It often happens that when people get evicted they trash the home before they leave. The nations are evicted since 1914. As a result, they are ruining the planet before they leave. But we have the assurance that they won't get to trash our planet beyond repair.-Rev. 11:18
Burn the whole block?
You are the owner of an apartment block with tenants. Some are bad and some are good. If the bad ones start to destroy the block, what will you do? Burn down the whole block? Would it not be better to get rid of the bad tenants only? God won’t destroy the entire planet, destroying the good and the bad together. He will only do away with the bad ones.
See also ‘Theocratic Schools’
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James Truslow Adams said in his essay ‘To “Be” or to “Do”: “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” Which one is more important to you? Many people put their time in the education that supposedly can bring a “future,” another name for money. But they don't give importance to values, manners, problem-solving, emotional and mental stability, and other areas that require us to know how to live. All these are directly related to our spirituality. Again: which education deserves priority? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Truslow_Adams)
Probably you have heard about the supersonic aircraft called the Concorde. It was slick, faster and more efficient than other commercial planes.
The extra mile
If you deposit $100 but then spend $100, you are saving nothing. In a similar sense, to store up treasures in heavens we should not be happy just doing the minimum. Our daily debt caused by our own imperfection really makes us spend a lot more than what we deposit in heaven, sort of speak. Although the debt of sin has been paid off by the ransom, we still need to give our best and go the extra mile in our ministry, hospitality, forgiveness, mercy, etc., to save some extra 'spiritual bucks' with Jehovah. (Luke 13:24)
The salmon swim up the rivers until reaching the very spawning ground that was their original birthplace. They run up the river entails battling hundreds of miles upstream against strong currents and rapids. Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho must travel 900 miles (1,400 km) and climb nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) before they are ready to spawn. They cease feeding during the run, and they have to face other dangers, like bears. The following is a picture from artist Dmitry Azovtsev.
Biking up the mountain
Imagine you are on a mountain that has a very steep slope. You go up riding a bike. You are pedaling, pedaling, and as you move forward, the effort you need to put forth increases. Your strength decreases and the slope gets steeper. But you keep pedaling because you want to reach the top. If you were in that situation, would it not be tempting to turn around and just go back down, carried away by the force of gravity? Think about it: the physical exertion would be less and the wind now blowing in your favor would be refreshing to your face. Similarly, God's Organization is compared to a mountain (Isaiah 2:2-4). We all want to climb up the mountain of the house of Jehovah, but the reality is that in this world it is increasingly difficult to serve God. (2 Tim. 3:13) It's like pedaling up the slope but fighting the alluring idea of just turning around and get carried away by the force of gravity of this world. It feels like it can be refreshing to leave behind some of the struggles true Christians need to endure. Some of our brothers have been carried away by it and have strayed. They forgot that speeding down the slope of a mountain on a bike is dangerous. They forgot that once downhill, Satan is in charge, and he loves to see people speeding down with no brakes. How disastrous it can be to take that risk. What we need to climb a mountain, whether on a bike or on foot, is to be in good shape. Likewise, if a Christian gets exhausted biking on the slope of the mountain of Jehovah it might be because he's spiritually out of shape. From time to time we should ask ourselves, how is my spiritual condition, my relationship with Jehovah, my personal study? These things will give us the strength to continue going up the mountain of Jehovah.
Elders are similar to roses in many ways. Think about these similarities: Roses come in many colors, and elders, in a wide variety of personalities. Roses can adorn a place; elders adorn the teaching of God. If the roses' pointy thorns prick us, it hurts. Elders are not perfect, their imperfections may also hurt our feelings, just like anybody else's imperfections. Roses, regardless of the thorns, are a symbol of care and love. Elders, although imperfect, are Jehovah's loving gift to care for the congregation. Interestingly, do you know that there are a few varieties of roses that have no thorns? Sadly, though, there are no variety of thornless elders. But the good news is: in the future, we will indeed have perfect elders. You know when? When the elders get to have perfect sheep! Then we'll be even! Until then, how can we appreciate this gift that Jehovah has given us? Read Hebrews 13:17. We need to see our elders the same way Jehovah sees them. (https://gardenseason.com/rose-variety-without-thorns/)
Shepherd or cowboy?
