A Spiritual Boomerang

boomerangThe boomerang is a tool or weapon that is crafted to be thrown. It is typically constructed as a flat airfoil that is designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. A returning boomerang is designed to return to the thrower. It is well known as an instrument used by aboriginal Australians for hunting.

In the spiritual realm, there is a principle of reciprocating action similar to the action of a boomerang. The Apostle Paul addresses this principle in his letter to the Corinthians: But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). What we give or withhold returns to us in like manner. Jesus taught this principle: Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

The Message Translation of Proverbs 11:24 provides excellent insight into the reciprocation concept: The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” In the Book of Acts, Paul presents us with a beatitude that goes against our natural intuitions and instincts: “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

The principle of reciprocating action, the spiritual boomerang, is the scriptural way into the Lord’s blessings. Therefore, let us be gracious to those who have offended us, liberal in sharing our physical resources, abundant in our kindness to strangers, and generous in loving our neighbors. May we be joyful in sharing our faith in Christ and always be respectful to unbelievers.

A Principle To Live By:  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you”.

~ Brother Roy

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Never Pet a Porcupine

porcupineI really enjoy watching wildlife programs on television. That attraction has been fueled by the privilege I’ve had to take numerous safaris in Africa. One of the programs I recently watched featured a couple of large lion cubs. They were nearly adult in size, but their inexperience was obvious. A porcupine had waddled by attracting their attention. The porcupine was slow and much smaller than the lions. It appeared to be an easy meal at best or an interesting playmate at worst.

What a disastrous decision one of the lion cubs made in attacking the small, slow moving creature! The result was a face and paws full of barbed quills. The attack by the inexperienced cub was a fatal one. Barely able to walk and eat, the lion cub had suffered lethal wounds and eventually died.

Can you see a life lesson in this event? Sin, like the porcupine, often appears to be innocuous. The lions thought this small animal appeared harmless, perhaps good to eat or fun to bat around. Their inexperience proved devastating. Sin is always destructive, but is often viewed as little more than an interesting ‘plaything’. Many people choose, in spite of the strongest of Biblical warnings, “to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25).  Many contemporary song lyrics echo a dismissive attitude toward sin. Phrases like; “it can’t be wrong if it feels so right” and “heaven is just a sin away” serve to illustrate this point.

Solomon calls to our attention the fact that it is the “little foxes’ that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15). One of Satan’s devices is to present sin as less than it is. He would have you believe you can commit small sins without any danger to your soul. Consider, however, how many ‘small’ sins such as the eating of the fruit in the garden, unauthorized fire on the altar, and the touching of the ark, have received searing judgment. Severe penalties fell upon the inexperienced and the careless perpetrators.

All too often, small sins seem to make way for greater ones. By yielding to the lesser, we give opportunity for Satan to tempt us in the greater. It is a sad thing to depart from God’s will for a small and seemingly harmless sin. It is the greatest folly to chance hell for a small transgression. For the love of one little sin, some have lost God and their souls forever. Many times small sins can more dangerous than ‘major’ ones. Great sins may startle the soul, and awaken it to repentance, but little ones breed and work secretly until they contaminate the soul.

Prayer:  Lord never let us underestimates the destructive nature of sin, even little ones. Give us the wisdom to never pet a porcupine.

~ Brother Roy

Don’t Stop Plowing to Chase Mice

plowAt a recent gathering of the morning ‘coffee drinkers’ at Fitch’s Store, Dean Cook, retired Naval Officer and Free Methodist Pastor, brought a new witticism into the conversation. Although I am a mountain boy from Eastern Kentucky and know many of the sayings from rural America, it was no so with this one. “Don’t stop plowing to chase mice” was a completely new saying to me. I had to cogitate on that one. After considerable thought, I share with you my ruminations.

In a bygone day, most plowing was done with horses, oxen, or, in more recent years, tractors. A breaking or turning plow was pulled through the soil, turning the soil over. It was not unusual to turn over a nest of field mice. Mice would scatter in every direction. With a nearly automatic reaction, the plowman could be distracted and turn to watch the chaotic scramble. The end result was a crooked furrow that could ‘throw off’ the rest of the furrows in the field. Thus, the witticism – “Don’t stop plowing to chase mice.”

It is not difficult to find a life lesson in this saying. Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).  He knew a plowman who looked back caused his furrow to be crooked. Likewise, if we look back, our path will wander, and we may miss God’s will for our life. Obviously, crisis events like those mentioned in Luke (9:59-61), such as major family issues, are great distractions. But small things, like mice to the plowman, can interfere with a believer’s ability to stay clearly focused on the goal Christ has set before them. “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life(Matthew 7:14) applies here. Crooked and wandering furrows just won’t do.

Hear the wisdom of Solomon: Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor (Ecclesiastes 10:1, ESV).  Solomon also calls to our attention that it is the “little foxes that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15). This ought to serve as a wise counsel to you and me. It is the little things in life that often cause great damage. In our church life it may be type of music, style of worship, length of service, perceived slights, etc. In our personal lives, it may be minor family disagreements, petty jealousies, pride, tight finances, busyness, obnoxious co-workers, etc.

Be resolved to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and to “stay the course” in following him to the end. Don’t let distractions cause you to plow crooked furrows.

Don’t Stop Plowing To Chase Mice

~ Brother Roy

Givers of Grace

giveAs the service at church was ending, the pastor challenged our congregation. He asked us to be “givers of grace and not just receivers of grace”. The challenge lodged in my heart.

I thought of how gladly I have been the recipient of grace. I have so often been upheld by His marvelous grace. It was by grace I was saved. It was by His grace that I have experienced the fullness of His spirit. It has been His grace that has sustained me across the years. I certainly have been a receiver of His abundant grace. But then I asked myself, how often have I been a giver of grace?

Scripture in the Book of Acts spoke to me. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’(Acts 20:35).  This principle surely applies to grace. May we not then be missing the greatest of blessings if we are receivers of grace only and not givers of grace also.

We live in a world that presents endless opportunities to be ‘givers of grace’. I think Matthew 25 gives a glimpse of a few such opportunities: I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  And the king will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (25:35-40, NKJ) Giving grace may sometimes be as simple as treating service personnel with kindness, sharing a word of encouragement, or a generous tip. 

When we endeavor to give grace, let us remember the words of Jesus as He was sending His disciples out to minister. He said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b). The Apostle Paul gives this advice: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4: 29, ESV). This advice is echoed in Colossians: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (4:6, NIV).

Peter charges believers to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10).  The pastor’s challenge that Sunday morning continues to motivate me. May I now, in turn, challenge you to be a giver of grace and not just receiver of grace?

Prayer: Lord, today may I be a giver of grace in the measure that You have given grace to me.

~ Brother Roy