Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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“Nasty Women” for the Lord!

Nasty Women For the Lord!

“She’s such a nasty woman!” – a one liner from Donald Trump, leveled at Hilary Clinton during the third presidential debate, caused me to search for a theological response.  Usually an expression like “Nasty woman,” might be used as a negative description of a vulgar or decadent woman.  It seemed to me that Trump used the expression to describe Hilary Clinton as she hurled charges back at him.  In that context, a “Nasty woman” is not a vulgar or decadent person, but a woman who stands her ground, does not back down to a man and essentially hits back when a man attacks her.

I began to think about “Nasty women” in the Bible – those who had the nerve to stand with the men, talk back to the men, and basically acted with the same or similar authority to men.  There are several examples of independent women in the Bible who acted with authority around men: Eve; Jezebel; Deborah; Delila; Bathsheba, when she spoke with David on his death bed; Mary and Martha and many others.

Take for example Mary and Martha.  The setting is a dinner at their home where Jesus is the guest of honor.  Martha is preparing the meal.  Mary skips serving the food and goes into the room where the men are located.  Mary sits with the men at the feet of Jesus.  Mary wants to listen to Jesus, dialogue with Jesus, question Jesus and ultimately understand Jesus.  She is afraid that if she stays in the kitchen she will miss some important pearl of wisdom from the master  of the universe.  Martha gets mad at Mary for not helping her to cook.  Martha stops cooking long enough to storm into the room, confronts Jesus and asks him to check Mary for having the nerve to refuse to do what women almost always did – cook, serve and clean for men.  Martha demands that Jesus banish Mary to the Kitchen.  Jesus refuses to throw Mary under the bus when he tells Martha to “Leave her alone…she has chosen the better part (to sit at his feet and learn more about what he is teaching).

In the context of how Donald Trump described Hillary Clinton, both Mary and Martha are “Nasty Women.”  Both have the nerve to insert themselves into the decision making of Jesus.  Both women are independent, thinking women.  In the eleventh chapter of John, at the death of their brother, Lazarus, Martha engages Jesus in a theological discussion on the resurrection of the dead.  Mary pours oil on the feet of Jesus, dries the feet of Jesus with her hair and kisses the feet of Jesus.  I think Trump would call both women, “Nasty women.”

So, my question for the women who are reading this post is this: Are you a “Nasty Woman?”  Do you have the nerve to question a man?  Do you have the self-confidence to challenge a man?  Are you a “Nasty woman” for the Lord?  I encourage you to take a moment and read about two of the early, “Nasty women for the Lord:


Luke 10: 38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Do you know any, “Nasty women for the Lord?”
  2. Why would you describe these women as “Nasty women?’
  3. What would you add to my description of a “Nasty women for the Lord”?



Lord, grant me the courage to speak my mind, act my mind, and live my mind.  Lord, remind me to only put you in front of me.  Lord, I lift you up.  Lord, I acknowledge your power, grace and mercy.  Lord, make me unafraid of people who would persecute me for your names sake.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 10:38–42). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

My Last Trip for the United Church of Christ

My Last Trip for the United Church of Christ-

In my previous post, I wrote about working part time for the Division of Evangelism and Church Extension for the Board of Homeland Ministries of the United Church of Christ. Today, I would like to share with you my last trip for the United Church of Christ.  Typically, I would travel one to two weeks each month.  The night before I would fly out I would spread my suitcase in the living room on the floor.  Meticulously, I would make a series of trips to the suitcase, counting out and organizing the clothes I intended to pack for the trip.

In our fifth year of marriage our first son, Nathan, was born.  We lived in a third-floor apartment that had a loft that we used as a second bedroom for guests.  I began traveling for the United Church of Christ two years before Nathan was born.  The first trip I was scheduled to take was the January after his first Christmas.  Nathan did not talk until he was three years of age.  He was a calm child who did not cry much and went to sleep on schedule every night.  Sometimes he would fall asleep around 7 PM and sleep all night long.  We wondered if there was something peculiar about him sleeping so much, but his doctor, Dr. James Collins assured us he was ok.

