Life’s Little Lessons XXI
Seeing in the Dark
I once had to go and meet one of my brothers somewhere, and it was night, and I was walking. I remember that when I reached him, he mentioned that he had seen me coming a long way off, and that even in the dark he knew right away that it was me by the way that I walk.
There are a lot of times in our lives when situations seem to conspire to make things go well for us. Maybe a minor disaster is averted because some needed item comes by in some unlikely way, or maybe some strange thing happens and prevents a terrible injury. We’ve all seen it, and even though no inexplicable miracle has happened, we say, “That was God.”
But when something happens that we don’t like, and our limited human wisdom can’t immediately see the reason behind it, do we ever say, “That was God”? Do we know Him well enough to recognize Him even when things are dark, or He seems far away? (By Stephen Auman)
There Will Be No Tomorrow
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:31-32).
In one of the Peanuts comic strips by Charles Schultz, the television is on, but there is no one in the room listening to it. The announcer is talking about a golf tournament that is in process. He says, “Smith has to make this putt to win the championship, or there will be no tomorrow.” Just as he says, “There will be no tomorrow,” in walks Lucy. She immediately goes into a panic and starts running around and yelling to the other children, “The world is coming to an end. They just announced it on television.” Her panic quickly spreads as we see all the peanuts kids as they go wildly screaming about. Finally, in the last square all of the children huddled on top of Snoopy’s doghouse waiting for the end of the world. When someone claims that he knows when the world is coming to an end, we can rest assured that he knows no more about it than did Lucy.
The Second Mile
“For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Mark 9:41). “Recently, I asked an Indian tailor in Southern Thailand to repair some trousers for me. In my haste to get to my next engagements, I soon forgot I had left the trousers with him. How surprised I was to receive a phone call in my hotel room 150 miles away. The tailor had tracked me down and was planning to have someone deliver the trousers to me. The cost of repair was fifty cents. The world seldom operates like that anymore; and, all too often, Christians fail to operate like that as well.” (From Christian Leadership Letter, p. 3) Let us continue to go the second mile because we belong to Christ.
Why is He Lost?
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). People often ask, “Is a man lost just because he is not baptized?” Actually, he is lost because he is a sinner. If a man who can’t swim falls into a lake and a boat is sent, but he won’t get into the boat, is he drowning because he won’t get into the boat? No, he is drowning because he is in the water. Likewise, a man is not lost just because he is not baptized, but is lost because he is in sin. Just as the boat is the means of rescue and one must get into it, the gospel is the means of salvation and must be obeyed (baptism included) to rescue one from sin.
Re-Confirming the Word
“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20). There are many today who claim to have the supernatural gifts of tongues and healings. This cannot be true, because the purpose of the miraculous gifts in that early age was to “confirm” the word of God. The word “confirm” means to “establish.to prove its (the word’s) truth and divinity” (Thayer, p. 99). The U.S. Constitution was confirmed, Sept. 17, 1787, by the signatures of George Washington and 38 other statesmen. That document was confirmed over 200 years ago, and no one can reconfirm (re-sign) it today. Just as our nation stands on the foundation of the Constitution, the church of our Lord is founded on the New Testament. Both documents were confirmed in their beginning. The very nature of “confirming” takes place at its beginning and not throughout its existence. The miraculous gifts of the first century are to the New Testament what the signatures of the fathers are to our Constitution, and neither can be duplicated or reproduced today.