When Small Rocks!

When Small Rocks!

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:24-28 NIV

There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:24-28 NKJV

Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zechariah 4:10 NIV

They say (whoever “they” is) that the human being is the superior being upon the earth and yet, if we are careful observers of human behavior, there is much reason to doubt that “they” say.

We tend to spend what we don’t have, forget about others and think only of selves, and usually get caught up in the most mundane debates and conflicts. Then, because we have seldom reached out to help others, we wonder why–if and when we need–there’s no one to be found to help.

That is not to say that whoever is holding out a hand–expecting something to put into it–should be helped. We should all exercise wisdom and discernment–being good stewards over what God has provided us. However, wisdom–when exercised–will reveal to us who is actually in need of help and who is simply scamming people.

Now, reflecting upon the above-referenced passages–can we say, unequivocally–that we are as wise as those little creatures who act so much more responsibly than we do? Do we “prepare” for life or do we simply exist in life? When we have–do we set aside a portion to use another day? Do we take the time to prepare to achieve goals or do we just set them and without any preparation–expect to accomplish anything?

In our current economic state–by now most people know–we need a college education in order to navigate the obstacle course of life. We no longer have access to the “manufacturing job” that only required an ability to follow instructions, therefore not much education was needed to do “rote work” on a job. Now, we need to know how to “think critically” without someone standing over us, telling us what to do.

One of the biggest problems I’ve observed as an educator is that not many students take any initiative in learning. They wait–expecting to be spoon fed information–and tend to get angry when expected to think. They have been trained to simply regurgitate what they have been told and most–even when they could successfully refute what they’ve been told, never say a word. This is not an acceptable path of learning.

In order for one to truly learn anything and learn it well, they must be willing to question every aspect of what they’re being told or what they discover. It is through questioning that we learn and the more we discover, the more questions we should have. We can conclude we have learned what’s needed when we can no longer ask a question about the matter. But how many people understand that concept?

Those in research–the scientist, the discoverers, the inquisitive, understand this concept which makes them valuable assets in any society. They are seldom satisfied with the first or last thing they discovered and keep questioning their findings. This is not a large group of people–comparatively so to the population on the planet–this is a small, dedicated group of people that many don’t acknowledge unless something tremendous is found. Though there are a number of people working on a project–those seeking a cure for cancer–it is seldom the small group–that gets the accolades–but they don’t care. They just keep going, and going, and going–like the rabbit promoting the battery.

We are admonished not to think lightly or to despise the small things in life, for if we are truly wise, we know that it is the small steps taken by small groups that make a big difference in the lives of others.

Therefore, we prepare for doing big and great things, by taking the first small steps–in whatever it is–we hope to accomplish. First things first–Remember The Name!

name recognition

The Prize!

The Prize!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

For those who understand the nature of competition, the goal is to obtain a prize.  However, in Christ, we are not competing for a prize as mere mortals understand it. We are running a race to obtain the end promise-eternity in Heaven with Jesus. If we are competing for any other prize that will rust, fade, or tarnish, we may miss the opportunity for the true prize.

Professional athletes compete to win world recognition and rings and trophies for the team. In order to do that–they prepare by participating in grueling workouts, team practices and disciplining themselves to stay focused on the goal. And when they win national competitions, many on the winning team tell reporters–the next stop in their journey is Disneyland.

Musicians in high schools compete for medals and trophies. In order to win, they prepare by studying the music, practicing their instrument and disciplining themselves to focus on the end goal.

Writers compete for prizes in various genres and sometimes just for the sake of energizing creativity and stamina in staying focused in completing a project under deadline. In particular–the National November Writing Month is not about competing with others necessarily, and there is usually a great deal of support from other participants to encourage one to keep going to write that 50 thousand words in 30 days. I’ve entered the competition for three years and always finished under 15 days. The win–though rewarding–did not garner me anything other than bragging rights and a certificate. And so this year, I’m not writing because I have already won–the knowledge that I could do it.

Unfortunately, in the same competition–some people start out with projects they have started years before and in essence–they’re cheating themselves because their participation and possible completion has been rigged with the early start. So even if they complete the goal–it’s not really a win.

That’s how I view our recent election–a rigged election for a win is not really a victory–and the evidence of such is so apparent that even a blind person could see it. But until we change how we do business, we are stuck with the possibility of more rigging–through deliberate lying and undermining–trying to win by any means. But winning an election is not the prize–it is a responsibility and a commitment to govern all people–with equity and justice for all. If this role is not taken seriously, then democracy begins to unravel and we become vulnerable to all the predators who seek to destroy. For their goal–is to control.

