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Stopped Clocks

One of my guilty TV pleasures is watching televangelist Joyce Meyer’s program “Life in the Word.”  We don’t have cable at our house, so I only catch Meyer’s show when I’m on the road.  For those who do not know Joyce Meyer, she is a no-nonsense preacher with a deep voice and a stern face – imagine a cross between Billy Sunday and Bea Arthur’s “Maude”.   I know enough about Meyer’s tradition to know that we would not be close friends.  She’s from the conservative wing of the Christian family, where men are men,  women are submissive (except for Joyce), and all you need to know can be found in the Bible.  You really don’t want to know what she thinks about evolution, women’s rights, or GLBT issues.

Nevertheless, I find that when I listen to her program, more often than not, she says something that strikes me as profound.  Last week, while getting ready for a presentation in Louisville, I listened to Meyer preach on a text from 1 Samuel – something about King David.  Suddenly, she stopped mid-sentence and said, “I want to say a word to those of you who are sick and tired of being the first one to apologize and make amends.  You know who you are – you’re always the one who makes the calls, reaches out, and keeps relationships going.  And you feel bitter about it because you’re tired of always being the grown-up.  Do you not know that apologizing first is a sign of spiritual maturity?  A heart for reconciliation is a gift from God.  Do not be bitter about being more mature – be grateful to have that spiritual gift – and use it!”

If Meyer had called me by name, I couldn’t have been more surprised.  In that brief moment, she spoke directly to me and I took great comfort in her words.  It was a word in season, to quote Proverbs 15:23.  I turned off the television and went about my day, happy and calm.  I doubt the rest of Meyer’s sermon would have been useful to me.  In fact, I probably would have found some of it offensive.  But that one moment was a word from the Lord.

My grandmother used to say, “A stopped clock is right twice a day.”  And sometimes we can find Good News in strange places.  The key is to keep your ears and eyes open – and remember that God is still speaking…even through televangelists.

Rev. Dr. Shawnthea Monroe


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