Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, believe in doing good

The right place at the right time.”

I realize that not everyone recognizes Jesus as the Son of God (or even a real person); but for Christians, his birth, ministry, death and triumph over death fit the “right place at the right time” for fulfilling prophecies of the Messiah.

Perhaps that is one of the most constructive themes to explore this holiday season and in the coming year: striving to be in the right place at the right time.

Common courtesy dictates punctuality and following directions, but there’s much more to it than that.

Sure, the limitations of the human mind leave us zigging instead of zagging in this complex world. Pure dumb luck can land us in calamitous circumstances due to no fault of our own.


…often we are “cruising for a bruising.” We make ill-advised snap decisions or gradually become trapped in a routine that is less than ideal for ourselves, our family or our community.

“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” was a tongue-in-cheek hit for songwriter Randy Newman and rock group Three Dog Night; but it’s also true that we frequently ask for trouble with our choices of friends, hang-outs and pastimes. (Yes, Billy Joel, sometimes running with a “dangerous crowd” does hurt someone.)

Many innocent people wind up in jail because their lifestyle makes their guilt downright plausible. (“Abstain from all appearance of evil,” the apostle Paul advised.)

All God’s children have troubles, but some of our solutions are merely treating the symptoms. And in the case of substance abuse as a coping mechanism, not treating the symptoms very successfully at all. “At the bottom of a whisky glass, all day long” is neither the place nor time for making rational decisions.

Even laudable endeavors such as good, honest work can pose risks of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, many people are living paycheck to paycheck; but others have the privilege of declaring “Enough is enough.” Once you have a roof over your head, food on the table and an emergency fund, is it really wise to keep working extra just for things?

Put “Cat’s in the Cradle” on the stereo and see if you don’t start thinking that perhaps the right place and right time is “Tina’s school play at 7 p.m.” instead of “at the office until daybreak.”

With all the opportunities for mentoring, donating food, collecting clothing, visiting shut-ins and cleaning up neighborhoods, there’s certainly a buyer’s market for volunteerism. Maybe “scrunched down in the back row every time there’s a call for raised hands” is not the best place and time.

According to the book of James, “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

“On the top side of the ground, while you’re both still breathing” constitutes the only chance for rebuilding bridges that have been burned; but some people are too prideful to take the first step toward clearing the air over some slight — real or imagined. That baby in the manger did not grow up to promote such stubbornness.

I wish each of you a joyous holiday season. But as you map out who sits where or strategize a timeline for taking down the decorations, I hope you’ll also make a commitment to consider the right place and time for life’s more substantive endeavors.

Copyright 2023 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”