Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney 28 May 2002


I used to work with Mike, a brilliant salesman who had one small problem: he had great difficulty in remembering peoples’ names.  I suggested he try the technique of inventing a mental picture of something that mirrored the name.  He visited a potential customer called Mr Quakenbusch.  He applied the technique.  He pictured a little duck sitting under a bush.  A few weeks later, I attended a new product launch, and Mike proudly introduced me to his new customer.  “John,” he said, “I’d like you to meet Mr. Duckshade.”  Fortunately, Mr Quakenbusch had a sense of humour and didn’t mind Mike’s mistake.


Yesterday, the Bank of England was forced to suspend the issue of its new, super-secure 5 note when it discovered that serial numbers could be rubbed off.  Just the feature a forger delights in!  It looks like someone made a big mistake in the specifications or the printing.


We all make mistakes of course.  Some big, some small.  That’s part of being human.  The person who never made a mistake never made anything, so it’s said.  We’ve all heard of the record companies that turned the Beatles down in 1960 because “the craze for guitar bands is over”.  And Alexander Graham Bell saw a great future for his invention, the telephone.  “The day will come,” he said, when every major city will have one.”


David was a great hero of the Old Testament.  He killed the giant Goliath, and later on became King of Israel, revered for his poetry and music and his military and political prowess.  Despite this, David made a big mistake.  He committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his generals.  David connived to send the general into a heated battle, and then withdrew all support, and the general was killed.  This was to cover up the fact that Bathsheba was pregnant by David.  And like most adulterous affairs, the result was misery.  Just ask a certain TV presenter.  Bathsheba’s baby died, and David nearly lost the throne.


But David asked God to forgive him for his sins, and the kingdom was secure.  Just as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, many centuries later: forgive us our sins, just as we forgive those who sin against us.  It’s a two-way thing: forgive and be forgiven.  And maybe then we can echo David’s cry; Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  [Ps 51:10]


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