Ten years ago, I wrote a column titled “Fifty reasons why I love her,” in honor of my wife’s 50th birthday. Today I add ten more reasons why I love my best friend, Cindy, as we are just days away from another milestone. You can count them if you like, but trust me, there are sixty. The verse fragments that are mixed in come from 1 Corinthians 13, the J. B. Phillips translation.
She is beautiful. In fact, Cindy is the best looking sixty-year-old I know. Her smile lights up a room and warms my heart. She has a great sense of humor, evidenced by the fact that she laughs at my jokes. Many people don’t (have a great sense of humor). She loves our 7 children and was their primary teacher for more than 30 years. Cindy is a great grandmother…or, a grandmother who is great. She loves to Facetime with our daughter and three granddaughters in Kansas. She keeps our five local grandchildren every Wednesday so that our sweet daughter-in-law can get a break. She cares for needs in the church, is the women’s ministry director at Antioch and excels in her work. Not easily offended, she looks for ways to overlook it when others do her wrong. Cindy sings or hums when she is happy, and sometimes when she is not. She went to Carolina, and though she doesn’t care about the teams like I do, she still cares…some. A little. Cindy helps me with my writing (except this column and the one ten years ago), and sometimes with my sermons. She is a great listener. She is able to give tough love when needed, and sadly I need it way too often. She is quick to forgive. Cindy reads voraciously but eats carefully. She is intentional about making sure her husband eats healthy, too. She loves good music, loves Holden Beach, and loves to go on long walks with me. Cindy does not notice when others do her wrong. She is slow to lose patience.
Cindy will cry during sad movies and laugh out loud until it hurts during funny ones. She is particular about keeping a clean house…but this does not paralyze her from having people over for a meal and good fellowship around the table. Cindy goes on a weekly date with me, and Saturday morning breakfast has become our favorite. We go right after ballroom; yep, I have been stepping on her toes for three years as I slowly learn to look like I am doing the waltz. Or the Cha-Cha. Cindy has good friends she loves and keeps up with. Her wonderful alto voice harmonizes beside me every Sunday morning. She has overcome her fear of public speaking, though it would not be in her top 60 things to do on her sixtieth. Cindy is faithful to pray when someone asks for it, and she does not keep an account of evil. She shares the joy of those who live by the truth.
Cindy is shorter than I am, which comes in handy on the rare occasion when we slow dance at wedding receptions. She loves hot tea, any time of day or night. She also enjoys her favorite coffee shops in town. Cindy keeps a clean house, and a clean heart. She studies her Bible faithfully and lives by what she learns there every day. She keeps up with more podcasts than anyone I know, always eager to learn from others. Cindy has a heart to give to those in need and is willing to go overseas on mission trips with me. She looks forward to the slower pace in the summer, and enjoys picking fresh fruit with her children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren at local farms. Cindy is not anxious to impress, nor does she cherish inflated ideas of her own importance.
Cindy runs three times a week to stay in shape and has run several 5K races. A few years ago, she ran her first half marathon. Cindy stands by me even when others are looking for places to hide. She loves to worship and loves Jesus more than anyone or anything.
Cindy is my best friend and after all these years, she is still my baby girl. Happy birthday, darling.
How many times have you wanted to do the right thing, but you did not do it? You thought about it. You even decided, “Yes, I will do this.” Then the thought fades, the desire dries up, and the next thing you know it is a week later and you remember the desire you had and wonder why you never followed through. “Oh well,” you think. “Maybe this week.”
Follow through. It’s the key step in anything, isn’t it? You have a desire to grow in your knowledge of the Bible? Follow through and read it. You have a desire to be faithful to the local church? Follow through and go. You have a desire to really be a good listener when your spouse wants your attention? Follow through and put the phone (book, newspaper, remote, game controller, whatever) down and listen! You have a desire to be generous in your giving to God’s work? Follow through and give. Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth about giving: “So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” In other words, follow through, church! As the saying goes, “Crying babies and good intentions ought to be carried out immediately.” As Vance Havner said, “Don’t be a son or daughter of ‘I will arise.'” The prodigal son is not famous because he had a desire to repent but never followed through. Interestingly, the prodigal son came home for the very same reason that faithful Christians give: because he knew the father first loved him. Alistair Begg said, “It is ultimately what we know of God that stirs our heart to the necessity of generous giving.” Do we know God in such a way that has freed us up to give ourselves and our money generously to Him?
I realized long ago that men are particularly prone to suffer this malady: “If I have thought about it, and agreed that it is a good thing, that’s the same as doing it.” I know women probably do this too, but I don’t have the same sample size on that research. But men do it. A lot. For example, I have thought about being a bold proclaimer of the Gospel with the person in the checkout line, even sometimes to the point that I think I have done it. Often. The truth is, I have done it in my mind 1000 times for every one time I have actually opened my mouth to speak. Here’s another, more personal example. I have realized many times when Cindy and I are having a heart to heart that though I thought I had my FOMO under control and that I really didn’t look at my phone that much when I was around her, that, NOPE. I had to check my bags on Reality Airlines and admit to her, and mostly to myself, that it was a problem. So, I made the promise, again…and told her I might need help and I might go through withdrawals…but that I would put my phone and iPad away when I get home from work, and only check once before bed for urgent messages that need a reply. I still need help with follow-through on that one, I have to confess.
Are you giving? Faithfully and generously to God’s work? If not, then it will take an action plan. Just as I decided to take action with technology, you can begin to take action with your giving. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
What action do you need to take in order to become a faithful giver? It’s all in the follow-through.