77 year old gospel great Shirley Caesar has been catapulted to the social media scene in the last week. Videos leveraging a portion of Shirley Caesar’s sermonette titled “Hold my Mule” have been creatively turned into the “UNameit” challenge. The headline, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, is “Grandma, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving?” I will admit, I have clicked on this video more times than I can count. It is truly entertaining and catchy. I will always look at beans, greens, potatoes, and tomatoes with this beat in my head. However, I want to share the background of the video from Pastor Caesar’s sermonette as there is a lesson in the video.
In the original video, Pastor Shirley tells a story about an old ninety year old man called “Shouting John”. The deacons of his church wanted John to stop praising the Lord so boastfully in their church because they had “dignified people” in the church and they do not behave that way. They did everything they could to get Shouting John to stop wildly praising God. Finally, the deacons came to John’s home while he was plowing his fields to give him one last chance to comply and assimilate to their environment. John, knowing why they were there said “I know why you come out here. You come out here to tell me I’m dancing too much. You come out here to tell me I’ve been praising the Lord too much. But what you don’t know is the Lord’s been good to me.” One of the deacons went on to say “John, if you don’t sit down and be quiet, we gon’ put you out of our church.”
Now John had a decision to make in that moment. Was it more important for him to assimilate into an organization more concerned with outward appearances or more important for him to show God his appreciation for all he had been provided over his life time? John said “Well, put me out! I cannot hold my peace no longer!” The next part of the story leads up to the viral video clips. John calls their attention to all of the land he owns and the fact that he is still able to plow his own land at ninety years old. He asks them to look at what the Lord has done. “I’ve got greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, lambs, rams, hogs, dogs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits. You name it!”
Shouting John chose gratitude. In the spirit of this holiday season, I encourage you to do the same.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once month the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus
Take a look at the video now taking the world by storm.