The night before my last trip, Nathan saw my suitcase and crawled into it.  He had on a Christmas jumper-onesey, with a matching stocking hat.  Even though he could not talk, he climbed into the suitcase, smiled and just sat there.  It was if he was saying, I know what it means when the suitcase is open on the floor – my dad is getting ready to take a trip.  It was one of the cutest images I have ever seen.  I found my camera and took his picture inside the suitcase and said to myself, “This is my last trip for the Church.”  I made the trip and fulfilled my obligation to the Church and informed my boss that I was finished.

Working for the national church was one of the richest, tremendously meaningful and fulfilling experiences I have ever had.  The relationships that were kindled during that three-year period continue to this day.  My appreciation for the work of the national church is fuller, but at the same time, my sense of priorities as a father, husband and pastor were also defined during that three-year period of my life.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III and Judge Denise Page Hood

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III are available at



“When You Are on the Road Do You Ever See Prostitutes?”

Florida is Where I Realized I Was a Grown Man

“When you are on the road and staying in a hotel, do you ever see prostitutes?”  This is a question my father in law, Richard Page, asked me when he inquired about my work with the United Church of Christ Board for Homeland Ministries, Division of Evangelism and Church Extension.  I did this work between the ages of 29 and 31.  I worked for Bob Burt.  My father, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr., Rev. Tony Stanley and I had developed a proposal to fund ten church internships around the country at predominately African American Churches.  The proposal called for ten churches to take on an intern for the ministry, either while they were still in divinity school or early in their careers as a means of helping to shape and form their ministry.  The churches in this program were carefully selected based on the pastor of each church.  My dad, Rev. Stanley and I were convinced that young ministers and students for the ministry are often heavily shaped by those who serve as their mentors.  The scope of the plan was a three year proposal that paid the interns $10,000 annually.

My father was a mentor to Andrew Young.  Rev. Stanley had been mentored by his father, Rev. J. Taylor Stanley.  Rev. J. Taylor Stanley was also a mentor to my father through the “Convention of the South.”  Rev. Stanley later worked for my dad as an associate minister.  Rev. Andrew Young and his brother, Walt were the first males I bonded with, after my own father that I looked up to as an infant in New Orleans.  At 12 years of age I rode back to New Orleans with Rev. Stanley under my father’s direction to talk with him and keep him awake.  We drove to New Orleans for the wedding of him to his first wife, B.  Later in life in the prime of my ministry I performed the wedding of Rev. Stanley to his second wife, Andrea, who is the daughter of Andrew Young.  Harold Long, the pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Miami pastored a church in Birmingham, Alabama before his call to the church in Florida.  During segregation we could not stay in hotels when we traveled so when we got near Birmingham my family would stay with Rev. Long.  He was another of my mentors in ministry.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I am the beneficiary of a lot of role models in ministry.

Back to “Prostitutes in hotels.”  I think my father in law was testing me to see what I was doing with my time as a young man on the road for the Lord.  Smile.  I worked for the United Church of Christ for three years.  It was a great job.  My day job at the Plymouth United Church of Christ only paid me $10,000 a year, before taxes.  Denise and I were still new in marriage and frankly, I needed the money.  Bob Burt invited me to administer and manage the pastoral internship program that Tony, my Dad and I had created.  Bob Burt put me on a mission to visit not only the churches in our internship program, but also churches that were labeled “New Church Starts” and “Renewed Churches.”  The Renewed Churches were more established churches that were experiencing difficulty.  I traveled for the United Church of Christ one to two weeks a month.  I did this work for three years.  Bob Burt asked me to leave my work as Associate Minister at the Plymouth United Church of Christ and work for him full time.  I was the only African American on his staff.  Tomorrow, I am going to write about when I knew it was time to leave that job.  Rev. Henry Simmons followed me at the Division of Evangelism for the UCC and worked full time for Bob Burt.  Rev. Paul Saddler followed Henry Simmons in that same position.

