Life lines “The best, worst and most unusual”

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By Ian Robinson, Major

I recently found a book with this title in our corps’ library. Those who know me recognize my affinity for trivia and so understand that this book was written just for me. Its 560 pages are jammed with fascinating nonsense about the best, worst and most unusual people, lifestyles, food, music, laws and sports, to name just a few subjects.

For example, under “The Law,” the best law is found in Little Rock, Ark., where dogs are prohibited from barking after 6 p.m. The best forger was William E. Brockway, who, in 1865, printed a bogus $100 bill so perfect that the Treasury Department had no option but to withdraw all genuine $100 bills from circulation.

The worst act of diplomacy came during the Middle East war of 1948 when Warren Austin, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations urged Arabs and Jews to resolve their disagreements “like good Christians.” The worst prize fight took place in New Orleans in 1870 when Englishman Jim Mace and American Joe Coburn danced around each other for three hours and 48 minutes without landing a single punch.

In the “Government” chapter, Calvin Coolidge is cited for best scare tactics, because he used to hide in the White House shrubbery, then jump out and scare unsuspecting Secret Service agents. The most unusual bank is located in Vernal, Utah, where the local bank building was made from bricks sent through the mail. In 1919, the people of Vernal discovered that it cost less to mail the bricks from Salt Lake City, seven to a package, than to have them shipped commercially.

So we come to this wonderful season of officer moves. As you read this, many of my colleagues are up to their eyeballs in packing tape and boxes. It is surprising that people who should have few possessions to call their own end up with truckloads of boxes that get carted from one place to the next, and the contents often never see the light of day. We found that the 30 cartons of books we once had now fit into my iPad. The dishes we were carefully preserving for our retirement brought some much needed revenue to the thrift store. And all those shoes we never wear any more have gone into the “Saving Soles” bin at our corps to generate funds for World Services.

Of course, eventually all these officers will arrive at their new appointments, fresh and eager, ready to win the world for Jesus. For many it will be their best appointment. When anyone asks me about my best appointment, I always tell them it is the one I am in now.

Maybe a few will find themselves at their worst appointment. I hope not, but if they do they can take heart—it can only get better from here. And even in our worst appointments, God teaches us amazing truths about ourselves and himself that help us to grow in our walk of faith.

Lastly, there will be a few who find themselves in the most unusual appointment of their officership. It certainly will not be any more unusual than Ezekiel who was appointed to lie on his left side for 390 days, and then turn over to his right side for another 40 days, facing Jerusalem and surviving on bread and water!

We pray that our colleagues will find inexpressible joy in serving God wherever they have been appointed. May God use them powerfully and significantly to impact their corps and their community. May they always have a burning desire to win the world for Jesus. And may they shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Dan. 12:3 RSV).

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