In our Bible, in Acts 18:26, it teaches about the Way of God. The Way is
capitalized because it is a system of working your life. Now I turn to “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No John 14:6-7, “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” There is a trinity of living there – the way, the truth, and the life. These verses say: may someone say of you, truly you are the way of God – in the way you do business, in the way you treat your family and your
friends. May they say you are truthful and may they say you are living the life of God. May you follow Jesus in doing this, by becoming this yourself. When they see you, they are not seeing Jesus, they are not seeing you, but they are seeing God’s ways.
The Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883. It was an engineering miracle and I am going to explain why. When John Roebling was inspired for the idea of the Brooklyn Bridge, he took the idea to the greatest engineers of the day. The engineers told him, “No way, it can’t be done.” They told the bankers who were financing the project, “No way, it can’t be done.” But John Roebling believed in his idea. He thought he was inspired by God with the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Finally, he got the funding to go ahead. Roebling convinced his son, Washington Roebling, an up-and-coming engineer, that the bridge could be built. The two of them conceived the concept of how it could be accomplished and how to overcome the obstacles.
After the financing was arranged, they got started. With unharnessed excitement and energy, they hired a crew and began to build their dream bridge.
The project was only a few months underway when a tragic on-site accident killed John Roebling and severely injured his son. Washington was severely brain-damaged. He was unable to talk, or walk. Everyone thought the project would have to be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones in the whole world who knew how to build a bridge of this expanse. Everyone said it could not be done. They said no-way.
Washington Roebling prayed to God. He had a problem. He could not talk; he could not move anything in his body except for his little finger. He still had the dream of building the bridge. People would visit him and say, “You have got to give up your dream. You can’t talk; you can’t walk; you can’t move; no one else in the world knows how to build this bridge. How can you expect to still build it?”
His wife said, “He has been told by God to build this bridge.”
Over the next couple of years, working with his wife, Washington devised a code. She would put his hand on her arm and he would tap out a code with the one finger. His mind was still sharp, but he could not move his body except for this one finger. He proceeded to build his bridge through his little finger and his wife. No other engineer on the whole planet knew how to build this bridge except for his finger and his sharp mind. It took 13 years of communicating in code with his one finger to build the Brooklyn
Bridge, but he did it; rather God did it, through him.
Yes, there is a way!
There are many times in our lives when things happen to us. An event happens in our lives and we say, “Oh dear, that’s it.” An event in our lives that seems horrible at the time.
An event can be a millstone around your neck, or it can be a milestone.
You can take what God has given you and allow God to come through and God will come through, even if it is through your little finger.
God uses what we have, and gets through what we have, so that the world can have more.
When you are wave-maker, you are in the way. When you are believing others, saying, “You can’t do that.” Negative thinking is in the way. Or when you are standing against yourself saying, “No-Way, because of my environment or because of this situation or that situation, I can’t do that.” You make waves for yourself. When you stand up against progress, you are in the way of a problem-solving God.
At the beach, when you are standing on the sand, a wave comes up quickly. It looks large; it looks ominous, but it quickly disappears. When you are on the way, the way of God, it does not quickly disappear. God works through you. You ride the crest of the miracle wave that does not disappear. We are committing to be on the way of God.
George was a wave-maker. He was on the Board of Trustees of a church. The Board at this particular church had six members. Five of the members would be unanimously for something – something good and positive. George would stand up and vote against it. One time, he was asked, “George, how can you be against this particular good thing?”
He said, “I didn’t want it to be a one-sided vote.”
George stirred up trouble for years in the ministry. When everyone was in favor of something, George would be against it. But it was not only at church that George did this, it was in his business, the social club where he was a member, and also, in his home.
I am very grateful to people such as George, because they have been such great teachers for us. They were great teachers because what disturbs us most about them, is we see aspects of ourselves in them.
Sometimes the waves we create block ourselves. It stops our progress and it makes us miserable.
Yes there is a way people:
Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.
Here a story about the great poet Maya Angelou. When she was young, her grandmother raised her in Stamps, Arkansas. Her grandmother had a particular routine when people who were known to be whiners entered her store. Whenever the grandmother saw a complainer coming, she would call Maya from whatever she was doing and say, “Sister, come inside, come.”
Maya said, “Of course, I would obey. My grandmother would ask the customer, ‘How are you doing, today, Brother Thomas?’”
“The person would reply, ‘Oh, not so good.’ There would be a distant whine in the voice. ‘Not so good, today, sister Henderson. It’s this summer heat. I hate it so much, it frazzles me up and it frazzles me down. I just hate the heat. It is almost killing me.’
“Then my grandmother would stand, her arms folded, and mumble, ‘Uh huh, uh
huh.’ She would then cut her eyes to me to make certain that I heard the lamentation.
“Another time, a whiner would moan, ‘Oh, I just hate plowing. That packed down dirt, it ain’t got no reasoning; the mules ain’t got no good sense. It’s killing me. I can never seem to get it done. My feet, my hands are sore; I get dirt in my eyes, and I get dirt up my nose. I just can’t stand it. It is killing me.’
