From My Window on the World
by Mike Jacks
My wife loves John Wayne. Even though she has seen each of his movies dozens of times, whenever he is on TV, she insists that we must watch the Duke in action. My tastes lean more to the Criminal Investigation shows. CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Boise, CSI Saturn, CSI Pluto are but a few of the wonderful offerings vying for your entertainment. Well, wait a minute. Perhaps my facts are a tad askew. Yes, I am in error. It is my covenant partner who watches CSI, while my preference is to join Duke Wayne riding the purple sage. I’ve accompanied my hero from the sands of Iwo Jima to a place called El Dorado. We’ve roamed the verdant green hills of Ireland to the windswept Texas plains. Duke portrayed soldiers, boxers, pilots and oilmen. But his most memorable roles were cowboys. John Wayne’s characters were men of honor, strength and truth. They would stand for the right when no one else would. They were what we wanted to think we were, but knew we weren’t. There are many scenes of renown in John Wayne movies. One of my particular favorites comes from a movie called “The Comancheros.”
In this epic, Wayne plays a Texas Ranger on the trail of a murderer from Louisiana. It is his job to capture the felon for extradition. Naturally the Duke gets his man. The name of the accused is Monsieur Paul Regret. Throughout the movie, Wayne insists on calling him Monsieur. In one humorous incident, Regret tells the big Ranger that if he’ll unlock the handcuffs restraining him, he promises not to try and escape. Wayne smiles at him knowingly and says, Monsieur, you are a lu-lu! As time progresses, the Texas Ranger discovers that the Monsieur is innocent. Yet there are powerful forces in Louisiana pressing for Regret’s trial and hanging. Wayne’s character is torn between his duty, and his knowledge of the truth. As they ride along, Regret says to the big Texan, “You know I’m innocent. Why don’t you just turn your back and let me ride off?” Wayne’s response is classic. “Monsieur, I have what you might consider a weakness; I’m honest. I say to myself, why don’t you let him go? Then I say to myself, no, you’ve sworn an oath. You’ve got to do your duty and bring him in. Regret answers, “They’re only words.” The lawman replies “Monsieur, words are what men live by. Words they say and mean. You must have had a mighty careless upbringing.” So the ranger does his duty. And unlike real life, things work out fine in the end.
While only a movie, The Comancheros reinforces one eternal truth: Words are what men live by, words they say and mean.
The Bible speaks to this truth when it uses the archaic term, covenant. In modern times, this word is seldom used and rarely understood. Simply stated, a covenant means our word is our bond. God hears what we say. He doesn’t forget, even when we do. In our time, words mean nothing. Athletes sign multi-million dollar contracts, only to want them renegotiated in a short time. Lawyers twist words to gain freedom for felons. Politicians don’t know what the meaning of the word is, is. Men and women stand before God and man pledging a covenant ‘til death parts them. After a few years and a few kids, those words are no longer considered binding. No, words don’t mean a thing, do they? Well, as Christians, they’d better mean something. Hopefully, we have what much of this world considers a weakness. Hopefully, we’re honest. We may have had a careless upbringing, but it’s time to become men and women of integrity. Our word must be our bond. We need to be aware that the God who knows the thoughts in our minds, hears the words of our mouths. Those words are a covenant between God, us, and those to whom we speak. The Bible says we will be judged by the words we speak. Our fate is sealed by the words we utter. Choose them wisely.
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Mike lived in Jamestown, Ohio with his wife, Zane, and their children, Lindsay (23) and Kirk (20). Mike and his family were founding members of Transformation Christian Church, a newly formed simple church.
Mike went home to be with the Lord on February 1, 2017
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