Are you a shepherd or a cowboy? Elders are instructed to be tender shepherds that take care of a flock belonging to a Master that paid an extremely high price for it. In contrast, the character of an Old West cowboy was very different. Cowboys were rough and contentious. They are sometimes portrayed as having a special connection with their horses. But the truth is that the cowboy owned the horse. Their so-called connection was not ruled by tenderness but convenience...if the faithful horse didn’t want to move the cowboy beat it. The cowboy didn’t necessarily show care for his mount and definitely didn’t serve his horse, but the horse served the cowboy. In contrast, if an elder is rough, contentious, a smiter and wanting to be served he would not be qualified to serve as an elder. Yet, in Bible times, some kings and false apostles showed that attitude. All overseers need to be careful not to display a tendency to be authoritarian. Elders can reflect on the following: If the congregation would tell Jehovah what kind of elder I am, will they say I’m a shepherd or a cowboy?
Beyond the symptoms
Good doctors strive to find out what is the fundamental cause of a sickness instead of just treating the symptoms. Diligent elders do their best to find out the root of spiritual problems, the underlying reasons for the apparent symptoms. Just supplying spiritual painkillers is not going to solve a spiritual issue. Missing meetings, not supporting service arrangements, having constant misunderstandings with others in the congregation can be symptoms of something more serious like neglecting personal study, prayer, having bad associations, or dealing with a troubled conscience due to secret wrongdoing. If the elder finds the source of the issue, he can help the sheep to uproot it permanently.
If we compare the different roles in the congregation to holding a formal banquet, where will the elders be sitting? At the head of the table? At the feet? Will they be at the table at all? It would be something like this: The Master Chef is Christ and the cook is the faithful slave. The publishers will be sitting down, but the elders will be working, serving the food to each one of those sitting. Their role will be more like waiters. A waiter needs to make sure nobody gets burned with hot dishes, and that nobody gets dirty with sloppy ones. Likewise, elders have to deliver the spiritual food, sometimes is sweet, sometimes is spicy, whatever the case, they make sure that firm admonition does not turn into unloving words. Also, their talks are not sloppy, splattering only specific individuals, sounding like personal attacks. A waiter makes sure that everybody gets what they order. Elders are alert to the specific needs of the individual sheep to provide them with the spiritual nourishment they need. When the waiters are serving the dishes, they are careful not to touch the food accidentally with their fingers. And never would they alter the flavor deliberately when the cook is not looking. Similarly, elders do not 'touch' or 'alter' the food the slave has fixed. The elders want to transmit with accuracy the Bible knowledge published in the publications, instead of sharing their own home recipes. Yes, spiritual waiters have been entrusted with a weighty responsibility, but what a privilege it is to work together as a family under Chef Christ, having a role in the spiritual banquet owned and hosted by our Father, Jehovah .
The hasty doctor
You are in pain, so you go to see the doctor. Before you finish explaining your problem the doctor prescribes you some medicine, although he doesn't really know your condition. Would you say that he is a good doctor? Elders in the congregation don't want to become that kind of spiritual doctor. Before giving counsel or sharing suggestions, the elders need to listen carefully and ascertain the facts. In that way, the confidence the flock has in them would not be shaken.
Stars and Planets
What’s the difference between a star and a planet? Stars emit light of their own whereas planets shine by reflecting the light from a star. For instance, the sun produces its own light and the earth reflects that light. And the earth depends on that light to host life. It makes us wonder, how do we see ourselves in the congregation? Like a planet or a star? Do we love to be the center of attention, having everybody gravitating around us? Jehovah is the source of spiritual light, our sun. In fact, he is the Father of the celestial lights. (James 1:17) We humans don’t emit light of our own but we can shine with Jehovah's light if we are humble and redirect the credit and glory we may receive to our Father. (http://keydifferences.com/difference-between-stars-and-planets.html)
An elder is helping you move house, and he is carrying three heavy boxes up three flights of stairs. It's obvious that he can't handle another box. Would you say to him: Hey slacker! There are still many boxes downstairs. You are so incompetent, do better! That won't be very loving. The same can happen in the congregation if we give unnecessary burdens to our elders. Elders are open to assist us but criticizing and showing discontent for their work in the congregation is uncalled-for. We need to remember that they already have their hands full with many heavy boxes, and, really, they work for free!
Acts 20:28 - elders are dealing with the most expensive sheep in the world. A 'handle-with-care' attitude is required. If one of them is lost due to negligence, would an elder have the means to pay Jehovah back?
