Publication: One-to-One, Summer 2007
One of the great composers of the Twentieth Century, George Gershwin, composed these lyrics to accompany a slow, bluesy, atmospheric jazz masterpiece: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high.”
Well, George Gershwin never lived in Mobile, Alabama. In summertime, the living is many things, but “easy” is not always one of them. The temperature is jumping and the humidity is high.
For the record, it is true that the fish are jumping, the water is pretty, the beaches are gorgeous, and the tourists are very happy. As longtime Mobilian Jimmy Buffett once sang, “The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful.”
I’ve never picked cotton, yet. My dad did, though, and it didn’t sound too easy, to hear him tell it. Life in the South in the 1930s and 1940s wasn’t exactly a picnic. And Dad’s mom chopped sugar cane when she was a youngster in south Louisiana back in the 1920s, with little more than a machete and a will to help the family survive.
That was, of course, in the days before air-conditioning. Actually, when my dad was a small boy in Louisiana, his family lived in a small trailer that had no electricity or running water or indoor plumbing. The people in the community collected rainwater in cisterns. One lone shell road led into the remote area, located 50 miles southwest of New Orleans.
I’ve heard my Dad say that his days growing up had more in common with the Bible days than they did with life today as we know it in America in 2007. While that part of Louisiana was not necessarily typical of the technology and lifestyle of most Americans 70 years ago, it is a reminder to us of just how much some things have changed in the intervening decades.
And the changes are much more than technological ones. And while I do give thanks every day for air conditioning, I would not say that all the changes that have happened in our society have been good ones.
My purpose here is not to be nostalgic or to lament the passing of “the good old days,” but to remind us that changes are happening even faster and faster, and we need to be ready for what is ahead of us. Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players in history, said that the key to his success was that other players skated to where the puck was–he skated to where the puck was going to be.
How can we anticipate what will happen next? It strikes me that we get to that place by “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” We must be prophetic. But being prophetic is not merely speaking in a loud or trembly voice in riddles or attempting to “read” people. Prophetic is a lifestyle. It is walking daily with the Lord, in hearing His voice-not only believing in Him, but believing Him enough to act on His will. It is a tangible and practical demonstration of His life in our lives, which draws others towards salvation.
This issue of One-to-One is dedicated to all of those who seek after the One who ran the race, won the prize, and is even now praying for you.
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.