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Doug Johnson: Simple newspaper ad leads to woes for man selling sewing machine

Several years ago, “Dear Abby” mentioned a fellow named R. D. Jones in one of her newspaper columns.

Mr. Jones had placed an ad in the classified section of a small-town newspaper. However, things went from bad to worse due to a typographical error and the subsequent disastrous attempts to correct it.

It read something like this:

“Monday: FOR SALE, R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.”

When Mr. Jones read his ad in the newspaper, he couldn’t believe his eyes!

He called the newspaper office and demanded a correction to be printed.

“Tuesday: NOTICE, We regret having erred in R. D. Jones’ ad yesterday. It should have read: One sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him after 7 p.m.”

As you can imagine, Mrs. Kelly wasn’t too happy about her reputation being trashed in the local newspaper.

So, another call was made and another correction was printed.

“Wednesday: NOTICE, R. D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in his classified ad yesterday. His ad stands corrected as follows: FOR SALE- R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him.”

Well, that was the last straw.

Mr. Jones took matters into his own hands!

“Thursday: NOTICE, I, R. D. Jones, have NO sewing machine for sale. I SMASHED IT! Don’t call 948-0707, as the telephone has been disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she quit.”

Have you ever had a week like that?

One in which everything seemed to go wrong and, no matter how hard you tried, it just got worse?

If so, then you can identify with R. D. Jones.

How should we handle life’s ups and downs, especially on the days when it’s mostly down?

Paul gives us the answer in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again, I say, ‘Rejoice.’”

Notice he doesn’t tell us to rejoice in our circumstances. When Paul wrote this, he had nothing physically to rejoice about. He was sitting in a Philippian jail, beaten and bruised for preaching the Gospel, with no one to comfort him.

I do not know your situation or what you are facing, but Christ does and He says, “Rejoice in Me always.”

When everything falls apart and it seems like hope is gone, you can always find help in the Lord.

So, rejoice in Him today… even if your classified ad has an error in it!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia