I could go back and look it up. But, too lazy to do the responsible thing, I’ll tell you the story from Rick Lance and take the chance of repeating myself.

Rick was quoting Robert Smith, a writer with the Minneapolis Tribune, whose daughter was approaching her third birthday. The parents were planning a birthday party for her, but she began to rebel. “I’m not through being two yet!” she insisted.

Dad went through the calendar with her, explaining how life works. “When we get to that day,” he said, “you will be three.”

She stood there with arms crossed looking like a midget Patton and said, “I don’t care what that calendar says. I’m not through being two yet.”

So, the Smith family canceled the party and went on treating their daughter as a two-year-old.

Dr. Lance commented, “Some people refuse to go into the future.” The Israelites under Moses (Numbers 14) recoiled from the future because they were fearful, forgetful, and unfaithful. (You may thank Alabama Baptists’ Rick Lance for that good outline.)


Ray Stedman, longtime California pastor and author of numerous Bible study books and now in Heaven, once said, “The church today seems to exist to run the Sunday morning meeting. It reminds me of a fellow who was given a tour of an oil refinery. After seeing the acres of machinery, he asked his host, ‘Where is the shipping department? I’ve seen everything else.'”

The man said, “We don’t have one.” “You don’t have a shipping department? Why not?”

“Because,” the man said, “it takes all the oil we produce to run the machinery we have here.”

Later in that message, Dr. Stedman told “how the church government fell into Romanism.” (To our Catholic readers, he’s not putting down your church. He’s analyzing how the early church eventually became so centralized in its government that the bishops and finally Rome ruled.) He says, “The laity in early centuries were largely ignorant, incompetent, and indifferent, and so it all fell into the hands of the priests.”

He adds, “This is bad for the priests and devastating for the church. But it’s deadly to the laity.”


Have you ever heard of a Hollywood movie director named Allen Smithee? Maybe you’ve seen some of his work. Actually, you haven’t. He doesn’t exist. Here’s the story.

The May 1988 edition of Reader’s Digest told of “Hollywood’s Worst Director.” Movies to the credit of Allen Smithee include “Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home,” “Ghost Fever,” and “Death of a Gunfighter.”

In 1967, a dispute arose in the filming of “Death of a Gunfighter” between the director and the star, Richard Widmark. So when the director refused to put his name on the film, the studio made up the name “Allen Smithee.” Ironically, critics ended up giving Smithee high marks for his first film.

Since that time whenever a film is so bad that the director disowns it and wants to disassociate himself from it, it becomes an Allen Smithee production.

I’ve preached sermons written by that man.


This man bought a pig and trained him to obey simple commands. One day he decided to take the little swinester back to the farm to visit his siblings and friends. Within minutes, he knew he had made a mistake because in the pen with a hundred other pigs, he could not tell which was his. Then he had a bright idea. He called out, “Sit!” One little pig sat down.

Paul said, “I wrote to you that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things.” (II Corinthians 2:9)


A visitor asked the prison guard. “What do you do about the tough guys?” “That’s no problem,” he said. “If they don’t behave, out they go!”

The wife said to her husband: “What a coincidence — you forgot my birthday and I forgot how to cook!”

The patient walked out of the doctor’s office with the prescription in his hand. The doctor’s scrawl was so bad, its message was illegible. He dropped it in his pocket and promptly forgot about it. However, every morning for two years thereafter, the fellow showed it to the conductor on the railroad as a free pass. Twice it got him into the movies, once into a ball park, and once into a symphony. He showed it to the cashier at work as approval from the boss for a raise and got one. One day, he mislaid it. His daughter picked it up, played it on the piano, and won a scholarship to a conservatory of music.

Go ahead and eat it. If you don’t, it’s just postponing the inedible.

Grandpa was telling another of his interminable stories. Grandma called out to one of the kids, “Do something! Go in there and head him off at the past.”

Our doctor is a man of great faith. He once operated on a malpractice attorney.

Dad told a friend, “I have two kids in college. The doctor says I’m suffering from maltuition.”

During the 1930s when Winston Churchill’s career was stagnant, the local minister visited him at his Chartwell home and invited him to services. “It will be good having you as a pillar of our church,” he said. The future prime minister responded, “I’m not a pillar. I’m a buttress. I support the church from the outside.”

The ancients had a saying about cities: “Magna Civitas, Magna Solitudo.” A great city, a great loneliness. True of some, not of all. Usually, it’s pretty much up to us, I suppose.

Last one.

During the Revolutionary War, the American army was fighting near Philadelphia. A soldier was court-martialed and sentenced to die. At his hometown of Ephrata in Lancaster County, he owned a pitiful record as a citizen. When news of his situation reached Ephrata, a respected town leader named Peter Miller walked to Washington’s headquarters. He interceded with the general, asking that the man be pardoned or the sentence reduced. With his usual firmness, Washington turned him down. “I am sorry that I cannot do this for your friend.”

The man said, “Friend? He is not my friend. He was my deadly enemy.”

Washington was so moved to find one obeying the Lord’s command to “love your enemies, do good to them” that he wrote out an order to pardon the man.

Mark Twain once wrote that an inmate of an insane asylum gave him this line concerning forgiveness: “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heels that crushes it.”

2 thoughts on “Lightness

  1. I was wondering who had written so many of my sermons. Surely not I. Thanks, Mr. Smitheree. (Is there an agony like being in the middle of a sermon that is a dud? Praise God, those I think are falling flat sometimes get the best public results. Wonder who’s responsible for that?

  2. The Mark Twain quote is very nice and inspires me to share one of my favorites with you. “Forgetfulness is the weed that grows in the stony soil of the heart that is without tenderness.” (author unknow – at least to me)

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