Sufficient Unto The Day

Jun 27, 2007
by Jimmy Reed

Matthew 6:34 – Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)

During ginning season, one-eyed Deacon hauled cotton seed to the oil mill. Between trips, he helped me with my after-school and weekend chore — hammering together metal ties and buckles used to bind bales of cotton.

I liked the old man, but his glass eye made me uneasy. Cornflower blue, it neither matched the brown one, nor were the two orbs synchronized. The good eye bulged like a bulldog's, while its store-bought mate floated constantly up, down, sideways.

One day when he was helping me, I asked how he lost the eye. He recounted a bizarre boyhood mishap involving frogs. He claimed they were the devil incarnate and had cast a curse upon him, causing the eye to go bad. He was terrified of them. The devil didn't let me forget that.

One Sunday morning, I was lolling on the porch of Dad's country store. He was in back, doing paperwork. The truck scales were beside the office, and having nothing better to do, I crawled under them. A goodly number of frogs — incarnate Beelzebubs — resided there, and I stuffed a dozen or so in a sack.

As I crawled out, Deacon pulled up to the store in his old Kaiser. He was headed to church. While pumping gas, he removed his coat, hung it on a porch nail, and went inside to pay.

Why I would ever be unkind to Deacon, I'll never know. He was always kind to me, but I just couldn't resist. Satan and I dumped the frogs in his coat pockets.

The old man came out, handed me an RC Cola and a Moon Pie, patted me benevolently on the head, threw on his coat, and fired up the Kaiser. I felt awful, but it was too late.

A quarter mile down the road, the Kaiser careened crazily and lurched to a stop. Out tumbled Deacon, flinging off the coat and freeing its amphibious occupants. Dad walked out on the porch about the time Deacon limped up.

"What happened to your car?" Dad asked.

Both brown and blue eyes glared at me as the old man struggled to catch his breath.

"I don't know, Boss," he said. "Sumpin' come a-loose and it started switchin' on me." Dad chuckled and walked off.

Those who forgive most shall be most forgiven. Deacon forgave me, but not all the way.

"How much you got saved up from workin' for Boss?" he asked.

"Forty-five dollars," I said, shamefully bowing my head.

"Well, I ain't never wearin' my old coat again, and that's 'bout enough to buy a new one," he said.

"I'll go git the money for you right now, but why didn't you tell Dad what really happened?" I asked.

With kindness glimmering in both blue and brown eyes, he said, "Enough bad stuff happened today. If I told Boss what you done, they'd uh been a killin' too."

As the old man ambled toward his old car, I heard him mumbling a verse of Scripture: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Prayer: For forgiveness in place of judgement, we give You thanks, O God. Lead us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Help us to avoid compounding evil. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Jimmy Reed
Oxford, Mississippi, USA

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