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The Truth Is in the Details

In the early hours on a Pentecost morning, one of the Boston hospitals called me to anoint a man named Tony. When I arrived, the patient’s wife was in the room. Just after I anointed Tony, he took his last breath and passed away. When I was leaving the hospital I remarked to the nurse who called me, “Tony looks just like Anthony Quinn, the actor.” She said, “That is because he is Anthony Quinn. The next day there was a newspaper article that reported that Anthony Quinn died in a Rhode Island hospital surrounded by his family. The article was not accurate. The actor died in a Boston hospital surrounded by his wife and a priest. The report left out the most important details–he was anointed just before he died on Pentecost Sunday, which happened to be the actor’s favorite feast day.

After I read the article, I wondered how many stories in life that I hear that are missing important details.

My brother was in his home when he heard a call for help. At first, he thought it was the TV but he discovered that a man had fallen out of his boat and was drowning in the frigid waters of the lake. He quickly ran over to his neighbor who had a dingy. When they got to the man, his head was already completely submerged in the water. They pulled him out alive. Meanwhile, my brother’s wife called 911. When the fire department arrived, they took over the rescue. The next day there was a newspaper article that stated that the fire department rescued a man from drowning. There was no mention of my brother, the neighbor, the dingy, the body of the man slipping under the water, and being pulled out. All the important details were missing from the story. Again, I wonder how many of the details I am missing in life.
I often hear the statement “The devil is in the details.” I reply that the truth is in the details. If you were to give me directions and forget to tell me to take exit 5 off the highway. I will not arrive at my destination. Details are important.

St. Paul was in Corinth which smack in the middle of the Roman empire. His plan was to travel east to Jerusalem and drop off some money that he collected for the poor Christians suffering from a drought. Then he would jump in a boat to Rome, gather provisions and head out to Spain to proclaim the Gospel there. This travel itinerary is crazy. Paul was living in the first century when travel was not so easy. Why is he so intent on going to Spain? I will tell you. If I were living in Spain during the first century and no one told me about Christ and His message, no one told me that I had access to eternal life, or given the opportunity to live in a way that will fulfill my life. I would be very upset. Paul is driven because of the urgency to spread the details.

When God gave us his Spirit through Christ, he gave us the gift of knowing all the details that we need to get Home and to live a fulfilled life. The truth is in the details.

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