“My grandmother again with her arms folded would stand there and say, ‘Uh
huh, uh huh.’ Then she would look at me and nod.
“As soon as the complainer was out of the store, my grandmother would call me to stand in front of her and then she would say the same thing she had said a thousand times before. ‘Sister, did you hear what brother complained about?’
“I would nod, ‘Yes, Grandma.’
“Grandma would continue, ‘Sister, there were people who went to sleep last night, all over the world – rich and poor, black and white – they will never wake up again. Sister, those expected to rise did not; their beds became cooling boards and their blankets became their winding sheets. Those dead folks would give anything for just five minutes of this weather, or ten minutes of plowing the person was grumbling about. You watch yourself about complaining, Sister. What you are supposed to do when
you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.’”
Maya concludes, “It is said people have few teachable moments in their
lives. Grandma seems to have caught me at each one I had between the ages
of three and thirteen.”
The wave-maker becomes the way-maker when he or she stops seeing the bad
and focusing on the bad and focuses all talk on God instead. The wave-maker becomes the way-maker when he or she stops criticizing and tearing down and thinks only about building up themselves and others through talk and action.
Always see the WAY!
The Wrecking Crew
I stood on the streets of a busy town
Watching men tear a building down
With a “heave, ho” and a loud yell
They swung a beam and an entire section fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are those men as skilled
As those you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
”No way,” he said, “no indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can tear down as much in a day or two
As it would take skilled men a year to do.”
And then I thought as I went on my way,
Which of these two roles do I choose to play?
Do I walk life’s road with love and care
Striving to build. . .encourage. . .and share?
Or am I one who roams the town,
Content with merely tearing down?
Recently, a man was at a pool clubhouse and was on a chair that only had three good legs. He noticed this right away, so he braced his foot against the other, so he would not fall onto the floor. We all need a foundation to sit on. A chair is good when it has four legs. The person who is the wave-maker has one foundation leg as criticism. The person who is the wave-maker has one foundation leg that is defensiveness. One leg is
contempt and one leg is stonewalling. What happens is all the legs are weak and the person will – sometime, someplace – when they least expect it, fall down. Then they will have to question their values. I suppose that is good. That is what happened to George.
Over the years, George started to change. Thank God the message of spirituality took hold. Instead of being a wave-maker, he became a way-maker. To become a way-maker we have to change the foundation of our lives.
The four major foundation legs of our lives.
1) The first leg is love. This is the bridge builder among us which will allow us to build bridges to other people, not burn them down.
2) The second leg has to be trust. You have to be brave enough as a child of God to realize that each of us is a child of God, and we have to trust in humanity, trust in others.
3) The leg of this foundation has to become respect for other people, respect for
yourself, and a desire to build up instead of tear down.
4) The fourth leg is the promoter. It is the promoter of ourselves and other people.
When you have those four legs in position, you can sit in your chair and it will never fall. The foundation will grow even stronger as life goes on. It will be the foundation of your life.
George asked his minister many times, “How do I change?” He would change on one point, but it would be short-lived and he would fall again. Finally, his minister said something that was inspired by God and George got it. His minister said, “George, become a WAY person.”
Mark 9:33-37 The disciples are following Jesus on the way.
They are attending their church. They are following their master.
“Then they came to Capernaum; and when He was in
the house He asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But
they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about
who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them,
‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all, and servant of all.’ Then
He took a little child and put it among them; and taking the child in His arms,
He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me,
and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not Me, but the one who sent Me.’”
They were not enjoying the way, they were arguing on the way. Can you hear them now? “Well, I’m the greatest because Jesus likes me best.”
“Oh no,” another says, “I’m the greatest because Jesus said this to me
three weeks ago.”
Another one said, “Well, I’m the greatest because last night at dinner it
was Jesus who asked me to sit next to him.”
Jesus was saying you must love others; you must promote others. You cannot
exalt yourself; you have to exalt God.
You must see the WAY for others. Never see the walls.
You ARE loving. This is what we serve. We serve love and becoming the way,
the truth, and the life. That is what our purpose is in life.
You can become a way-maker by practicing your spiritual best, not your lower human worst.
I have a story here that Leo Hauser tells in the book, “Five Steps to
Success.” He tells the story about Jim Kaat. Kaat traces his success back
to spring training in 1966. The Twins had acquired a new pitching coach,
Johnny Sain, who silently watched the pitchers perform. One by one, he
called them in for a personal chat.
“Jim,” said Sain, “I’ve been watching you pitch. What are your four best
Kaat, knowing his pitching ability well, responded, “Well, my best pitch is my fast ball, then it would be my curve, my slider, and my change-up.”
Sain said, “What pitch do you spend the most time practicing?”
“My slider and my change-up,” said Kaat. “If I could improve those two
pitches, I know I could have a good season.”
