ever do.

In fact, I can’t remember who I heard propounding this theory—maybe a leading scientist like Garrison Keillor—but I think it explains rising waters and land subsidence at our coastlines far better than global warming. The theory is that the oceans are not rising at all; the continents are slowly sinking due to the weight of all the National Geographics stored in people’s garages.

The garage is where I’d go as a kid to read when I got bored and was fresh out of Sugar Creek Gang books. That’s where the old National Geographics were.

Right beside them were shelves of old Reader’s Digests. Anyone who would throw a stack of RD’s away might not be as depraved as a person who’d throw away National Geographics, but I still wouldn’t trust such a person with small children.

I’m well aware that Reader’s Digest is not recognized far and wide as our culture’s most respected repository for fine literature. But what do I know? I’m an old English major. And you may read that however you wish. It might mean that I’m well on the way to being old. It might also mean that I much prefer English literature that’s stood the test of time and been around for a long time. It might even mean that my literary tastes are so ancient that I still much prefer poems that rhyme.

But whatever his or her tastes in literature, anyone who is too high brow to enjoy a run through Reader’s Digest’s “Laughter, the Best Medicine” is too full of themselves.

That’s very likely the RD feature I was aiming at when, a few years ago, I ran across an article entitled, “Answered! Life’s 25 Toughest Questions,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas who writes their “Ask Laskas” column. And I really liked her answer to this question: “Do you have to love your job?”

Part of her answer: “No. Love your children, your spouse and your country. Love your parents, your neighbor and your dog. Loving is too important an emotion to attach to the way you make a living. But it’s OK to strive for satisfaction.” And according to her research, a majority of folks do find job satisfaction, which is nice to know.

In my list, I’d put “Love the Lord” first, and I’d add, Love your church.” But I like what she says. And she made me think a little.

Christians are supposed to do a good job at work, working “as unto the Lord.” But that does not mean approaching our work as if it was our Lord.

When you work, work well. I do hope you really like your work. But don’t forget to go home. The folks there are worth your love.


      You’re invite to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!


Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


What Is Truly Precious Can’t Be Stuffed Into a Bag

It’s time again for me to try to tame my computer bag. I already know I’ll fail. This bag will not be tamed. It eats stuff. While I’m not looking, it chomps down on gizmos and gadgets, cords and files, sticky notes and cough drops, until its weight gain and bloating become hazardous to my health.

So a couple or three times a year, rather than hire a fork lift or chiropractor, I try to tame it with a full-on tactical purge. If I can find the computer, I pull it out. I open the bag’s pockets and spill out everything else. I pretend I’m twins. Half of me is a little blue-haired 95-year-old lady carrying a heavy handbag. And half of me is the TSA agent spotting her at the airline gate as a possible terrorist whose bag must be completely gutted lest national security be compromised.

Then comes Judgment Day. What stuff will I stuff back in? What will get tossed out? I need my wife’s help for the culling. Sadly, she only throws away good stuff. (Case in point: A perfectly good recliner with only a spring or two blown sits out near the dumpster. I wish they’d take it away. I get nostalgic when I see it. One evening last week I took the trash out and then just sat in our faithful old recliner to watch the sunset.)

Before the Judgment, though, comes a serious inventory. That part is always interesting. I like it because I usually find stuff I thought I’d lost.

Since I recently replaced my old and better computer bag this inventory is lighter than usual. But still I found one computer and cord, a wall calendar, an old church newsletter, an old Sunday bulletin and “order of service,” planning stuff for six weeks of sermons, a Kindle, two external hard drives and cables for the same, two iPod devices and cables, disposable contact lenses, reading glasses, five highlighters, a wad of cough drops, three cigarette lighters (no cigarettes but cave drawings prove that real men have always felt better with fire and a knife handy and maybe a pipe so peace could break out), nine plastic zip bags full or empty, one digital recorder and cable, two flashlights, one laser pointer, five church “lists” of various sorts, one Book of Common Prayer, ear plugs, ear buds (one good set and one cheap set), 12 hard copies of old newspaper columns, file folders for one sermon and one Christian Appeal issue, a master copy of my new music CD, two hard copies of the CD’s cover layout, two bottles of super glue, a checkbook, a phone charger, kleenex, sticky notes, paper clips, three flash drives, and . . . more.

Ya think I don’t know how to travel light? I’ll never make fun of any gal’s bulging purse.

One of these days all of my stuff—bagged or not—will get parceled out to my kids. They’re smart enough to know that most of it will be outdated and worthless junk. Dumpster fodder.

The inventory that matters will be conducted by the One who reminds me that what is truly precious can’t be stuffed into any bag. It matters much more and weighs a lot less than what I try to lug around down here.



Copyright 2012 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!  Thanks!

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