On a day in July, a farmer sat on his front porch, smoking a corncob pipe. Along came a stranger who asked, “How’s your cotton coming?” “Ain’t got none,” was the answer. “Didn’t plant any; afraid of the boll weevil.”
“Well, how’s your corn?”
”Didn’t plant none. ‘Fraid o’ drought.”
“How’s about potatoes?”
“Ain’t got none. Scared o’ tater bugs.”
The stranger finally asked, “Well, what did you plant?” “Nothing’,” answered the farmer. “I just played it safe.”
How long do you think the farmer would last if this was a true story? The story sketches the crippling effects of fear, its power to destroy. Fear of stepping outside conformity may be more common in religion than anywhere else. Traditions of our parents represent safety, becoming hard to let go, even when our own survival is at stake.
Sometimes growth comes with the challenges. We have to let go of those rusty, cobweb-filled routines that motivates us into doing nothing. To grow, we must plant. To learn God’s ways, we must cultivate his teachings within our lives; so the seeds of truth have a chance to thrive.
Fear is the work of Satan. Fear stops us from researching the truth, and fear will starve us from God. Faith that God’s hand can and will protect us from every devastating disaster becomes the nutrients for growth. We can’t sit on our porch and watch the world go by slowly while having the wherewithal to survive spiritually. We as God’s children have responsibilities to see God’s word grow, both within us, and those around us.
Christ is our spiritual water; he is the life-giving being. Christ blood is our salvation from sure death; we cannot have growth without Jesus Christ in our lives. Finding fertile ground to grow can sometimes take effort, but in the end, it’s well worth the sacrifices we make. Ensuring our place in Christ kingdom may rely on us planting something in this world besides skepticisms. So let’s stop playing it safe and start growing with God.
Every year at the same time a man climbs a great mountain near his home. He did this year after year never wavering. It was a challenging climb when he was young and as he got older it became even more difficult. The route up the mountain was all too familiar as he made his way up the mountain face, sometimes narrowly escaping death.
One year after he had grown older and was preparing to make the climb once more, a young man asked, “why are you climbing the mountain at your age with all the danger involved?” The old man replied,”Because even though the mountain never changes, I change every year, and every year I’m different from the last.” He went on to say,” Sometimes the climb is uneventful with little excitement, but sometimes the climb is almost too great and I barley make it to the top. If I can climb this mountain each year, I know for that year there is no other challenge too great.”
Every year we as Christians climb mountains. Sometimes, they are the same mountain over and over. Our mountains range from family issues to financial troubles but they sometimes seem insurmountable in our lives. We struggle with little problems and complain about issues that are small boulders in our paths while traveling through life. Sometimes challenges seem impossible to overcome and too difficult, once past them we stop and wonder why we were so worried.
We as Christians have one more advantage; we never have to climb our mountains alone. We have Jesus Christ alongside us giving us a hand at every turn or twist. He encourages us and is our greatest advocate, he makes every climb a victory in our lives and gives us confidence, there is no challenge too great!
There was a manager of an IBM project that lost $10 million before the project was scrapped. He was summarily called into a meeting at the corporate office. “I suppose you want my resignation?” he asked. “Resignation nothing!” replied his boss. “We’ve just spent $10 million educating you.”
This simple story illustrates a common occurrence that emerges at this time every year. A few folks within our congregations find themselves lacking due to the scriptures instructing Gods’ people to do a self-examination prior to Passover and the days of Unleavened bread. The remark, “I’m not sure I’m worthy to attend Passover” is as common as Matzos, and is a sign; we recognize our failings over the course of the last year. We know we can’t be perfect, no matter how hard we try.
If we look at it through the lens of this story, we may get a slightly different view of our responsibilities as Gods’ people. We are not relieved of being a Christians because we have failed. As in the story, God has too much invested in each and every one of us. We have spent decades in some cases learning and being educated in the spiritual realm. God would not let such a valuable and important person such go to easily over failures no matter how bad we think they might be.
The education God’s people receives comes a too great a price; it was $10 million in the story, but for God’s people, it’s the blood of Christ. Its Christ blood that has paid the price for our sins and failures, and we must continue to learn the lessons that lead to success. That success is being included into first resurrection and the kingdom of Jesus Christ. There is no worker in God’s Kingdom that isn’t as important as any other. We do a self-examination to identify faults and proceed to eliminate them from ever becoming an issue again, not to exclude ourselves from the presence of Christ.
It is a concept used within the corporate world of today successfully, but I believe as in all things it started with God. Have a wonderful Passover and days on unleavened bread.
Two frogs fell into a tub of cream. One looked at the high sides of the tub which were too difficult to crawl over and said, “It is hopeless” So he resigned himself to death, relaxed, and sank to the bottom. The other one determined to keep swimming as long as he could. “Something might happen,” he said. And it did. He kept kicking and churning, and finally he found himself on a solid platform of butter and jumped to safety.
This story at first glance may seem cute and overly simple. The author of the story is unknown, but he illustrates a very biblical view of faith with this tale. We live in a world and time when so many are willing to give up. So many brethren are willing to quit fighting and kicking. They are content letting life consume them, falling ever so gently back into the world. Moreover, what frustration or hopeless situation is so troubling faith is abandoned for the absolute blackness of death? We as Christians expect life to have its challenges; it’s a promise from God. Faith should come with a label that reads, “Warning, using faith may bring great challenges to your life, but used correctly it will assuredly bring many wonderful blessings.”
