I once read an article telling about two friends who were walking through the desert, talking. They got into an argument, and one friend slapped the other in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand, “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”
Attitude! We all have one. It’s often difficult for us to see our own, but it’s obvious to everyone else. We often deny ours while pointing out everyone else’s. It can be either positive or negative. It can be the source of encouragement or discouragement. It can produce joy or anger. It can lead to our own fulfillment or despair. It can be as elusive as the wind and as powerful as dynamite.
“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” That’s an old saying that really hits the proverbial nail right on the head! How many people go through life day after day, constantly intending to do something they’ve been neglecting to do, or to stop doing something they know they should not be doing? Such intentions cover a wide range of behavior.
I was reading an article that depicted a father talking to his young son. He asked his son if he had given any thought to his future. He might have been a bit surprised to hear the boy say that he had it all figured out. The father asked his son to tell him about his plans. The son proceeded to tell him that after he graduated from high school he would go on to college. “Fine, son; then what?” His son stated that after he graduated from college he’d get a well paying job and buy a big house and a nice car. “Great, son; then what?” The boy said he’d then get married and raise a family, just like his dad. “Wonderful, son; then what?” Well, the son figured that he’d probably work until he was old enough to retire. “Excellent, son; then what?” Perhaps somewhat perplexed by this time by his father’s continued inquiries, the son figured he’d live out his golden years traveling and enjoying his grandchildren. “Splendid, son; then what?” Realizing the inevitable, the young man said he’d die, of course! And then his father looked straight into his son’s eyes and asked one last time, “Okay, son; then what??”
Concerning the resurrection the apostle Paul wrote, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Cor. 15:12-14). If we read over this text quickly, we might not pick up all of the significance of what Paul said.
What challenge are you wrestling with right now? Life seems to present us with a never ending series of challenges of one kind or another. We work through one challenge and give a sigh of relief, thankful that it’s over with. But just out of sight and around the bend life’s next challenge is already on its way. Most of the time we don’t know what that next challenge will be, but we can be assured that it’s coming.
The scriptures emphasize both positive and negative alternatives in eternity- Heaven and Hell! While we make our choices here in this life as to what we will do and how we will live, I believe we should stop and reflect more frequently and more thoughtfully on the alternatives in eternity.
Things can happen so fast. A mother, shopping in a crowded store with her little one, turns away for what seems to be just a moment. When she turns back, her child is gone. A man I know left his little boy in the bathtub for just a moment while he stepped into the other room to get something. When he got back, his son had drowned. A driver looks away from the road for just a moment. When he looks back, he’s ready to crash into the rear end of another vehicle. A woman is going about her daily routine. Everything seems fine. Suddenly, her vision blurs, she becomes dizzy and disoriented. She falls to the floor, helpless. She has suffered a stroke. One moment everything seemed all right. The next moment her life was in jeopardy.
What would you do if you looked outside your window at home and saw your eight year old son and his friend playing catch in your backyard with a stick of dynamite? Would it be a big deal? Would you care? Would you think it was really none of your business? Do you have any doubt that you would move as fast as you could, screaming as loud as you could, to get their attention? Do you wonder whether or not you would communicate emphatically for those boys to put down that stick of dynamite and move away from it as quickly as they could? Would the experience get your heart pumping just a little bit?
Rust will ruin a tool ten times quicker than will overuse. And, ironically, rust tends to develop due to underuse. Just leave a tool laying around, exposed to the elements, and it will develop rust. Within a fairly short period of time, left unused and rusty, many a tool will become virtually useless. Regular use, on the other hand, will tend to prevent rust from developing on that same tool. In many cases, a tool will remain useable and effective almost indefinitely, as long as it is kept in continued use and maybe a thin coat of oil is applied to it now and then.
Gary L. Hutchens