The right tone
Elders need to correct, readjust and judge, but also need to commend, teach, and encourage. How can they balance all these roles? We can review a comment from the Organization to illustrate how to attain the right tone when playing these different roles. The Watchtower 2006 hit the nail on the head when declaring: ‘it is fitting to show gentleness where possible and firmness only when required.' Firmness should be shown only when required. To illustrate, many states in America have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. The benefit of such laws is obvious: the helmet can save lives! But would you wear the helmet when driving your car? Would you wear it at home? Would you wear it at the meetings? No! It is not required, and it would be quite bizarre. It is fitting only when required. Similarly, a firm, stern, rigid tone should not be the feature that stands out in those taking the lead. Gentleness must be prioritized regardless of the role. (More info: w06 4/1 page 20)
If the elders need to treat the brothers and sisters with much love while handling a judicial committee, when they have committed a serious sin and may be on the verge of disfellowshipping, how much more so when elders are dealing with the flock in less severe situations, like when giving counsel or delivering a talk.
See also 'Heart'
Like a man driving a car at high speed with no breaks is the one that is unable to control his own emotions. At each crash in life he will feel broken, deeply in pain.
Sentimentality is not one aspect of the fruitage of the spirit. Self-control is. Since our heart is treacherous, we cannot live our lives driven only by emotions. (Jer. 17:9) It's much wiser to act in knowledge.
Just do it
Our treacherous heart can stop us from doing what is right. But doing the right thing is not about feeling, but about exercising our will. It requires effort, but Jehovah blesses effort. If we have the will to do what is right, our hearts will catch up later. This illustrates the need for us to control our imperfect emotions rather than letting them control us.
Jesus knew Lazarus was going to be resurrected. (John 11:23) He knew that God had the power to do it and he knew that in a few minutes tears of sadness will turn into tears of joy. Yet, when he saw his friends weeping in pain, he himself felt their pain and couldn't hold it, he gave way to tears. Yes, Jesus had real empathy for others. This illustrates an important point: all followers of Christ need to develop that level of love for our brothers and sisters. (John 13:34)
A very succinct definition of empathy: Your pain in my heart.
Encourage by using the Bible skillfully
Just like a skillful Surgeon uses the scalpel with unbelievable precision, just like a constitutional Lawyer quotes from the constitution with eloquence and accuracy, just like an experienced Mechanic can tell what's broken in a car just by hearing, we need to show similar ability when using the Bible. We need to use it with careful precision when dealing with delicate situations. We need to quote accurately from it in the ministry. We need to know the scriptures that can heal a broken soul when listening to our brothers and sisters in need of encouragement.
The construction worker
There was a man who worked for a construction company. He always tried to do exactly what his employer wanted. He arrived for work on time, and never took 'extended' coffee breaks or lunchtime. One day after his morning break he got up and started working, picking up a large piece of timber to take to the worksite. Some of the workers completely ignored him. Some of the others started to give him a hard time. Some said, 'Take it easy, come back here and sit with us. You don't need to do that now'. Others shouted: 'That is no way to carry a piece of timber by yourself; you need to balance it better!' Others thought he was just trying to impress the boss, and trying to make them look bad. What does this example illustrate? Our pioneers, ministerial servants, and elders and others are trying to do what our 'employer', Jehovah God, wants. We can ignore, discourage, criticize, or impute wrong motives; or we can get up, reach out and help them carry the load.
End of the system
See also 'Armageddon' and 'Dates'
Imagine a soccer game (or other sport) in which the score is tied. There are only a few seconds left, and the best player has the ball. He starts running, aiming to make the goal. But all of the sudden he stops and asks: 'how much time we have left?' Wouldn't that be atrociously stupid? Time is running out, and he will miss the chance of winning the game! Something similar happens today. In this time of the end, it is not our job to ask how much time is left. (Acts 1:7) Time is running run out! Jehovah is the timekeeper, he knows how much time is left. Our job is to run, run, run for our lives, scoring the winning goal by serving Jehovah wholeheartedly.
A cricket tells another cricket: did you hear what the farmer said about burning the grass we are living in? The other cricket says: don't believe that. Since the days of my grandfather, the farmer has been saying the same thing and nothing happens! A week later, the farmer came, burned the grass, and the crickets died. From the narrow perspective of the cricket, nothing will happen. But how long does a cricket live anyway? No more than a few months. We don't want to have a narrow point of view about the end. Some may say that it is taking too long, but for Jehovah, one day is a thousand human years, so from his perspective, the end is still very much on time.
