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OUT TO PASTOR: Nothing like a mystery to calm my nerves

Nothing calms me down more than a mystery when I have a busy week.

The other afternoon I got caught up and faced some rather stressful situations. One was playing that afternoon, so I decided to rearrange my schedule, enjoy the afternoon watching that mystery movie, with a nice hot cup of coffee and maybe an Apple Fritter with it.

As I began watching this mystery, the first part is always the murder.

As these mystery movies begin, I like to guess who the real murderer is. I am usually wrong – but don’t tell anybody, especially The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

The detectives brought in one suspect they believed committed the crime.

I was really getting involved when I heard someone walk into the living room; it was The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

She looked at the TV, then back at me and said very firmly, “He is not the murderer. The wife is the one who murdered her husband.” Then she turned around and returned to her kitchen.

I chuckled a little because how would she know who the murderer was at this point in the movie?

The detectives concluded that the subject they were interviewing was not the one who did the murder. Then they came up with another suspect, and as they were interviewing him, a head popped into the living room; it was The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

“He’s not the guilty one; the wife killed her husband; trust me on this.”

I knew she was wrong – the wife had a good alibi; the detectives crossed her off the suspect list.

They brought in several more suspects, and they were all cleared as far as the crime. Finally, they got to the place where no other suspects were in view.

Suddenly, someone appeared as a suspect that they did not see before.

That’s the way a good mystery goes. The one they had seemed like a very good prospect. He had no credible alibi at the time of the murder.

The more they interviewed him, the more it seemed like he was the murderer.

Watching it, I began to agree that they finally got their murderer. All they had to do was collect the evidence needed to convict him.

Just then, a head popped into the living room. “He did not do the killing,” she said very emphatically. “As I said before, the wife killed her husband.”

I did not know how she came up with that because she was working in the kitchen, and I was watching the television. So how could she know things about the mystery I didn’t know?

“You’re wrong,” I said to her, “all the evidence points to this one they just arrested. No other person has his evidence.”

She poked her head back in, and I said, “The wife is not in the picture right now. She could not have done the crime.”

With one of her smiles, she replied, “Trust me. The wife did it. If I’m right, I’ll bet you lunch at my favorite restaurant tomorrow.”

Could I pass up something like that?

“I will take you up on that bet, and I can’t wait to have lunch at my favorite restaurant tomorrow.”

I could hear her chuckling as she walked back to her kitchen. I had never known her to be wrong like this, and I was preparing myself for a grand celebration at my favorite restaurant tomorrow for lunch. This would be the first time I had ever won a bet against her.

Returning to the mystery movie, suddenly, everything began to change.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

The wife’s alibi began to break down as the detectives re-examined the evidence; they saw it differently, to their surprise.

As it turned out, all the evidence revealed the wife killed her husband, and she was the murderer.

I heard some chuckling from the kitchen area and wasn’t going to ask what was happening. I knew exactly what was going on.

At lunch, the next day, all The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage could do was smile as she read through the menu and placed her order with the waitress.

I’ve never known her to order so much for lunch.

Driving home from the restaurant, I happen to think of a verse of Scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

If I want real rest from my labors, it will only come from my relationship with Jesus Christ. Nothing can compromise that rest.

Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone is (352) 216-3025, e-mail is, and website is

Ellis County Press

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Ferris, TX 75125