My father in law was probably concerned that as a 29-year-old, I would get into trouble and make his daughter upset.  So, he asked me to describe what it was like on the road.  I told him that although I had a pretty large expense account, $10,000 a year, often I stayed in the homes of the ministers I was visiting or with friends.  For example, when traveling to Los Angeles to visit Rev. Lloyd Galloway, I stayed in the home of Rev. and Mrs. Galloway.  In San Diego, I stayed with Rev.  Adlai Mack and his wife.  In Washington DC, I stayed with Rev. Stanley and his wife.  In New Orleans, I stayed with Michelle and Ray Manning and sometimes Vivian McDonald, my brother Emory’s God-Mother.  It was only in the cities where I did not have much of a relationship with the pastor that I would stay in a hotel.  Bob Burt and his staff were based in Manhattan, New York.  Whenever I was expected to be in New York for staff meetings I stayed in Mt. Vernon, NY in Westchester County with Bob Burt and his wife at their home.  My life was exciting, but very controlled in terms of my contact, exposure and environment.

My father in law insisted that I explain to him about seeing prostitutes.  So, I outlined my hotel routine.  I told him that my boss, Bob Burt, gave me a detailed itinerary of who I was to see and what the purpose of my visit was.  Often the days were long.  I would rent a car and go from city to city, meeting to meeting and usually get back to the hotel late.  Bob Burt encouraged me to use the credit card, get a good meal and a good night’s sleep.  Most of the time I would get room service, read a little, prepare for the next day and fall asleep.  I also had my “Day Job” at the Plymouth United Church of Christ.  So, even though I was on the road, I was writing, planning and thinking about new and existing programs at my church in Detroit.  My father in law wanted to know if I would go downstairs and “Hang out at the bar.”  I assured him that I did not drink and never went to the bar to hang out.  He looked at me like I was from Mars, and said something like this, “Well, if you don’t go to the bar and stay in your room, you probably are not going to see any prostitutes.”

Looking back on those years, It dawned on me that my experience working for Bob Burt and the United Church of Christ Board for Homeland Ministries, Division of Evangelism and Church Extension, was one of the defining times in my life that helped shaped me as a person and as a minister.

The photo at the top of this piece is sunrise behind the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.  I was in Miami not long ago, preaching a revival at the Church of the Open Door.  Each morning I was in Miami, I walked around Biscayne Bay, taking photos of the sunrise, and trying to take in a little exercise.  I took this photo of the Intercontinental Hotel and smiled as I remembered that this was one of the hotels I stayed in when on the road for Bod Burt, and no, I did not run into any prostitutes!  Smile.

Psalm 144: 12         May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars, cut for the building of a palace. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When and where did you realized you were grown?
  2. Did your understanding of you maturity make you sad, proud, or happy?
  3. What is your hope and prayer for the young people in your life?

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for every experience that has shaped my life.  I thank you for every joy.  I thank you for every challenge.  I thank you for every person that I have met along the way.  I thank you for love.  I thank you for every disappointment, hurt and sorrow.  I thank you for your presence.  I thank you for your perspective.  I thank you for your peace that floods my soul.  You are my rock, my stability, my power and my joy.  Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 144:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I Thank God for Every Time I Remember You!


I Thank God Every Time I Remember You!  

Today we celebrated the unveiling of street signs with the name of my father, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr.  The most unusual aspect of the program was the assembly of several current and former members of the Detroit City Council, where my dad served for 28 years.  I am in that group of persons who formerly served on the City Council.  My tenure on the Council was relatively brief, only eight years.

As I looked at the current cast of City Council Members and some of the persons I served with as well as other former members of the City Council, it dawned on me how unique the gathering was.  I cannot remember a time when so many of the former and current members of the Council have gathered in any one place.  At the end of the program we gathered together for photos and it seemed like no one wanted to leave.  I think each of us realized how unique the occasion was and wanted to take advantage of the moment.  Even though members of a local unit of government like a City Council work in close proximity with each other for long terms, in our case, four years, the very nature of what it means to serve on a City Council is often adversarial.  So, for so many of us to gather together today to celebrate the legislative legacy of my father, it was quite unique.  I would like to thank Council Members Scott Benson and Mary Sheffield, who shared their remembrances of my father and spear-headed the effort for the street signs in his honor.

