Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 81

Wisdom Speaks with the End in Mind

Words are funny things. They are powerful. God created with words. Words play many roles as they: Inspire. Instruct. Hurt. Convict. Comfort. Entertain. Enlighten. As they do their jobs they produce varied emotions in the speaker and the hearer. Upon reception of words we may cry, laugh, sigh, smile, cringe, or even scream. Have you ever longed to own a “word catcher” that could catch careless words somewhere between your mouth and someone’s ear? I have. Unfortunately, there is no such thing—so the burden is on the speaker. If not careful, as the Red Sox would say, “Damage done.” 

Wyndham asked me a wise and rather profound question this week. I was in conversation with someone who was assisting us in a particular task. All was good. Perceiving a problem, I communicated something to this person in the form of a question, reminder, and plea. I didn’t raise my voice, and I tried to be kind and positive. However, this was not the first time I’ve spoken similar words to this person, and the words have yet to be well-received. As I think back, maybe this was the fifth or sixth time over the past year I have spoken similar words.  However, I thought perhaps the time was right to bring up the previously visited topic. Again.

Well, it wasn’t.

After the person didn’t react well the mood changed. Wyndham asked me later, “So, what were you hoping to accomplish?”

I thought about this question for a while. What was I trying to accomplish? I did feel, upon evaluation, that I was trying to bring about needed change for that person’s (and my) well-being. However, I thought through other times I’ve had this same conversation. What did I seek to accomplish then? Some of those answers would have been to let the person know:  I don’t approve. I want you to know my level of frustration. You’re not doing “it” the right way. 

Whenever words are born of frustration, or dare I say “condemnation,” they don’t accomplish good. They don’t strengthen relationships, While the end results of what we hope to accomplish may be right, timing and attitude are key. It is wise to ask: How will my words affect the relationship?  What am I hoping to accomplish? How would I feel if I put myself in the hearer’s place? Am I most concerned about speaking my words, or am I more concerned about the overall welfare of the hearer?

I would wish Paul to describe me as he does Timothy in Philippians 2:19-20.
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.

 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.

I must get “me” out of the equation and wait until the emotions of the moment pass and frustration levels wane. While speaking the truth in love is needed and right (Ephesians 4:15 ), wisdom is needed for when and how to speak. Often, this can be determined by stopping to consider the wise question,
What am I hoping to accomplish?

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 79

Wisdom Touches Lives

By Dave Malutinok

Wyndham is my mentor, spiritual father, brother, and friend. Wyndham, and his wisdom, has forever touched my life. As I was flying across the Pacific on my way to Cambodia I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to share my gratitude, gratefulness, and sincere thanks for the blessing he has been in my life. 

My thoughts went back to 1978.  I was a one-year-old Christian at the Carolina Evangelism seminar. This was the first time I saw him in person. He and Jeanie were larger than life to me.  I had listened to Wyndham on cassette tapes and was so eager to meet him.  I listened to many tapes of very good speakers, but there was something about him that immediately drew me in. I remember thinking of ways I might be able to afford to transfer from West Virginia State University to North Carolina State, where he served as campus minister.  When I returned to West Virginia I discussed with some brothers how amazing it would be to have the Shaws at WVU.  I remember praying a ton about it and sending Wyndham two or three letters, asking him to come to help us and lead the church. God answered my prayers, and he moved to West Virginia. I know this experience brought them many painful situations, but during this time he became my spiritual father. There were times when I felt like I wanted to give up trying to be a Christian, but then I would honestly think of Wyndham—his heart for God. His love for people exhibited his love for God, and even knowing how much he loved me kept me going.

Peggy and I had planned to move to Charlotte, as Wyndham and Jeanie had moved there, and our dream was to be with them again.  Before we moved there the Shaws moved to Boston. Even though I had a killer job offer in New York, the dream of being with the Shaws overshadowed any professional benefit I might enjoy. Moving to Boston, without a job, and with Peggy six months pregnant with Scott, was one of the best decisions of our lives.

I remember when we stayed with them for a while in their basement.  I laugh as I remember our son John telling Jeanie, “You have nice flush toilets!” (We have kept that as a joke whenever we visit, even though we did have “flush toilets” in West Virginia.) They set us up to be discipled by a couple that has become one of our closest friends, the Fergusons.

They helped us to go into the ministry. During times when there were situations that I had no idea how to solve, Wyndham was there for me.  The amazing thing is that throughout my entire Christian life, he has always been there for me. Wyndham was the first male in my life that did not abandon me. I always knew that if I needed him, he would be there.  I remember feeling terror, pain, fear, anger, faithlessness, and many other emotions at Shepherd Hospital shortly after Scott’s life-altering accident. Wyndham and Chip flew down to visit. That was the first time since his accident that I felt a level of peace. Because Wyndham, my earthly adopted father, was there for me I could remember how much more my Heavenly Father will always be with me. I committed that I would always keep him in my world. 

I also rather un-fondly remember the nights in the Billerica office building. Oh my goodness, what a time. The difficult decisions that needed to be made for the church were so crucial, yet he never lost his calm. Instead of severing into many separate churches, God used Wyndham and Gordon to hold things together in the Boston church.

………….

Dear friend, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have earned that sometimes it is impossible to fully understand God.  It is futile to ask “why.”  I have also learned that what God expects of us is faith. Faith that He is with us, He understands our plight, He has felt physically what we feel, He has felt emotionally what we feel, and yet He has overcome through our Lord Jesus—and paved the way along with the Holy Spirit to faithfully accept our sufferings with joy, thanksgiving, and peace.

For a while after Scott’s accident, I couldn’t find peace.  For years I struggled, prayed, talked, screamed outwardly and inwardly, but have through it all found peace.  Brother, I pray for you to have peace through faith that passes all understanding. I pray for you to daily remember me and the impact you made in my life. You have impacted my life like none other, save Jesus. I pray that God will also daily enlighten you to remember the thousands like me that you have impacted.  I really mean thousands.

Jeanie, your support of Wyndham, and your love for him through your actions are worth more than a million words. You are setting an earthly example of the loyalty and love that was written about regarding Ruth and Naomi.

Dear brother and friend, whom I love and respect with all my heart; have peace because He has overcome the world. 

John 16:33. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Courage…My Friend Gloria

While at a women’s midweek last night we had a group discussion.  One of the sisters in my group was recounting an example she heard many years ago from Gloria Baird.  The sister was remembering Gloria’s example of how we can sometimes try to get cool on a hot day by moving the blades of an electric fan with our fingers.  She recounted how difficult and futile this exercise was as we try to live life on our own power, and that if we merely plug the fan in to the power source we can enjoy a powerful, cool breeze.

Sometimes, people have lasting impact and don’t realize how much difference their lives and words make.  My friend Gloria has impacted so many lives, including mine.

Philip. 2:1-4

    If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, [2] then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. [3] Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. [4] Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

This scripture makes me think of Gloria, and how she strives to live her life.  Now, during a very trying time, she is continuing to lead by example.  While in the midst of fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and its associated difficulties (including lessened immunity and hair loss) she continues to show us how to be joyful and giving in the midst of adversity.  This is just a “shout out” to say thank you for your continual example of courage and love for God, his word and his church.  And, for those reading this… please continue to pray for her comfort, peace and complete healing so she can continue giving to so many.

And even though it’s past the “electric fan” season here in New England…the analogy still applies.  God is so powerful beyond imagination…we’ve just got to plug in to that power.

John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.