Life’s Little Lessons XX
Practicing What You Preach
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matt. 23:1-3). A certain fountain pen salesman persuaded a merchant to order 500 dozen pens. He was writing the order in his notebook when suddenly the merchant exclaimed, “Hold on! I’m canceling that order!” Then he turned to wait on a customer. The salesman left the store perplexed and angry. Later, the merchant’s bookkeeper asked, “Why did you cancel that fountain pen order?” “Why?” responded the merchant, “because he talked fountain pens to me for half an hour, using a number of forcible arguments, and then booked my order with a lead pencil. His practice did not agree with his instruction.” Let us practice what we preach and preach what we practice.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matt. 24:42-46).
A U.S. Army officer told of the contrast in his pupils during two different eras of teaching at the artillery training school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Home of the Field Artillery). In 1958-1960 the attitude was so lax that the instructors had a problem getting the men to stay awake to hear the lectures. During the 1965-1967 classes, however, the men, hearing the same basic lectures, were alert and took notes. What made the difference in the classes of 1965-1967? The students knew that in less than six weeks they would be facing the enemy in Vietnam. Let us be fully aware of the urgency of being ready, watching, and waiting for our Master’s return.
“His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:21).
An ancient story tells about a king who needed a faithful servant and had to choose between two candidates for the office. He took both at fixed wages and told them to carry buckets of water from a nearby cistern and dump them into a large basket which he had placed a short distance away. He said that he would return in the evening to inspect their work. After dumping a few buckets of water into the basket, one of the men said, “What is the good of doing this useless work? As soon as we pour the water in, it runs out the sides.” The other answered, “But we have our wages, don’t we? The reason for the work is the master’s business, not ours.” The complainer replied, “I’m not going to do such fool’s work,” and throwing down his bucket, he went away.
The other man continued to work and by late afternoon he had emptied the cistern. Looking down into it, he saw something shining at the bottom. It proved to be a very valuable gold ring that had been lost in the cistern. The servant thought: “Now I see the reason for pouring water into the basket! If the bucket had brought up the ring before the cistern was dry, it would have been found in the basket.” Let us be loyal and faithful to the Lord in all things even when we do not fully understand His purpose, and even when we can’t see visible results.
Cleansing the Inward Person
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:25-26).
The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a world war she served until she was retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California. During its conversion, the ship’s three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted. However, when they were placed on the dock, they crumbled. Nothing was left of the 3/4 inch steel plate from which the stakes had been formed. All that remained were more than thirty coats of paint that had been applied over the years. The steel had rusted away. (From Illustrations for Preach and Teaching, p. 107). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who were corrupt inwardly, but appeared righteous outwardly. Let us cleanse ourselves inwardly that we might also be clean outwardly.
Being Called and Chosen
“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). “Then one said to Him, ‘Lord, are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23-24). A little girl went to church one Sunday morning, but her parents stayed at home because they felt tired. When the little one returned the father asked, “What did the preacher preach on this morning, dear?” “I don’t remember all,” said the child, “but I think his text was: Many are cold and a few are frozen.” That about sums it up for many members of the church! https://foxfire1.com