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The illusive art of catching up
by James Snyder
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Is it just me, or do others have trouble catching up? Just when it looks like I am almost caught up with some project or my to-do-list, something happens setting me back a few paces. One step forward, as they say and for me 17 steps backward. Or, so it seems.

I don’t have any problem whatsoever catching a cold. I once even caught a fly in my mouth while preaching, and it is as easy as New York style cheesecake to catch the dickens from the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Catching up is another matter all together.

Two things happened last week that brought this to my attention.

First, I took someone out to lunch. That in itself is not outstanding. My wife tells me I am out to lunch all the time.

Have you ever tried to impress someone by taking them out to lunch and insist on paying for lunch? That is exactly what I did this past week. Why I ever try to impress anyone is beyond my wife’s wildest imagination, but I try, much to her chagrin.

With a couple of hours to spare, my friend called me. Immediately I set into action a plan to meet him at the restaurant for lunch – on me.

We had a grand time catching up on each other’s life. Personally, I was thrilled to Catch Up on something. Unfortunately, I thought I was on a roll with ham and cheese. It was delicious to enjoy this brief time if only for a moment, but all good things do end.

Things were about to turn ugly. No, someone did not bring me a mirror. Instead, the affable waitress brought me the check.

Normally, this would not be a problem. I would accept the check after some friendly banter with the waitress complaining about the amount and threatening not to tip her and she threatening to tell my wife. We all smiled and then it happened.

I casually reached around to my back pocket to extract my wallet containing my credit card with which I would pay the check. My back pocket was as empty as a politician’s promises.

At first, a slight streak of panic raced through my person causing me to freeze in petrifying fear. My first thought, I had someone else’s trousers on. But whose? More important, where was the man wearing my trousers?

I smiled one of those smiles that says, “Oops, I’m in trouble but I don’t want anyone to know.”

My friend sensed something was wrong; friends are like that. Looking at me he said, “Is anything wrong?”

Being the truthful person I am, I said, “Wrong? What could be wrong? We’ve just enjoyed a great time together. No, nothing’s wrong. Absolutely nothing is wrong.”
One problem with friends is they always know when you are lying. My friend was no different. He just looked at me and said, “OK, what’s wrong?”

I may have trouble catching up but I have no trouble whatsoever being caught with my pants down. Well, maybe not quite down but certainly empty. Nothing is sadder than a man wearing empty trousers.

“Did you forget your wallet?” my friend asked with delight dancing in his eyes.

He happily paid the tab but I will never live it down.

The second incident also had to do with my wallet. Although this time, I did not forget my wallet.

I had an early morning meeting across town. I knew my car was running on fumes but no need to worry. I left the house early enough to stop and gas up.

Pulling out of my driveway, I noticed the gas gauge was lower than I remembered it being the night before. A tinge of terror gripped my mind and I earnestly prayed I would get to the gas station on time.

I sighed with relief as I approached a gas station. The station had just opened and the sign on the pump informed me I needed to pay for the gas before pumping it.

No problem. I ambled in, presented my credit card and purchased $20 worth of gas. There is a good feeling associated with a schedule well in hand. I glanced at my watch and noticed I was two minutes ahead of schedule.

With a whistle on my lips and air between my ears, I got into my car and drove away.
Two miles later, I glance at the gas gauge and noticed it had not moved. I tapped the gauge and nothing happened. At that time, the car sputtered and coughed ominously.

Then, like a bolt of lightening, it struck me. I had paid for the gas and drove away without pumping it into my car. By this time, the car engine stopped and I had just enough momentum to pull to the side of the road.

I sat there a few minutes pondering my dilemma. I knew what I had to do but I did not want to do it. Slowly, I picked up my cell phone and dialed the dreaded number. The phone rang and in a moment, I heard myself speaking into the phone, “Honey, can you…”

Waiting for my wife to bring a can of gas I thought of a verse of scripture. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 KJV).

Good intentions must be accompanied with appropriate action.

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Member Comments
Member Date
samuel saalwaechter  29 Oct 2011
Take my card out of my wallet, pay at the pump, put my card back N my wallet, put wallet back N my pants pocket. Creature of habbit. But like U I've gotten 2 the pump and then realized I hadn't put it away & of course have 2 remember what I was waring & where I put it. This after I get back home. I know the feeling.
tanya Johnson 29 Oct 2011
funny. I enjoy reading your articles. Need the laugh
Connie Allen 28 Oct 2011
As usual you have given me a chuckle....not the one with the ham and cheese, but the one about the gas.....that is so funny to the onlooker...I can just see it in my mind's eye... Thanks for the chuckle....keep bringing them to us. God Bless you.
Mary Tomlin 28 Oct 2011
James, I know exactly what you mean. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. I can NEVER catch up. But really ... come on ... forgetting your wallet? That's the oldest trick in the book. Keep on writing. You're the best!


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