Several persons shared remembrances of my dad, including Brenda Jones, the current president of the City Council and Senator Carl Levin, who was Council President when my dad served as President Pro-Tem.  Rev. Roger Miller, associate minister to my father; Jimmy Settles, National Vice President of the UAW made remarks.  Dr. Charles Steel, President of the SCLC spoke.  At the end of the program I asked Renee Baker Brundidge, my dad’s former secretary, to offer her personal remembrances of my dad.  I was really touched with her words about the directives my dad gave to her regarding the little things in a neighborhood like the need for a basketball hoop or grass cutting, the kinds of things that mean a lot to citizens.

I believe that one of the greatest tributes we can give to people who have touched our lives in any way is simply to remember them.  I find myself keeping the names of people in my phone contact list, even after they have died.  I do this because I like scrolling through the names and being reminded of people who have meant something to me along the way.  When you are absent or one day will die, how will you want people to remember you?

The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Philippi by saying:

Philippians 1: I thank my God every time I remember you,[1]

Paul is under house arrest in Rome.  The church at Philippi has written him a letter which was hand delivered.  Paul writes them back and lets them know that he thinks about the church often.  The greatest complement Paul can give the church is to let them know he remembers and loves them.  The greatest complement we can give to those we love is to simply remember them.  One of the worst things we can do for those who have meant anything to us is to simply not think about them.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about remembering those you have loved?
  2. Is there a right or wrong way to remember others?


Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for every remembrance.  I thank you for the memories of love.  I thank you for the people who have extended kindness and sensitivity to me.  I thank you for the sweet moments.  I thank you for the pain.  I thank you for the joy we shared.  I thank you for the memories.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Pat Eussery of Renee Baker sharing personal remembrances of Councilman Nicholas Hood Sr. 

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr. at


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Php 1:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


If You Mistreat My Daughters…

In presidential politics there is an expression called, “The October Surprise.”  Usually, the opposition comes up with some negative information on the other candidate and releases it as a devastating flash of news that its difficult if not impossible to recover.  In this election, the “October Surprise” seems to be Donald Trump himself.  It began with him parading at the second debate accusers of former president Bill Clinton.  As it turns out, he has his own set of accusers which has thrown him completely off message, or perhaps, what we are seeing really is his message – a message of sexism, sexual assault, bigotry and hot-headed, out of control temper tantrums.  The accusations against him are horrible: unwanted groping, kissing, physical contact with women.  I will be glad when election day finally gets here, because I do not know how much more the American public can stand.

The photo at the top of this piece is of Barbara Rose Collins and her god-father, Julius Reeves.  They were in church last week and seemed so loving towards each other.  I think about them in the context of Donald Trump and his accusers because they remind me that not every male -female relationship is in the gutter.

In the Bible, when Laban and Jacob separate, Jacob with the two daughters of Laban, Rachel and Leah, Laban makes an ominous threat saying that if Jacob mistreats his daughters that God will be his witness.

One of the underlying messages of the Donald Trump saga is that each of these women is someone’s daughter, sister, aunt and possibly mother.  How would you feel if your mother, sister, aunt, was groped, kissed, raped, assaulted physically or verbally by a power struck man?  Ever since I considered the candidacy of Hillary Clinton I have wondered what the national response to a female running for president.  When Donald Trump won the republican nomination I smiled to myself and thought, “Hillary should drop to her knees every night and thank the good Lord that Donald Trump is her opponent because he is so uncontrolled and arrogant it is almost as if she is a batter and God has thrown her a fast ball done the center of the plate.” (the home run pitch) This election is becoming a referendum on sexual assault.  I cannot see how Donald Trump can overcome his own words and behavior.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Photos Prayers and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at


“If You ill-treat my daughters…remember that God is witness between you and me,”(Gen 31:50)

Street Signs in Honor of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr.


When:  Sunday, October 15, 2016

Time:  1:15

Where:  Corner of Canfield and St. Antoine, Detroit, Michigan

Rain location:  Plymouth United Church of Christ 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit,  Michigan

Why:  Rev. Hood was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1965; President Pro-Tem of the Detroit City Council;  Founding member of the SCLC in New Orleans, LA; Member of the organizing leadership team for the 1963 March on Detroit; visionary and developer of the Medical Center Courts Apartments (230 units); founder of Cyprian Center; Founder- Plymouth Day Care Center and Plymouth Day School; Pastor of the Plymouth United Church of Christ 1958-1984; Visionary for the construction of the Plymouth United Church of Christ location at 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan

Reception on the Lower Level of the Church






My Daily Meditation and How do You Pray?

