Monday Memo: A Question of Inspiration


A Question of Inspiration

I was thinking...

A friend once said to me “Some people are not going to be happy and satisfied unless they can find something that they are against!” At the time, I found that to be a thought-provoking statement. I have learned across the landscape of life that it seems to be a truism. Some people can’t be happy unless they are against something or someone.

I’d like to counter that truism by asking us the question of inspiration: What inspires me? What inspires you? Children inspire me. They are energetic, creative and, on most days, fun. They can find meaning in what seems odd to us adults. My great nephew finds great joy in what he calls the "wash wash." He is three and loves to watch the washing of clothes through the clear lid of the washing machine. It is fascinating to him. “Uncle Terry, it goes round and round and round!” He says this while he is moving his arm in a circular motion. What may seem like a chore to an adult (washing clothes) is sheer joy to a child. This inspires me to look for joy in the most unlikely places.

Are there any unlikely places around you and me? Go back one hundred+ years and I would venture to guess that a “wash wash” would be an inspiration to everyone. Scrub boards and buckets of soap where laundry was washed by hand might cause one with interest to look closely at a washing machine that would free up hands for other things. It is unclear who invented the first electric washing machine, but some known models were produced in 1907 by Orlando B. Woodrow of the Automatic Electric Washer Company. Mr. Woodrow must have been inspired by something to give his creative energy to such an invention.

Where are the surprises, the unlikely places that might offer us inspiration? During these very hot days, I’m more than grateful to Willis Carrier for inventing the inside cooling of air, aren’t you? Willis Carrier is known as the “Father of Air Conditioning,” inventing the first electrical air conditioning unit in 1902. Thank you, Willis, and to whomever inspired you to apply your creative energy to cooling the air. Your gift is greatly appreciated at our house!

I venture to guess that Orlando B. Woodrow and Willis Carrier spent more of their time being for something than being against something. What do you think? It takes energy to be inspired and it takes energy to be an inspiration, energy that connects a helpful solution with a present need. If they had been against something all the time, they would’ve been less likely to give themselves to helping meet a need.

In Acts 4, the Apostles John and Peter are brought before religious and legal experts of the day to be questioned for healing a forty-year-old man of blindness. The scripture renders the response by Peter in this way, “Then Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered “Leaders of the people and elders, are we being examined today because something good was done for a sick person, a good deed that healed him? If so, then you and all the people of Israel need to know that this man stands healthy before you because of the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is the stone you builders rejected; he has become the cornerstone!” (vv. 8-11 CEB)

Without a doubt the leaders of the Jesus movement in the first century were inspired to be an inspiration. They were “for” something bigger than themselves and with confidence they amazed and inspired those who had eyes to see and ears to hear in surprising and unlikely ways and places. May it be so for those of us who are leaders in the Jesus movement in the 21st century. The world’s survival and hope for better days may be depending on us.

Always Thinking…

The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop 

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