December 2009 Linn County Leader Column: “A Promise”

December 30, 2009

Oftentimes I let my thoughts wander to a time roughly three-plus decades ago, when life seemed simpler, and neighbors actually interacted with one another. Local mom-and-pop stores were the norm, and entertainment consisted of the local drive-in or walk-in theaters or roller-skating.

Alas, times have indeed changed. We are in a land where Nintendo Wii’s, Playstations, and X-boxes fill our homes, high-def TV’s are the latest craze, iPhones and Android smartphones are replacing regular “cell” phones, and high-speed Internet makes it possible to shop for everything while wearing your pajamas in the comforts of your home. A socially active society has turned into a lazy, interactive world.

As a minister of the Gospel, I refer to this syndrome as the “unholy trinity” of me, myself, and I, rather than the correct Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We’ve gone from the mindset of focusing on the Lord, family and friends to a sad and confusing way of asking, “What’s in it for me?”

So what can be done about this abysmal slide into selfishness?

Well, let’s take one thing for an example…remember Sundays? It was a time when everyone went to church as a family and worshipped together, instead of making excuses to stay at home. Businesses actually CLOSED for the day! Our sanctuaries were full of people genuinely seeking fellowship; and, afterwards, made the short hop to grandma’s house for a good home-cooked meal and time with family. Nowadays, we have the extravagance of 24-hour shopping, catching a flick at the movie theater, eating at a local restaurant, etc. Our way of living has turned into a convenient means to feed our bellies while dulling our minds.

Yet, my friends, there is a way we can reverse this process…and that is by remembering what is important in our lives. Instead of us being an impatient, imperfect people of overflowing landfills and wasteful spending…perhaps we should be content with what we have and try our best to practice conservation of our natural resources; practice being “green” instead of “GREEDY.” Go to church more; eat less; show more kindness; share love with one another: in short, practice what we tend to preach to others.

You know, the New Year is fast approaching, and many people are making “resolutions” that they will do their best to keep. Some succeed, while others fail. Many times, some simply toss them by the wayside and pick them up a scant twelve months later.

For me, I am not making any resolutions; instead, I am going to make a promise to God to truly “practice what I preach.” Because, you see, this servant needs to live his life better for Christ, for family and friends, and for this beautiful creation that was given to us. There’s a lot of life still to come, and lots of work to do for the Kingdom…so it’s time to act, to interact, and then to react and make a change in this world.

Something like this might seem to start out small, but even snowballs rolling down a hill are small at first; once they gets rolling, though, they become a huge mass and a mighty force to be reckoned with.

So make a promise for the New Year, folks. Promise to live a better life for your Lord, and for yourself, your family and friends. Do a random act of kindness for someone without wanting anything in return. Exercise more, eat less, and live healthier.

It will work wonders!!

Until next month, be blessed!

Richard is a regular monthly columnist for the Linn County Leader. You can reach him via email at, or via his online blog at