Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Some Strings Will Strangle You

When Lori and I were growing up, our daddy used to tell us, "If anyone asks you if you are related to _____________, tell them 'no,' and then you come tell me." We were gullible. We didn't have a clue what any of that meant. It was so cryptique.

There are so many people on daddy's side of the family it's easier to say who isn't related, especially in Desoto Parish. My granddaddy was the youngest of 13 kids who all went on to have a slew of kids. When we would be out with daddy, he would say, "Oh, that was Aunt Beatrine's youngest daughter Sugarfoot," or "that was my cousin so-and-so," or "that's Aunt Pearl's son." Sometimes daddy wouldn't remember their given name but might remember their nickname or a story about that particular relative. Daddy is quite the story teller and with his family and his life, there are some great stories to tell. Currently, he's working on writing down some of his stories. He's titling it The Life and Times of Duke and Doodles. Doodles is one of his cousins. I can't wait to read it.

I have some very colorful ancestors in my family to say the least. For example, one of my great uncles that I never got to meet was the head of a local mafia of sorts. I had at least one great aunt and uncle who were boot-leggers and lived in the bottoms in the woods to hideout from the law. My other great aunts and uncles would deliver their mail and take them food when they were on the lam. I believe their distillory was down in those woods. My grandaddy rode on the sideboard of Bonnie and Clyde's car at one point. So maybe colorful might be an understatement because I know I haven't been told ALL of the stories, but I sure would love to hear them!

One of the stories I have been told was about my great uncle. It intrigued me. Apparently, he would find out who all the new officers were on the force, just fresh out of the academy and in debt. During the holidays, my great uncle would take these officers food and Christmas presents for their children, and since he was also known for carrying a wad of money, he would often give these young officers money. In reality, these young officers were exchanging one debt for another. See my great uncle would collect on those debts when he needed to. He had juke joints in the bottoms of Shreveport that served alcohol and had gaming equipment, and at least one of my uncles worked the front door. These officers felt a sense of duty or a connection to my great uncle. His connections didn't stop with just the new hires either. He had connections on up through the state government. Colorful. Very colorful stories that I've been told from time to time.

The funny thing is that side of the family will do anything for family. Loyalty. If only I had been born two generations back, oh the material I could write!

Gifts, bribes, connections have a way of strangling you if you aren't careful about whom you accept gifts, bribes and connections. Maybe that’s why in Genesis 14:22 – 24, Abram tells the king of Sodom that he doesn’t want anything from him other than what his servants ate. Whereas, Lot was okay with living on the fringes of Sodom, Abram didn’t want any connections to the king of Sodom. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Abram knew whom he served, and to accept goods from the king of Sodom would forever bind Abram or connect him or make an affiliation with the king of Sodom. That is not the type of reputation Abram wanted for himself. In Louisiana politics and even national politics, we see where people have made some strange attachments that later come back to get them. You take their money, their friendship, their benefits, their "strings," and they own part of you until they call to collect. And they ALWAYS collect.

If Lot lived on the fringe (see a prior blog), then Abram wanted no strings attached. To whom do you find yourself attached? You might be thinking you don't have any seedy connections, or you don't owe anyeone anything, but you may want to search your heart and allow God to search it as well.  Whatever connections you find, are they good attachments, or are you trying to distance yourself to the fringe of the connection? Look at your business associates. Look at those with whom you invest the most of your time, money and energy into. Not everyone in this world are out to get for themselves by whatever means possible, but there are people out there who do.

Abram made a clean break. He chose God. Where does your loyalty lie?

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