A preacher was walking down a dirt road one day and came upon a man with a mule pulling a wagon load of two-by-fours. The mule had stopped and refused to move. The man was yelling and pulling on the mules’ reigns trying to get him to move. The man was angry and was using foul language. The preacher came up to the man and said, “If you want one of God’s creatures to do what you want him to do, you must treat him with love and kindness”.
The man then told the preacher, “If you can do any better, than you are welcome to try”.
With this the preacher went to the rear of the wagon, pulled off a two-by-four board and walked to the front of the mule and looked the mule in the eye. The preacher took a mighty swing with the two-by-four, hitting the mule up the side of the head.
The man in shock said, “I thought you must treat him with love and kindness”?
The preacher then said, “You are. But first you must get his attention”.
That is how I feel this week. God has stopped just short of a two-by-four to get my attention. Perhaps He has not ruled that out if I continue to refuse to move like the mule above.
One of the big advantages of journaling or blogging (a.k.a. “ego journaling”) is you can see how God is moving over a period of time in your life. What He is teaching you. Patterns of experiences or behaviors. I am picking up a disturbing trend in recent weeks. God appears to be challenging me to climb out of my comfort bunker.
Here is the recent string of posts that is showing some consistent messages.
Roller Coaster Faith Rocks! – An article about how the roller coaster is more fun because you give up control. Hmmmm.
Changing Patterns – How weather and spiritual patterns can both become stagnant.
Tripping Over Ministry – The inspirational story of a man who took a big chance for God and saw ministry all around him.
My Personal Reaction to Michael Vick – How God’s Word turned my disgust with Michael Vick around and revealed my own desperate need. I quoted a passage in that blog from 1 John 3 that was really convicting.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.
That was disturbing enough. Then today I innocently reviewed a tune I had downloaded weeks ago. I have become an occasional fan of bluegrass music thanks to Alison Krause and Ricky Skaggs. Someone suggested that I might like Rhonda Vincent so I legally downloaded a few of her tunes. Here are the lyrics of one of the songs I finally got around to playing.
There are many people
who will say they’re Christians
and they live like Christians on the Sabbath day
But come Monday morning, til the coming Sunday
They will fight their neighbor all along the way
Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God
Two-by-four warning!!! Incoming! I could not believe that a random bluegrass singer was pickin’ and singin’ the Biblical truth that I was wrestling with yesterday and today. A catchy beat did not lessen the impact of God’s truth.
If you say you love Him while you hate your neighbor
then you don’t have religion, you just told a lie
I am all about grace. But running parallel to the grace track is the accountability track. I don’t want others to view my walk as a lie. So I have decided to follow the example of recent blog subject Smoky John Gaines.
“I just get up every morning and say, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do today? I’m reporting for duty.’ “
Deep breath. Okay. I am reluctantly reporting for duty and believing that God will equip me now that He has my attention.