Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: Don't lose your head


During my college years in Greensboro, North Carolina, at N.C. A&T State University, I recall an episode that took place in a boarding house on Park Avenue. The dwelling was a huge two-story structure that rented rooms to males within the second floor and rented rooms to females on the first floor. The owner of the house was a professor at A&T, Dr. Purcell in the Agriculture Department. Dr. Purcell had two nieces from Trenton, New Jersey, who attended A&T that also lived on the first floor of this house.

The younger niece starting dating a young man from Fayetteville, N.C., who lived upstairs. The relationship started out smoothly but quickly went sour. The two would often get in heated debates and arguments that lasted seemingly forever. Oftentimes they would throw things at each other, disturbing the residents and partially damaging the property. It wasn't long before word got back to the owner, Dr. Purcell. A tenant landlord meeting was scheduled to resolve this disturbance and head off any other like it. I remember Dr. Purcell opening up the meeting and stating the purpose for him being there. Then he told this story. "There once was a mouse who was eating a piece of cheese on the railroad track. The cheese was huge, so the mouse ate and rested. One day a train was coming down the track, so the mouse ate and ate until the train was right up on him. The mouse escaped just in time to save himself, but his tail got caught. Not thinking, the mouse reached back for his tail and lost his head by the next wheel." Dr. Purcell then asked us if we knew the moral of the story. A few answers were offered but none of which he wanted to hear. Finally he said, "The moral of the story is not to lose your head over a piece of tail." We got it, but most importantly, the battling couple got it.

Two of the most notorious relationship issues are centered on money and sex. Couples part mostly because one spouse was unfaithful or somebody continuously misused or abused the money nest. Marriage statistics in South Carolina are at a 30-year low, down to 6.3 marriages per 1,000 people in 2019 compared to 15.9 marriages per 1,000 people in 1990 (Statista). Practically every chart, graph, state, or country you research regarding reasons why people get divorced, money and sex can be found within the top five listing. When it comes to money and sex, oftentimes people don't think morally. We seem to lose our mind when sex and/or money is involved. We lose focus of marriage vows, family commitments, morals and values. It can happen to anybody at any given day of the week, especially if we are not rooted and grounded in the word of God. Even being rooted and grounded in the word of God does not mean that we are exempted. David was characterized as "a man after the heart of God." One glance from his palace at a woman bathing cost David much pain and suffering. David, who already had wives (I Sam 30:5), inquired about Bathsheba, who was married already to Uriah (2 Sam 11:3). Bathsheba was so beautiful that King David, the man after God's heart, did not quit until he had sex with her. She conceived, and David came up with a plan to have her husband killed. David later married Bathsheba, and the child was born but later died because of David's sin (2 Sam 11-12).

Let's review; David lost his head; a marriage was broken up, an innocent man lost his life, and a baby died, all over a piece of tail. It is vitally important that we know who we are, whose we are and the commitments we made to the people we love.

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.