The Benjamin Franklin Moment… January 19, 2012

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In Philadelphia

 
If memory serves me correctly, it was January 19th, 2006. I was shopping at the Rivergate Mall in Madison, Tennessee, when I walked to my car–and lying on the ground near my front bumper was a hundred-dollar bill.
 
Yes–Benjamin Franklin, giving me his classic lascivious leer. It took a moment for my brain to register that money was lying at my feet, even though it is the continual, persistent dream of every human traveler. There was no wind blowing, so it was quietly remaining, without stirring. I picked it up, realized it was real, and then looked around in all directions to see if somebody was frantically searching their wallet or purse for the lost revenue. There was no one in sight.
 
The spot where I retrieved the bill was also far from any store, so I didn’t know exactly where to go to locate a potential searcher. I stood for a moment, continuing to peer circumspectly but no one came into view. I thought about taking out want ad in the newspaper, telling of the discovered treasure, but I considered how ridiculous that would be–no one is capable of being that honest, considering the financial benefit.
 
I realized that I had received a blessing.  It was MY blessing–yes, my gift–to do with whatever I wanted.
 
I climbed in my car and sat for a moment and made a Biblical decision. I call these Biblical decisions because they are conferences I hold with my spirit, my conscience, my emotions, my will, and everything I’ve learned that truly is important that actually ends up working out when applied. Many things I have tried to put into practice–especially from the Old Testament–have proven to be less than adequate in everyday human interaction. Moses and Nehemiah are not my best contact points in the hour of need. No–it is up to me in my lifespan, to make Biblical decisions based upon a council of myself with the Spirit of God, using as a reference those principles I have found to be irrefutable. Here’s how I decide things:
 
1. If it’s a spiritual matter, I find a way to apply it practically. I do not believe in “abstract” spirituality. I think it’s the duty of every believer to take heavenly things and bring them into earthly use–or else, please just be quiet about it. This is why I do not take part in discussions about the Apocalypse, heaven, hell or even a conversation about who’s going to make it to the pearly gates or not. These are spiritual thoughts that don’t seem to have a landing gear to arrive at the airport of our human reality. Everything spiritual needs to have a practical application–otherwise, hush up.
2. Likewise, everything practical in my life needs to have a spiritual implication. I do not believe it’s an accident when I run across a person in need in the street. I do not think that stopping at a red light is without a measure of spiritual leading by God’s integrity. I look for my practical life to have spiritual meaning and eternal quality. The reason most people cannot grasp the concept of “Christ in me, the hope of glory”  is that they believe their lives are DIVIDED between the earthly and the heavenly. Such a division is not only unnecessary, but may prove to be the definition of careless ungodliness. Everything practical becomes spiritual.
 
 So that is why when I had the one hundred dollars in my possession, I said a quick prayer, tapped the Kingdom of God within me and came up with what I thought was a delicious plan. I decided to keep fifty dollars for my own enjoyment and pleasure–because deprivation does not make me better, just grouchy. Then I went to the bank and took the last fifty dollars and changed it into five ten-dollar bills, and spent the next hour just dropping one ten-dollar bill at five locations, so that someone else could enjoy the miracle of finding unexpected finance.
 
Because, after all, the most spiritual thing you can do in your life is to enjoy the gifts God sends your way, and then find a way to share that sensation with others. I thoroughly enjoyed the notion that someone was finding a ten-dollar bill and they were also being given a chance to turn something spiritual into something practical, and then taking that practical and transforming it back into something spiritual.  It is the essence of what we do as people which sets up apart from not only the apes, but from one another.
 
It was my Benjamin Franklin moment. Fifty dollars for me and five ten-dollar blessings for those who were alert enough to notice. 
 
Yes–alert enough to notice. It may be the true definition of righteousness.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Have read several at one time tonight. All insightful, interesting, and challenging. Would love to have seen the persons finding your $10 bills. What fun that must have been for you. Good thinking!!

    Like


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