My Daily Meditation

Let me share with you how I meditate.  Over the years I have incorporated several different ways and times to meditate, but the basic routine is the same.  At this stage of my life, for the last 30 years, my meditation has taken place early in the morning during the time I have set aside for physical fitness training and exercise.  After waking up around 5 AM, I go the gym three to five days a week.  In the warm months, I may walk or ride my bike two to three times during that same week.  During my exercise time I put on my headphones and listen to a series of songs that help me to think about God and what God would have me to do.  The last year or so, these songs have been Christian music.  However, sometimes I listen to sermons from C. L. Franklin.  Other times I listen to jazz and dance music.  What I have found is that music seems to uncork my spirituality and spirals my thoughts in an upward manner.  In years past, I have listened to the Bible in an audio format – the One Year Daily Audio Bible and sometimes listening to the Bible, chapter by chapter.

Before I was ordained, I sometimes would drive to Pinery Park in Canada, find a sand dune, climb to the top and pray and meditate in silence.  It did not take me long to realize that driving two hours to find a sand dune was an impractical way to meditate.

I try to write a daily spiritual blog.  For the last two or three years I have engaged in the process of thinking about, reflecting upon and writing something spiritual every day.  Some days I get tied up with my other duties and it is hard to sit down and write.  What I have found is that the daily discipline of stopping everything else to think about the Word of God, and what it is saying to me is drawing me closer to God.  My first book, “The Test, The Strength, The Endurance and the Way Out” , which is a book of personal prayers and photographs that I have written and taken, is a direct outgrowth from the daily blog.  The process of stealing away long enough to think and write anything about my faith is a powerful addition to my prayer and meditation routine.

Two weeks ago, in Miami, Florida, I preached a revival at the Church of the Open Door.  Early in the morning I would set out each day from the hotel lobby and walk down to Biscayne Bay to watch the sun rise.  During that time I found myself praying, praising God and thanking God for the opportunity to minister to people so far from my home in Detroit.  The photo at the top of this blog was taken one of those mornings as I walked and meditated.  What I am learning about meditation and prayer is that there is no particular way to open ourselves up to the will of God.  More important is that we step back from everything else that we are doing and try to focus on God.  You do not have to drive to the nearest mountain.  Meditation can take place in your work-space cubicle, the privacy of your home, in the car while you are going from place to place.  I remember a boy in one of my confirmation classes responding to my question regarding when do you pray, saying that he, his sister and mother prayed every day as she drove them to school.  He said, “My mother puts the Bible between her thighs while her hands are on the steering wheel, and she makes the three of us pray.”  The mother was getting prayer done, when and how she could.  I am so thankful they never had a wreck while praying.  More importantly, the mother showed her children how important prayer was to her.

I thank you for reading this devotional.  Hopefully this has helped to spark a conversation within your own soul on the question of how do your meditate.


Psalm 104: 34         May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is the process you use for daily meditation?
  2. What does meditation do for you?


Prayer:  Lord, I center my thoughts on you.  Every step I take, every thought I make, I think about you!  Every action and reaction, I ask myself, “what would the Lord have me to do?”  Lord, I humble myself in prayer.  Lord, help me to set aside the cares and concerns of the day long enough to meditate upon your word, your way, and your intention for my life.  I give myself to you.  Draw me closer, Lord Jesus.  Speak to me that word I need to hear.  Show me what you would have me to do.  Make me one with your Spirit.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 104:34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Walk With the Integrity of Your Heart

Walk with the Integrity of Your Heart

Integrity is a big word.  King David speaks about his desire to live a life that is right in the sight of God.  The king wants to not only be righteous in front of the members of his house, but also in the sight of God.  Striving to live a life that seeks integrity can be a challenge.  There are external and internal challenges to trying to live a life that is right with God.  We cannot be right with God if we abuse and misuse family, friends and strangers. Integrity is also difficult to attain because there are so many pressures in life that seem designed to lead us astray.  Sometimes the temptation to take what does not belong to you can be tough to overcome.  The temptation to be silent when we should speak up is another way we can become side-tracked.

