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Michael's Mind
December 7, 2021, 12:27 PM

Dr. Robert S. Eliot, a cardiovascular surgeon from the University of Nebraska wrote a book titled, Is It Worth Dying For? This book was part of my “fun reading” after I finished my doctoral work back in 1984. I wish I had taken this book more seriously on my first reading. The book was about the relationship between stress and heart disease. The basic thesis has been proven in the years since his writing. It revolves around the thought that we have “hot reactors” to certain life stresses which can have serious implications on our health. Dr. Elliot calls a solution to this problem his Two Rules for Life...Rule Number One is ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!’ Rule Number Two is: “It’s All Small Stuff!” I know you have heard the rules, but now you know from whence they came.

Dr. Elliot was not trying to be cynical. He was also not wanting to be taken literally. Dr. Elliot recognizes that there are indeed some things worth dying for...But, he was simply pointing out that...the things that so often “do us in” are the little things. It’s the small stuff that kills us. He reminds us that we can be consumed with things that will not ultimately matter...with little things, emotional triggers, our outbursts often do us in. We can become so obsessed by small stuff that we miss the main thing.

I believe it was Bishop Bevel Jones who first said, “We need to remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!” And what is the main thing? Jesus answered that question in Matthew 22:37 with these words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind...and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now with that admonition in mind we can enter the season of Advent and approach Christmas. May we remember to keep the main thing the main thing. As the stresses of the season creep upon us, may we choose a path of peaceful living. It is the gift that we have already received from God that truly matters most. It is our love of God and others that should be wings for our souls, not weights to be carried. The stresses imposed on the season by any other enterprise is the smaller stuff. It can be deadly.

Dr. Michael Passmore, Senior Minister, Central Christian Church