Just like in hurricane season we prepare for the disaster even though we don't know the exact moment it will come, likewise, we prepare for Jehovah's day. Even when we don't know the exact day, we are aware we are in the season of the end.
The book about the end
Have you ever enjoyed a really good book? Perhaps it grabbed hold of you so that you were unable to put it down until you finished it. The book had a great plot and kept you on the edge of your seat as the hero narrowly escaped many dangers. Now suppose that about a year after you finish reading this great book, you see that book has been made into a movie. So you go to see this movie, and as you watch it, you find that, unlike most book-to-movie translations, this movie is faithful to the book down to the finest detail! But while other movie-goers who have not read the book are grasping the armrests on their chairs, you aren't as afraid, because you've read the book, and you know exactly how the hero makes it out of this situation. In fact, as the movie progresses, others start to look at their watches to find out how much time is left in the movie... but you don't have to, because you've read the book, and you know where in relation to the ending you currently are, and thus how much time is left. The end of this system of things is just like a movie... and some of the parts are very scary. But while we may be on the edge of our chairs at times by what we see on the screen, we are not scared as the rest are because we have read the book and this movie is faithful to the book down to the finest detail. We know where we are at the end of this system of things by what we see around us, we know what is going to happen next, and we are not faint out of fear as the rest are.
Are you ready?
A family gets together to go camping. When they all get in the car and are about to leave, the father asks, are we all ready? Then the daughter says 'oh sorry, I forgot my cell phone.' The mom says 'I also forgot to prepare the food'! The son says 'I just noticed I didn't bring any change of clothes'! Would you say this family was ready to go camping? In a sense, something similar happens with regards to the end. Our Organization has been warning us for years to prepare for the end. Ready or not, that day will come. But as of today, we still have time to prepare for it. So once again, Jehovah wants to ask you, are you really ready?
In 2012 there was a lot of hype regarding a Mayan prophecy saying the world would end on December 21st. In the past, there have been other similar predictions. But how did people react? It didn't look like the majority were preparing for a global cataclysm. Really, most people didn't take them seriously. Although the interpretation on the Mayan prediction failed because it was not inspired by God, it showed that even if God had decided to reveal in advance the date of his great day of vengeance, most likely people would not take any action, and it would not give a boost to our message. Thus we should not put undue emphasis on the date of the end.
If we heat up carrots, eggs, and coffee using boiling water, they will all have a very different reaction to the heat. The carrot, strong and unrelenting, becomes soft and weak. The egg is fragile having a weak shell protecting its inside fluid. But the boiling water will harden its inside. The coffee, though, will have a unique transformation. When the boiling passes through coffee brewing it, the coffee manages to change the water! Not only that, it also releases a pleasing aroma and flavor. When we go through adversity, which of these three best represent us? Am I like the carrot, usually very strong, but when adversity hits I lose my strength? Am I like the egg, a docile person with a malleable heart, but that can easily get harden under pressure? Am I mild when everything goes smooth, but in the face of marital or financial problems I get harsh and agitated? On the outside, I may look unchanged, but inside I'm bitter, disappointed and frustrated with a sick spiritual heart? Wouldn't be much better to be like coffee, whose grain is able to change the boiling water, the very adverse circumstance? Like coffee releasing its aroma, we can also emanate a positive spirit not disturbing others with our plight. If a situation worsens, we need to become better people and give a twist to the situation. Let’s pass to the next level of self-control and endurance in the face of adversity!
Don't tell Jehovah how big your problem is, tell your problem how BIG Jehovah is. Endure to the end!
Relationship between endurance and patience
We can illustrate it this way: Imagine a man carrying a heavy load. Endurance is the ability to keep carrying the load for as long as is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Patience is when he keeps carrying the load without grumbling or complaining.
A teacup tells its story: “I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red, and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, “let me alone, but he only smiled, ‘Not yet.’” “Then I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. Stop it! I'm getting dizzy! I screamed, but the master only nodded and said, “Not yet.” Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening, and I could read his lips, as He shook his head, “Not yet.” Finally, the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. “There, that's better,” I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. “Stop it, stop it!” I cried. He only nodded, “Not yet.” Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot, and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, “Not yet.” Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up.