We all know examples when a person makes a poor decision that is a long way from what God wants us to do.  Where the question of living a life with integrity gets rough is when we look at our own lives and must admit that sometimes we have allowed our desires to move us in a direction that is different from what God wants.  For me, one of the challenges in trying to live a life of integrity is not just doing the right thing, but thinking the right thing.  Thinking right can be difficult, especially when a person gets up in your face, lies, or totally takes out of context the good you have tried to do, what you have said and done, it can be difficult not to want to respond in kind.  Let me share with you my personal steps for seeking a life of integrity.

The following is a process one can use to seek the integrity that God desires of each of us:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the teachings of the Bible.
  2. Try to live a life consistent with what Jesus teaches
  3. Before you speak or act, ask yourself, “What would Jesus expect me to do?”
  4. Pray to God for forgiveness when you get off the track

Psalm 101: I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does it mean to “Walk with integrity of heart”?
  2. What are some of the challenges to “Walking with integrity of heart”?


Prayer:  Lord, help me to strive for integrity.  May my yes mean yes and my no, mean no.  Grant me the courage to stand up for justice, fight for equality, and to push the world towards prosperity and peace.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O, Lord my strength and redeemer.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 101:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Treasures on Earth

Treasures on Earth –

Denise and Me on a mountain top in Greece – 2015

Hurricane Matthew, the major storm of 2016, has passed through several southern states and is making its way up the eastern seaboard of the United States of America.  The news is full of stories of persons who have lost so much in the storm and its aftermath.  Several persons have shared that the storm has caused them to “Lose everything.”

If a storm washed away your personal possessions, what would hurt you the most?  Could you stand losing personal photographs, clothing and furniture?  What matters most to you?  Jesus Christ taught that we should “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”

I think back to when my favorite plaques and memorability were placed in storage for the renovation of the church in Detroit, Michigan, where I pastor.  In the oddest of coincidences, a fire broke out in the storage unit and my prized possessions were lost.  For a moment I felt stung.  As I considered the loss, I was reminded me that what I loss was a combination of wood, metal, glass and paper.  The quality and character of my life in no way was impacted by the loss of those things.  Granted, I could no longer clutter the walls of my office with the plaques, but really, who are we really trying to impress with our plaques?  What is the point of plastering your walls with plaques?  Is it to let others know that you are important and a “big shot”?  As it turns out, I have a room in my house where all the other plaques are.  They are not on hanging on the walls, but they are there.  My favorite of the bunch is my “Alumni of the Year” plaque from Hume Center in New Orleans.  This is the child care center where I was potty-trained.  But, even with that plaque, does it make or break the significance of my life?  I smile when I see it, but it does not make or break the value of who I am.

One question that keeps coming back to me is this: “Is it possible to live a life of faith and service to the Lord and to prosper in this world?”  Does a Christian have to be poor?  Some people almost seem to celebrate poverty.  These people include persons who are well-intentioned, they work to end poverty, but at the same time seem to want to keep things as they are.  The predictability of poverty and its side effects gives some Christians something to work to improve.  I believe Jesus desires something more.

If we “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” we set the stage for prosperity and success in this life.  Let me share with you how this is possible.  First, the things that are required to prepare a place for us in heaven means that we live lives of faith, love and self-control.  These qualities will help you to save money, accumulate money and prosper in this world.  Why?  Because you have fewer reasons to waste money, time and the quality of your family and other relationships.

Matthew 6: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How can a person strive for “Treasures in heaven” and prosper while on earth?
  2. Is it sinful to desire riches in this life?
  3. What does it mean to “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”?


Prayer:  Lord, balance my heart.  Teach me how to prioritize my perspective on spiritual things.  Lord, show me how to seek those things that cannot be destroyed by rust, moth and thieves.  Help me to know what really matters and what does not.  Lord, prosper my way, prosper my faith and prosper my love.  Bless me with spiritual balance.  Bless me with a life that matters, relationships that are substantial, faith to move mountains and love that will not fade.  Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 6:19–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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