Help me choose

Below are two devotions.  I plan to enter one of them in an upcoming writing contest.  I like them both.  I’d like the input of readers like you.  Honestly, let me know which one tugs at your heart most.

As always, I’m open to any suggestions you have.


A Man of His Word

It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV

Fess Parker was one of my childhood heroes. To me, he was Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. I had an authentic coonskin cap that I wore until my mother burned it due to its rancid smell. His recent death reminded me of early television and its influence on those of my generation..

A letter I read the week after Parker’s death in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram let me know I’d picked a good hero in him.

This excerpt was written by John Dyphrit of North Richland Hills, Texas.  “I was in Vietnam in the late 60’s when Fess Parker came for a visit… doing the celebrity thing and shaking hands. We presented him with a coin that had our unit insignia on it.  He told us that he would keep it with him as long as he lived.

“Fast forward thirty-something years. I went on a trip to Los Olivios, California, the location for Fess Parker’s winery.  I was invited to have lunch with Fess. At lunch I finally got the nerve to ask Fess about the coin.  He looked at me and stared for at least a minute before reaching into his pocket.  ‘You mean this coin? I told you that I would keep it for as long as I lived and I have.’”

A man of his word.

They picked a good man to play the role of Davy Crockett.

May the same be said of each of us.

If we promise it, let’s do it.

God calls each of us to be men and women of our word.  We are judged by our words and especially our promises.  May He help us to be faithful and keepers of our promises. It is far better to promise little and deliver much than it is to promise much and deliver little.

Quote for the day

It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath.


Prayer:  Lord,  teach me to think before I speak and teach me to carefully make promises and commitments.   Help me fulfill the words of my mouth with the actions of my life.  Amen


Lessons from a Gravedigger

Today’s Proverb:  Proverbs 18:9

“The one who is truly lazy in his work is brother to a vandal.”

It was the first trip to the cemetery for my two grandsons, Noah and Jude. I knew it wouldn’t be their last.  Life is full of trips to the cemetery. Ages five and three may be young but it’s a good time to realize that life involves death.

Earlier that morning we’d ridden the four-wheeler past our dog cemetery where my beloved Ivory and Eddie are buried.  Noah and Jude asked many questions about the dogs and where they are now. Walking now through Dry Creek Cemetery, I knew much more difficult questions were in store.   I showed them the graves of my family:  my dad, grandparents, and other beloved relatives.

We made a side trip to the grave of their great-great-great-great-great grandmother, Nancy Wagnon.  I explained that her husband, Andrew Jackson Wagnon, wasn’t buried here because he’d died in the Civil War.

We walked to the SW corner of the Cemetery where a grave was being dug for a burial.  Noah and Jude stared down into the yawning hole as I tried to explain how the body of Mr. John Hunt would be lowered in a coffin into that grave.

The head gravedigger,  Kevin Kingan, explained to the boys how he did his job.  His words probably will be forgotten by my grandsons, but not by me. “Boys, I dig about four hundred graves each year and I always try to remember one thing: I try to do it as if it was the grave of my mother.”

He shoveled a scoop of red clay aside.  “It takes me about thirty extra minutes to do it right but I put in the extra time.  It’s worth it.”  He tamped down the dirt around the concrete vault.  “I just pretend it’s my mother’s grave and that helps me do it right.”

I recalled the wise words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9: 10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

I spend my days around what the world would deem simple people:  pulpwood haulers, single moms, meat cutters, dairymen, carpenters, and gravediggers.  These hard-working blue collar workers have so much to teach us if we stop and listen.

The value of an honest day’s work.  The pride of a job done well.  The reminder that  digging a grave is not just a job but an act of love toward a family of strangers.

Completed as if it was done for your mother.

Thanks Kevin for your lesson.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Colossians 3: 23-25,

Prayer:   Lord, help me approach every task as a holy assignment from you.  Help me assign it so you may say,  “Well done . . .” Amen.


  1. Curt, I like both because like you I was raised in the woods and around “simpler” people. But just the mention of that in the second one makes me wonder how a business exec would relate to that. To me the first one speaks to all walks and classification of men and women.
    May the Holy Spirit guide you to the one God chooses.

  2. Hey, Mr. Iles. Naturally, I love both stories. However, something keeps pulling me to the first one. I guess it’s just the decent thing to try in keeping your word the best you can to people. Once we lose our reputation, our word, it’s so hard to piece it back together. Once others lose faith in us, whether it’s due to gossip, lack of friendship, or the fact we don’t keep our word, we have lost a piece of ourselves no matter how hard we try to undo it. I love the first story!

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