February 6, 2018


The Golden Globes, Grammys, Oscars, Screen Actors Guild, Tony Awards, Peoples’ Choice Awards, MTV Music Awards, Emmys, Producer Guild Awards, American Country Music Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, etc., etc., etc.  According to ABC News, the entertainment industry hands out some 564 annual awards to itself.  Clearly, bowling trophies alone are not enough to sustain those who manufacture them.  Hollywood and Nashville have rushed to the rescue…once again we should applaud their compassion and service!

Polls indicate that Americans are losing interest in the continual effort of the entertainers to pat themselves on the back.  Since the ratings are diminishing, I offer a humble suggestion that may bolster the image of the theatrically inclined.  Would it be the greatest of tragedies if all of their self-promotion were replaced for a year with an entirely different agenda?  What if Hollywood thrust all of its creative might toward honoring those who arrive home in flag draped caskets?  Their ultimate sacrifice should be treated with the greatest of dignity and respect, concluding with an anthem for which they refused to take a knee, but rather fought to the death for its preservation.  No dancers or singers uttering unintelligible noise but perhaps a military acapella choir rendering somber arrangements of patriotism and faith.  The entire event could be a chronicle of a nation’s deepest gratitude.  The thespians have demonstrated the ability to stir up every conceivable emotion in the human soul, by why must that talent be reserved for the imagined when it could be used to illustrate the harshness of a very noble reality?  Would America be injured by shedding some tears for our true heroes ? I trow not!

The highest honor that our nation can bestow on any military individual is concluded with a brief ceremony at the White House.  The president hangs the Medal of Honor around their neck, a few dignitaries shake hands, and the recipient will inevitably make sincere comments about his comrades, acknowledging their participation in the action that initiated the award.  Hello, networks ---why not devote an entire Sixty Minutes, 48 Hours or 20/20 to the hero and the personnel mentioned?

We are bone weary of celebrities feasting on money, applause and accolades beyond the comprehension of the average working American.  Just a thought –how about the “Golden Rule Awards,” featuring auto mechanics who keep the cars of limited income senior citizens running at little or no profit to themselves; teachers who spend of themselves to educate the throwaway kids from addicted parents; grandparents who are raising grandchildren due to the enticements of a sick world, or social workers who often deal with the worst of humanity for little pay?

The Left loves to focus on alleged law enforcement abuses but confers little esteem on those who are gunned down by vicious criminals or illegal aliens….1,512 have lost their lives in the line of duty over the last ten years.  Families are left to suffer in silence while those who are known for being known move in and out of rehab.

It would not demand a great deal of imagination to construct dozens of credible categories from the tapestry of ordinary, hardworking Americans, but then the spotlight would move from the pretenders to the real producers.  Alas, as appropriate as these proposed citations may be, they are from the world, by the world and the recognition of the world.  Please tolerate a thought that takes us completely off the rails of ordinary mental travel.

Ladies and gentlemen, we gather together this evening to honor this year’s recipient of the Dr. David Livingstone Award. 


Few missionaries are as well-known as Livingstone (1813-1873).  Leaving for Africa in 1841, he remained there the rest of his life.  A dedicated fighter of the slave trade, he believed converting the Africans to Christianity would help end it.  In 1871 Sir Henry Stanley, a newspaper reporter, led an expedition and found him.  Dying in Africa in 1873, Livingstone was later buried in London’s Westminster Abbey with his heart left buried in Africa.  Many other pioneer, Bible teaching missionary names could be attached to this award including, but not limited to, Raymond Lull, William Carey, Barnabas Shaw, Josiah Spiers, Payson Hammond, R.G. Wilder, R.A. Jaffery, John Lewis Shuck, Adoniram Judson, James Thoburn, Hudson Taylor, James Calver, John Geddie, John Patton and Matthew Culbertson - who gave up his commission in the U.S. Army to become a missionary.  At Shanghai he did valiant service during the Paiping riots.  A minister said to him. “Culbertson, if you were at home, you might be a major general.”  The missionary replied: “Doubtless I might; men whom I taught a West Point are major generals today.”  And then he added these words with deep earnestness:  “But I would not change places with one of them.  I consider there is no post of influence on earth equal to that of a man who is permitted to preach the Gospel.”  He had chosen the better part and had no yearning after secular honors.

A century ago an old missionary arrived home on a steamship that docked in San Francisco.  His life had been spent in service to Jesus Christ, suffering untold privations with little or no recognition.  But behold, a band was on the wharf, a large crowd was gathered, and many obvious dignitaries were assembled.  His heart was filled with joy at such a reception only to discover all the fuss was over a well-known politician on board.  Not one soul was there to meet this lonely soldier of the cross --- his sorrow was heavy and cloaked with disappointment.  Only then did the still, small voice of heaven whisper in his ear…”Buck up, soldier, you are not home yet.”

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