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Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.


Hebrews 2:17
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sinful people.


Words That End in ful…..


I finally got my chance to be on the big game show!  Not the one where you dress up like a clown or in some other amusing costume.  Not the one where you bid on a prize against other contestants and hope not to overbid by even one dollar.  Not the one where you guess letters of the alphabet and a lady dressed in an elegant evening gown serves as an assistant to the host and reveals the letters.  No, I was going to the big one, the one where knowledge is a must.  The other shows involved a little luck and who needs luck when you have knowledge?


I don’t want to sound boastful but on this game show I’d get the chance to illustrate my smarts sort of!  I had prepared for this day nearly all my life studying world events, educating myself about every conceivable medical condition, becoming a know-it-all within the world of sports.  I was the most prepared contestant ever to stand before the six columns of categories that each had five hidden answers on the big blue screen of Jeopardy!


This was my chance to shine, and shiny I was!  I wore a stylish pin-stripe suit with a bold colored tie.  My bling included an oversized wristwatch and a lapel pin that was sure to sparkle under the studio lights!  Even my rings would impress the others!  Truth be told, (it doesn’t hurt to be truthful every now and then) all those ornaments of adornment were fake, nothing more than `costume jewelry I picked up on the cheap at the flea market.  But no one needed to know, this was all for show!


I spent my time in the Green Room, (that’s what they call the waiting room on the game show circuit) enjoying a feast of fresh fruits and veggies and all kinds of goodness in appetizers and hors d’oeuvres that awaited the three chosen competitors for the taping of the show.  Funny thing though, I was the only one in the room except for some little old lady sitting quite proper in one of the comfortable chairs in the room.  Must be the attendant for the buffet was my thought or maybe the maid.


I think I overate on the complimentary delicacies but something like this doesn’t happen often so I wrapped some more goodies in napkins and stuffed my pockets for a snack for a little later just in case.  A voice from a wall mounted speaker alerted me that it was time to head to the studio for the show!  Moments later an attendant came to the door to serve as my escort.  I checked my face and front of my suit for crumbs at a mirror and made my way down the hall on my way to victory!


The set was a little different than what I was used to seeing on television.  First, there were only two podiums for contestants and the big blue answer board had just three categories.  I found that rather peculiar.  The studio lights were so bright I couldn’t see anyone in the audience.  A few moments later the little old lady came out and took her place at the second podium.  Oh geez, is she the other contestant?  Pitiful sight she was hardly could stand up straight and not nearly tall enough to speak into the microphone.  Here I was dressed to the hilt and all she wore was a plain white robe-looking dress.


Without much fanfare the game show host came out.  He wasn’t the regular guy either.  Dressed in a nice yet simple white suit with a red rose sticking from his lapel he welcomed the two of us to this special edition of Jeopardy.  I glanced down at my apparent opponent observing her carefully.  Her fingers showing the effects of arthritis clung to the podium.  I thought there was no way she could beat me to the buzzer, this was going to be a cake walk!  Everything seemed sort of surreal, the unfamiliar host, the frail opponent, the shorter answer board, but it was game on!


The host revealed the three categories:  Women of Calcutta, Words that end in “ful” and Give ‘em Hell.  Next were the introductions.  The host preferred to go by his initials JC, then me, Big D and finally the homely woman said her name was Teresa.


I won the coin toss and chose Give ‘em Hell for two hundred dollars.  JC read the answer, “a braggart”.  Before I could hit my buzzer, my fair opponent beat me to the punch and softly replied, “What is boastful?”  Correct!  Ironically, she chose Women of Calcutta for eight hundred and again outplayed me.  In fact, she cleaned my clock in that category.  Even with all my preparation I wasn’t too knowledgeable about anything happening in Calcutta.


Next Teresa chose Words that end in “ful” for four hundred.  “The answer is, believing firmly in something or somebody, especially God.”  Without hesitation she scored with, “What is faithful, JC?”  I scratched my head.  My hands felt a little clammy.  My level of confidence was shrinking with each of her responses.  I wasn’t winning.  I was beginning to have an awful feeling in my gut.


JC read the next answer, “The shepherds were this by night.”  Ding, ding.  “What is watchful?” the saintly women chimed in.  I pulled my silk handkerchief from my pocket and wiped my sweaty brow.  This whole thing was turning into a dreadful experience.  As she continued to roll through the categories, Teresa picked a Double Jeopardy for one thousand dollars.  “These two thieves hung at the crucifixion, one to the left and one to the right.  What were they?”  Without pause Teresa replied, “What is sorrowful (expressing great remorse) and spiteful (full of petty malice).”  My feelings went from dreadful to pitiful to woeful quite suddenly.  Teresa glimpsed at me and winked.  She had sort of an angelic look about her.  JC just chuckled at the score!


Ever mindful that I was running out of time to be the champion, I quickly rebounded with a couple of correct answers in the Give ‘em Hell category.  I was hopeful that I could still peel off a victory.  I secretly rubbed the rabbit’s foot I had in my pants pocket.  JC revealed the categories for Round Two and to my utter amazement the second two were the same!  The first category was replaced with Signs of a Sinner all ending with ful!  The little lady that now seemed to stand ten feet tall danced through them with ease.  Deceitful; intentionally misleading someone.  Sinful; engaged in behavior that goes against the law or teachings of God.  Hurtful; causing pain or suffering to others.  Embarrassed and full of shame, yeah, shameful, I hung my head and admitted defeat.  The prize I desired was not to be.  No glory for an attitude lacking gratitude.


This beautiful modest lady had shown me something about myself.  I reluctantly congratulated her on besting me and as we parted I mumbled, “I could use a little compassion here!”  Teresa turned and stoically replied, “Merciful, Big D.  The Lord!  The Lord is kind and merciful!”


I was stirred by the gentle nudge of my bride, “Honey, wake up!  Did you enjoy your nap?  Jeopardy is about to start.  You looked like you were having a dream!”


So friend, which category do you mostly identify with?  Can you respond like Teresa to be thankful, joyful, see the Lord as bountiful?  Or has it been more of a shameful ordeal for you?  Can you recognize those times when you were hurtful to others or deceitful to yourself?  Are you able to turn to a merciful God?  He’s not hidden behind a big blue screen of clues.  He’s here, within you and among you!  Beautiful!  Just beautiful!


We can learn a lot from the little Saint from Calcutta can’t we?  I have!






© 2011


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