But the door opened, and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, “Look at yourself.” And I did. I said, “That's not me, that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.” “I want you to remember, then, he said, I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you wouldn't have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”
The lesson? Jehovah God knows what He's doing for all of us. He is the Potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, so that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing, and perfect will. No temptation has come upon you except what is common to men. And Jehovah is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Endurance is like dancing with a gorilla; you don’t stop when you get tired, you stop when the gorilla gets tired.
There are two kinds of smokers: active and passive (the latter are also known as a second-hand smoker). The passive smoker himself does not smoke but inhales the pervasive smoke of active smokers. One study found that only 30 minutes exposed to smoke can affect the heart. In a way, this can illustrate what happens to a 'passive sinner.' He is not immoral, is not violent, and doesn’t struggle with obscene speech, but he sees and hears all of that on the TV, movies, and music. Surely, the heart of a passive sinner will soon be affected. Many passive smokers live or work with active smokers, so sometimes it’s hard for them to avoid the smoke. But what would you think of someone who willingly submits to tobacco smoke just because it’s fun? If he has a liking for tobacco smoke, he will end up being an active smoker. Likewise, if we submit voluntarily to unwholesome entertainment, we might end up carrying on those things. (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/passive-smoking)
Food for the mind
Home cooking is always better and healthier than eating out. Of course, this doesn't mean we can never eat out. Likewise, God's Organization prepares healthy spiritual food in the form of books, magazines, videos, and even snacks and sweets in the form of pop songs and comics. This doesn't mean we cannot listen to other songs or watch other videos, but it is definitely better to feed our minds mostly with healthy food.
The boy with the ice cream
A young boy sees his young friend eating an ice cream cone, but he doesn't have one. He gets a little bit jealous. However, his attitude changed when he found out his friend got the ice cream because he had terminal leukemia and only has a few days to live. In such a sad situation, he had no problem letting him enjoy his ice cream. What about people in the world? Do we see them enjoying the latest vehicles, nice mansions, the latest gadgets, traveling the world in fancy yachts, etc.? Do we at times feel jealous of them, and do we sometimes wonder how come God's people don't get blessed with those things at present if everything belongs to Jehovah anyway? In an illustrative way, godless people in the world are like the boy eating the ice cream; they have very little time left to enjoy the world. At most 70 or 80 years, even less for the generation that will be hit by Jehovah's day. (Ps. 90:10) Even Jesus said about them: 'Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.' So we can let them enjoy the ice cream in the present life. As for us, we still haven't received our reward in full. (2 John 2:8) If we trust Jehovah, let us concentrate on our ministry now, knowing that we will have an eternity to enjoy all these things we may not have today and many, many more blessings. (Heb. 11:6; Ps. 58:11)
Some people say that living eternally will be boring. I'll tell you what's really boring: Being dead forever! That, my friends, will be awfully boring! Really, which one would you go for?
If a man has ten books but builds a bookshelf large enough to accommodate ten thousand books, Wouldn’t you think he plans to fill it with books? Our brain has the ability to store information for much more than 100 years. Wouldn't it be logical to think that whoever created the brain was planning for us to use it to capacity? Wouldn't it be logical to think that we were made to live forever?
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Once upon a time, a Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly. The moral? Harm seek, harm find. The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit. (http://fablesofaesop.com)
The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk
A mouse who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived for the most part in the water. The Frog, one day intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog, first of all, led his friend the Mouse to the meadow where they were accustomed to find their food. After this, he gradually led him towards the pool in which he lived, until reaching the very brink, he suddenly jumped in, dragging the Mouse with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as if he had done a good deed. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated by the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing upon it with his talons, carried it aloft. The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk. The moral? Harm hatch, harm catch. (http://fablesofaesop.com)
How can we illustrate being exemplary? Imagine a bullseye or target with several circular levels. Outside is the world and its unlawful things, like the practice of sin, or serious sins. The outermost circle represents the lawful things. These are basic things that please God. Unbaptized individuals that are making progress enter into this realm little by little. Once they embrace it they move further into the next level where they get baptized and make the truth their own. Yet, not all baptized individuals go as far as to sacrifice themselves to avoid stumbling others. Those that do move ahead into the next level of progress, the level of becoming an exemplary Christian.
There was once a TV repairman who didn't like to think about his job when he came home. As a result, he never bothered to properly install the TV antenna on the top of his house or fix it when one arm broke in a windstorm. One day a new family moved in next door, and the owner went up on his roof to install an antenna. Knowing that his neighbor was a TV repairman, he put his up exactly the same way and turned his antenna to face in the same direction as his neighbor's. Then, after studying his neighbor's antenna for a while, he reached up and broke one arm off his new antenna! What's the lesson for all Bible teachers? We teach by example, whether we intend to or not!
