March 4th

March 4th

Last week I wrote about a defining day of my life when I elected to withdraw from the United Methodist Church. The date was March 4th.

I received so many phone calls, emails, and texts from people thanking me for giving that explanation and assuring me that I am in their prayers. I genuinely appreciate that.

My good friend Rev. Kenny Hoomes sent one of the most interesting responses. After a few kind words, he said, “I think it was significant that your defining day was March 4th. That’s the only day of the year that is a command.”

I am not as smart and alert as I should be, so I was trying to figure out where in the Bible or in history was March 4th commanded. Then it dawned on me. The 4th is the word “fourth.” It is not only “fourth” but it’s also “forth.” Forth means forward. March 4th means to march and go forward with discipline and intentionality.

Soren Kierkegaard, the great theologian wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” My good friend Derric Johnson says, “There are many ways of going forward but only one way of standing still.” I don’t want to be standing still when God has so many opportunities in the future. He goes on to way, “When you are going forward, some good things happen, and some bad things happen. If you don’t go forward, nothing happens!

Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” I would also remind us that the doors don’t stay open for long. I want to March forth—I want to see open doors and walk through them!

It’s springtime. People are beginning to get outside. Nature is putting on her green dress. Do you remember going to a clover patch and looking for a four-leaf clover because that would bring good luck? A four-leaf clover doesn’t bring luck, but many people would rather sit in life and hope to become “lucky.” Many of us don’t see open doors because we are in the backyard looking for a four-leaf clover!

The Bible is clear about marching forward. “The righteous keep moving forward and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.” (Job 17:9) “My people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.” (Jeremiah 17:24) “I focus on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13) “This world is not our permanent home. We are looking forward to a home yet to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)

Do you remember the old television series “Wagon Train?” David Housel pointed out that the shows always ended with the wagons heading to the left of the screen—heading west. They were moving forward. March 4th, or rather March Forth, has new meaning to me today.

I know that moving forward I will encounter some defeats and failures, but failure is never final. Marching forth will present new opportunities to trust God and keep moving forward.

T.S. Elliott wrote, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”


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