February 9, 2020

Epiphany 5, Year A
Deacon Cindy Roehl


During our Stewardship season we’ve been talking about the Power of One. Remember the $1
bill Canon Gray gave to each of us a couple weeks ago with his message as he talked about the
power of $1?
I have a story to share about the power of one – one person reaching out to one person at a time.
Bob and I saw a movie just over a week ago called “Nail 32”. Have any of you seen this? It’s
apparently the true story of Jasper ‘Buck’ Livingston (Buck being his nickname), and how he
changed the world of cowboys and the rodeo helping one person at a time. He had been a
cowboy and involved in the rodeo, but wasn’t very good at it.
He hadn’t been to church before, but his momma had made him promise to go to church on
Easter, and in his early 20’s he knew you never went back on a promise you made to your
momma. So, he went to the local church and on that Sunday he felt God tugging on his heart.
When he went back that week to see if he could talk to the pastor, the pastor wasn’t there, but
some choir members were. As they talked a couple ladies told him that a cowboy couldn’t be a
Christian, and a Christian couldn’t be a cowboy. But God had touched him and he wanted to
learn more. So, he gave up the rodeo and got involved with that little church.
He found himself helping a couple people, but he wanted to do more. He wanted to make a
difference, but it seemed it went too slow for him.
He shared this with a friend of his, who was a bar owner. The friend asked Buck how much he
would charge to put horseshoes on the man’s horse. Buck said, “$20”. It takes 32 nails to shoe a
horse. The friend asked, “What if I paid you a penny for the first nail, and doubled that penny
for the next nail, then doubled that for each nail up to all 32 nails?”
Buck said, “I don’t need to be a mathematician to figure that out – I’d keep the $20, thank you.”
So, the friend said for him to get a piece of paper out.
It takes 32 nails to shoe a horse. Would you believe after doubling each amount for 32 nails, at
the 32nd nail you’ve got over two trillion pennies?! (2,000,000,000 pennies = $21,474,836.48).
One person at a time, is more than enough. You make a difference in one person’s life, and that
person makes a difference in another person’s life, and so on and so on, you bet you could make
a difference!
Buck got back into the rodeo with the intent of “riding for the Lord”. He was given the
microphone and started praying before each rodeo – something that hadn’t been done before.
He made a special effort to improve on his bull-riding ability and ended up coming in 2nd place in
the regional rodeo event. He had gained the respect of the other rodeo cowboys.
Before each rodeo a group started getting together with him to pray. Each time, the group would
grow, then grow again. That thought of “one nail at a time” stuck with him.
In his world cowboys wouldn’t be going to church on a Sunday – their church was the rodeo.
But the bars were closed on Sunday’s. Buck went to a Christian school and became a pastor, and
eventually he started a church in the local honky tonk. They had to expand the building to
accommodate those coming to his “Cowboy Church” as the church was called. But everyone
was accepted. It didn’t matter who you were or what you had done. You were welcome.
The power of one!
You are one! You may not start a church, but you can make a difference in one person’s life.
Knowing this parish, I imagine most all of you have already done that. I have a feeling most of
you have made a difference in the lives of more than one, and most likely you probably don’t
even know someone whose life you have touched.
Don’t underestimate your ability – especially if you are allowing God to use you.
Our Gospel reading this morning says, “You are the light of the world.” That is something God
has given to us. This world can be very dark, and angry, and frustrating. Jesus said when we
“light a lamp and put it on the lampstand, it shines on ALL who are in the house. In the same
way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your
Father who is in heaven.”
The Apostle Peter writes, “Above all (ABOVE all), show sincere love to each other, because
love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.” We may not be able to love some people.
Some people are just not very lovable. But in Christ, letting His light shine through us, He will
love them through us and through our actions.
Peter goes on to say, “And serve each other according to the gift each person has received.
Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so
from the strength that God furnishes.” – From the strength that God furnishes – You are not
doing this alone!
He continues by saying, “Do this so that in EVERYTHING God may be honored through Jesus
During this Stewardship season, we’re focusing on how Good Shepherd is “shining our light” in
our lives and in this community. And we are hearing what a few of our volunteers in this place
have to say about God’s light that is shining in them and in others in this place. through their
time, and their talent, and their treasure.
Today we get to hear from Linda Johnson. Linda and her husband Steve Li have been members
of Good Shepherd for a while, and Linda has something she’d like to share with us. Linda…?

Thank you very much, Linda. That was very special ….
May God grant us the grace to be the ‘Power of One’, sharing our talent and gifts to help make a
difference in the lives of others … one person at a time…

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