Though there are some who say we simply have to accept the status quo, I believe that change begins with action and until there is action, there is no change. So, I’m going to use the same discipline exercised in competing for a prize, to energize others to see change that benefits all–starting now, so that we have a leader who knows and understands the need for preparation in order to govern and lead. 

Preparation Matters!

“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3 NLT).

In the verse preceding this one, Jesus tells His disciples that there is more than enough room in His Father’s house for everyone and He is going to prepare a place for us. Then, He says, He’ll come back for us when everything is ready so we can be with Him, forever.

Every time I read scripture, I see more–gain greater insight into the words and enhance my comprehension–for the practical aspect of what is said.

“When everything is ready” means it is not already prepared for us and since we are still here; our mansions (rooms, homes) are still not ready. Why?

Preparation time is never wasted time. When we love people and invite them into our homes, we want them to be comfortable. Well, at least most of us do. On a practical level, we want to make sure that we have sufficient room, food, and an environment that will entice them to stay and know they are welcomed. That’s for the visitors. How much preparation is made to bring home the new-born baby?

Now, we must consider much more in preparing to bring the baby home (again, most of us). Babies needs are much greater and now we must consider how to best care for the baby, so positioning of everything is important–where the crib goes, the changing table, convenience of formula, diapers, clothes, everything! It is important to know where everything is going to be before we need it!

How much time have we spent preparing for–anything in life? For school, for careers, for marriages, for living a Godly life? The lack of preparation for anything is a guarantee for failure in everything. Success does not come by osmosis–it requires planning–goal-setting, strategy-making plans for every level or step we take. Within the planning–we organize our thoughts and our steps and then implement. Sometimes, we may have to make adjustments along the way, but this is easily accomplished when we keep our eyes on the goal. When we are not organized–no order exists–and chaos reigns.

It’s not too late to rethink where we are, where we’re going and make the necessary preparations to get there so when we do get there, we can sit back and enjoy! That’s for practical living. For the things of God--Prepare hearts to receive the Good News, Trust in the Lord, Stay in The Word, Obey His Word, and Accept the invitation to His Home.

Don’t let the delay in His return concern you–He’s still getting things ready for us! And when they are ready, He’s coming back to get escort us home!

Thinking–Beyond Now!

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2,3 NKJV).

Preparation time is never wasted time, but it is time that few people ever use appropriately because they lack initiative to think beyond the moment.

Look at what Jesus said to His disciples–“I go to prepare a place for you…” How long ago was that? Whether we count the time as two thousand years or two days, we have to see the plan–for us whenever we leave.

Lack of preparation and planning are the main reasons why many people never taste success at anything. We cannot succeed if we do not plan and prepare. Preparing for eventualities means we have to consider all the possible outcomes and plan for them.

Taking a trip requires preparation–determining the cost, the method of conveyance, appropriate clothing, checking weather conditions, having sufficient income to cover emergencies.

With Jesus’ preparations He determined the cost was His life; He’s conveying us to heaven by supernatural means; we’ll be clothed with white robes, the weather will be glorious every day, and there are no emergencies to consider (no more sickness, no more dying, no hunger). Hallelujah! Praising Him for His preparations!

What are we doing? Have we considered our behavior and how it impacts the lives of others beyond this moment?

Retirement–(I’ve recently learned the hard way) takes consideration of all possible events and saving as much income as one possibly save–in order to make sure one can live (and not just exist) when they retire.

Death insurance–(commonly called life insurance)–is needed so there won’t be a burden on those left behind to put us into the ground. There are enormous costs associated with dying and many people don’t prepare for that eventuality. Unless Jesus returns before we die, we will die–and remain asleep until He comes.

Obesity--(a pet peeve)–causes a number of problems for people other than the one who has overeaten. Has any consideration been made for the possibility of someone else having to lift or carry them? Have they considered the possibility of their being harmed if they cannot move fast enough to get out of a burning house or car? Have they considered the negative impact that obesity usually has on their body? No one enjoys food more than I do, but I must also consider what would happen if I fell or needed assistance and no one being available to help me because of my weight. We need to think beyond the moment that food is in front of us and prepare for the future.

Care–for children and elderly–if parents are no longer able to care for children or elderly no longer able to care for themselves–who is going to do it? What preparations have been made for that possibility? Someone needs to prepare–in writing–if necessary plans for this possibility.

No one succeeds at anything without preparation–not athletes, not actors, not musicians, or singers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, parents, students–no one. If we really need a lesson in preparation–we can look to The Word and look around us at the squirrels and other animals that prepare for the winter and other seasons.  We can “watch the ants” and learn from them.

Learn to think beyond the moment and prepare for all those moments beyond the here and now!