Flight security drills always remind us that in the case of an emergency we should put the oxygen mask first on us, and then help others, even the children. This is not selfish at all. Why? If we were to pass out in the process of trying to help the child, both would lose. By the same token, we need to be exemplary to qualify for privileges of service; otherwise, we won't have the oxygen we need, as it were, to assist others with freeness of speech.
John Henry Fabre, the noted French naturalist, conducted a most unusual experiment with some Processionary Caterpillars. These caterpillars blindly follow the one in front of them. Hence, the name. Fabre carefully arranged them in a circle around the rim of a flowerpot, so that the lead caterpillar actually touched the last one, making a complete circle. In the center of the flowerpot, he put pine needles, which is food for the Processionary Caterpillar. The caterpillars started around this circular flowerpot. Around and around they went, hour after hour, day after day, and night after night. For seven full days and seven full nights they went around the flowerpot. Finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. With an abundance of food less than six inches away, they literally starved to death, because they confused activity with accomplishment. Many Christians make that same mistake. We must ask the question: Whose example do we follow, and to what end? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Henri_Fabre)
The Mischievous Dog
A Dog used to run up quietly to the heels of everyone he met, and to bite them without notice. His master hung a bell about his neck so that the Dog might give notice of his presence wherever he went. Thinking it a mark of distinction, the Dog grew proud of his bell and went tinkling it all over the marketplace. One day an old hound said to him, 'Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell that you carry is not any order of merit, but on the contrary a mark of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog.' What's the lesson? Are we realistically aware of the reputation we have in the congregation? For instance, if we are well-known for habits or traits sort of questionable that bother our brothers and sisters, like a loud personality, extravagant clothing, bad manners, lavish lifestyle, big appetite, fondness for alcoholic drinks, merciless bluntness, etc... do we feel proud of that or are we aware that those are areas that as Christians we can and should do better?
The Crab and Its Mother
A crab said to her son, 'Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward.' The young Crab replied: 'Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.' The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child. Example is more powerful than words. (http://fablesofaesop.com)
Speed tickets at Indy 500
Imagine a police officer giving speed tickets at Indy 500. Since high speed is expected and allowed there as an exception, wouldn't you agree that it would be totally out of place? Indeed, not all things are black and white. There's plenty of gray out there. It is good for Christians to cultivate the perspicacity that will enable us to see that certain situations are exceptional and that it will be unwise to rigidly judge everything and everybody as immutably normal. Dealing wisely with exceptions requires flexibility, reasonableness, and seeing things in terms of principles rather than rules.
God makes concessions
Matthew 19:8- Moses, with God's approval, made a concession on this important matter due to special circumstances. We need to have that same insight in order to know that sometimes concessions and exceptions are warranted.
Benjamin Franklin's quote
He who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else. (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes)
The pregnant woman rushes to the hospital as the contraction pain announce the coming of the baby. False alarm, she goes back home. This false expectation of a pregnant mother on delivering the baby, will it make her stop believing the baby is coming? No, it is certain the baby will come, just at a time she doesn't know. Our organization has had some false expectations, but that doesn't mean the end will not come.
Alexander Pope’s quote
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes)
Isaac Newton’s quote
'If I have seen farther, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.' What's the lesson? Do you have a tutor you can learn from? Do you learn from the more experienced ones? That is an excellent way to accumulate experience. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/movingwords/shortlist/newton.shtml)
Share your experience
A Master Carpenter explains to his apprentice that holding the hammer about two inches from the base will give him maximum swinging force and will improve his aim; a Chef teaches the new cook how to use the cutting knife faster but without hurting himself; an Electrician helps his apprentice to distinguish a live wire from a dead one. All these examples show the value of experience. When we share our experience with others, we help them to avoid problems and to gain confidence. Are we willing to do that in the congregation?
The amazing Karl Wallenda was an experienced and famous high-wire performer. He performed dangerous stunts on the tightrope, many times without any safety net. The day came, though, when in spite of many decades of experience, Wallenda lost his balance and fell to his death. He was 73 years old. Lesson? Even the most skilled and seasoned Christians could lose balance and suffer a spiritual fall.—1 Cor. 10:12 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Wallenda)
Muhammad Ali’s quote
The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. (http://www.allgreatquotes.com)