Two frogs, two sides of the same coin, we have a choice everyday to keep kicking or give up. It’s not a matter of flipping the coin, but a matter of which side we choose to focus on. Every trial ends either with a blessing or a bad lesson on life. Faith has a way of making trials all about blessings from God.
When there seems no escape from our troubles, faith kicks in and we struggle as long as we can. Eventually God allows us a way back to life with better character, better outlook, and greater spiritual strengths. Because we struggle, we learn what it takes to live. Without struggle, we would never have known hope, we would never have known God.
The story goes, in the old days, ponies and mules were used to haul out coal in mineshafts. The animals stayed there for the entire week, except for on Sundays when everyone was off and the mines were shutdown. The animals were brought out and let out to pasture on that one day of the week. When a foreman was asked why they did this, his reply was,” So they wouldn’t go blind from the constant darkness”.
If we live our lives in constant darkness, never emerging from the depths of this world, we could soon be blinded to the light of Gods word. Darkness would become our normal; soon, we would be turning away from the faintest flickers of light. We, like so many others would shun God and his wisdom for the depravity darkness brings. We would find familiarity within blindness and choose anything-resembling hope to guide us, even unto death.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world; he is the creator of this world and the creator of the week. Christ created the seventh day to bring light to his people, to lead them from the darkness of the world into the light of his presence.
Every seventh day is our opportunity to regain our sight into the will of God and his truths. God knew one day away from the influences of the world was important for his people to maintain a moral perspective and maintain our spiritual heath. Light drives the darkness from our consciousness; life is renewed every seventh day and prepares us for another six days in darkness. The only time Satan wins is when we have been overcome by the shadow of evil. Darkness hides that shadow and it can’t be seen, it becomes hard to recognize. Once the light of God illuminates evil, we can see it for what it is, and its shadow will dissipate form the presence of God every time we are lead into the Light of Jesus Christ.
You ever find yourself doing the wrong things for what seems the right reason? When I was a child, I had a tri-cycle; riding that cycle was the greatest feeling in the world, but riding it down several stairs was incredibly reckless and dangerous. That was my mothers view anyway; to me it was the right thing to do at the time, even though my mother hasn’t stopped screaming yet!
Doing wrong things for the right reasons seems to be very popular these days. We want cheap labor; so, we allow illegal aliens to come across our boarders virtually unopposed. We see a need for slightly better healthcare, we redesign the entire system. We see some folks having a hard time with finding jobs; we give them two years to find work, all the while receiving a check from the government. We see some who might be having a hard time putting food on the table; we lessen the requirements to qualify for food stamps for the poor and many others who really could pay their own way.
Because we call ourselves Christian, should we do the wrong things so we may look to the world as righteous? Is it better to feel good on the inside with our actions than do the right thing for everyone concerned, which in the end, might not make us feel so great? The old adage, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, he will feed himself for a lifetime”. Shouldn’t we be motivating folks into doing better for themselves? Shouldn’t we be teachers of life instead of enabling our neighbors into doing the wrong things for the seemingly right reasons just to make us feel better about ourselves?
Paul wrote in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 10. “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Was Paul being mean, or was he being practical for his day and time? Paul being one of the greatest Christians of all time made a statement that sends many well-intentioned folk into screaming fits. And just like me riding down those steps so many years ago on my tri-cycle; they can’t accept the notion, giving away our nation, just isn’t a good idea, no matter how much we scream!
Many intellectuals and talk-show hosts have talked endlessly about the cost of freedom. It is a price measured by each and every person in this great nation and how they view life. Some folks view freedom so ungratefully they go through life not understanding the tedious precipice in which our freedoms are balanced. The issue of freedom annoys many on the left side of our nation; they aqueous their rights to the government and expect the rest of us to do the same. Until they see the need, they cannot comprehend the value of a truly free society.
Our nation was conceived in the blood of men who bore the cost with their very lives. Over and over through the decades and years others have stepped forward and paid that same price. Even though they are few in number compared to the totality of our nation, their lives was the cost that has kept us free. It hasn’t been just soldiers, but firemen, policemen and women. In times of great peril during the growth of this country, it was the average citizen who took the stand for liberty in places like, the Alamo, on the plains, and the out of the way towns that sprung forth.
As these communities grew into cities, counties, and states; they elected representatives whom they placed responsibility to maintain those very freedoms they had acquired by blood and sweat. We put our faith and trust in such people to ensure we wouldn’t lose the way of life we loved so much. We gave them the purse in which is the soul of this nation and the means of survival; we asked only that they use it responsibly, for the good of the nation.
Those in government have rarely seen the cost of freedom; mostly, they see it through the lens of statistics and spread sheets. As diplomats they see wars by visiting USO’s and embassies, sometimes-even hospitals. Their children are often exempted from combat if they are in the military and far from the sounds of battle.
Freedom isn’t something given to us by our government, it is earned by those willing to stand and likely to pay for it with their lives. It is a gift from those that built this nation, who truly loves to be free from those who would take it from us. If you are one who believes being free isn’t worth much, wait and see how much slavery will cost you!