Sain looked at Kaat, pondering his comments, then he responded, “I see it
a little bit differently, Jim. I want you to take a different approach. Work on your fast ball. I know it is your favorite pitch, so go out there and practice and warm up during the games concentrating on your fast ball. Throw your fast ball 80% to 90% of the time, all year long, and you are going to win a lot of games.”
Kaat left Sain’s office stunned. He had expected expert tips on improving his change-up or his slider. At least Sain could have provided technical advice on smoothing out his curve ball. Telling him to do more of what he already did best didn’t make much sense.
That season, Kaat threw fast ball after fast ball. He thought his arm was going to fall off, but he heeded the advice. That year, 1966, Jim Kaat won 26 games and went on to become pitcher of the year in the American League.
My friends, we tend to practice what we are not good at. Practice instead the easiest thing in the world. That is loving yourself, and loving other people. You will find it becomes your greatest strength. If you do this one thing, you will become God’s way-maker.
The wave-maker always tells others they cannot do something, such as the people who told Roebling he could not build his bridge. God’s way-makers always believe in the possibilities.
Kathy Lamancusa tells of her son Joey. When he was born, his feet were twisted upward with the bottoms resting on his tummy. As a first time mother, she thought this looked a bit odd, but she didn’t really know what it meant. It meant that Joey had been born with club feet. The doctors assured her that with treatment he would be able to walk normally, but would never run very well. Joey spent the first three years of his life in surgery, casts, and braces. His legs were massaged; they were worked and
exercised. By the time he was seven or eight years old, you would not even
know he had a problem when he walked.
If he walked great distances, like at amusement parks, or on a visit to the zoo, he complained that his legs were tired and that they hurt. They would stop walking and talk a break for a soda or an ice cream cone and talk about what they had seen, what they had to see. She said, “We didn’t tell him why his legs hurt and why they were weak. We didn’t tell him that this was expected due to his deformity at birth. We didn’t tell him so he didn’t know.
“The children in the neighborhood ran around as most children do during play. Joey would watch them play and of course, would jump right in and run and play, too. We never told him he probably wouldn’t be able to do that, to run as well as the other children. We didn’t tell him he was different. We didn’t tell him so he didn’t know.
“In the seventh grade, he decided to go out for the cross country team. Every day, he trained with the team. He seemed to work harder and to run more than the others. Perhaps he sensed that the abilities which seemed to come naturally to so many others did not come naturally to him. We didn’t tell him that although he could run, he probably would always remain at the back of the pack. We didn’t tell him that he shouldn’t expect to make the team. The team runners are the top seven runners of the school.
Although the entire team runs, it is only those seven who have the potential to score points for the school. We didn’t tell him that probably he would never make the team. And so he didn’t know.
“He continued to run four or five miles a day, every day. I’ll never forget the time when he had 103-degree fever. He couldn’t stay home because he had a cross country practice and I worried about him all day long. I expected to get a call from the school asking me to get him and take him home. No one called.
“I went to the cross country training area after school thinking that if I were there, he might decide to skip practice that evening. When I got to school, he was running alongside of a tree-lined street, all alone. I pulled up alongside of him and drove slowly to keep pace with him as he ran. I asked how he felt. “Okay,” he said. He had only two more miles to go. As the sweat rolled down his face, his eyes were glassy from his
fever, yet he looked straight ahead and kept running. We never told him that he couldn’t run four miles with 103-degree fever. We never told him so he didn’t know.
“Two weeks later, the day before the second to the last race of the season, the names of the team runners were called. Joey was number six on the list. Joey had made the team. He was in seventh grade; the other six team members were all eighth graders. We never told him that he probably shouldn’t expect to make the team. We never told him that he couldn’t do it, so he didn’t know. He just did it.”
Friends, as humans, we have a tendency to give others our opinion. How much better to give others a piece of God’s opinion – which is always optimistic, always positive. God would say to Joey, yes there is a WAY! No matter what you have, no matter what obstacle you have faced, no matter what block has come in your life, through My power you can do all things.
Let us pray.
The great creative energies of God are at work in your life – ever renewing, ever restoring, ever-refreshing.
God, with Your help, I take a fresh look at my life, today. I want to become a positive person that believes there is always a WAY. In this moment of contemplation, I consider in the light of Your love, my habits and my beliefs, my way of acting or reacting. May I realize my life is not just mechanical and repetitive; I have a choice in the moment of the great creative energies of the Divine. I thank You for always being at work in my life, ever new and ever fresh. God, Your eternal power will continue to blossom forth, filling me with a victorious spirit, with perseverance needed to reshape habits, with an appreciation of all of Your life’s blessings.
I decree in Jesus Christ’s name that God’s great creative energies spring forth new within you. God’s power is present within you and you are capable of rising up. God fills you with new Divine hope and new Divine enthusiasm for your life. Through the power of God, you become the WAY-maker for the people you touch.
In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
God bless you!