Category Archives: bible reading

Drops of Water on the Summit

Story of the Day for Saturday June 18, 2011

Drops of Water on the Summit

                       . . . Jesus firmly decided to go to Jerusalem. 

                                                             Luke 9:51

  Keri Russell said, “Sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can change your life forever.”

Triple Divide Peak, in Glacier National Park, is the only mountain in the world that feeds into three oceans. Rainwater falling on the western slope drains into the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, and eventually flows into the Columbia River — which drains into the Pacific Ocean. The northeastern slope flows across Canada into Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. And rain from the southeastern slope feeds into Marias River, which flows to the Missouri, and then joins the Mississippi River to empty into the Atlantic Ocean.

Three raindrops could fall within an inch of each other on Triple Divide Peak, and each one would end up in a different ocean.

The religious authorities in Jerusalem wanted to arrest and execute Jesus, but they didn’t know how to get their hands on him. As long as Jesus stayed put up north in Galilee, he had a huge following of people who would protect him.

The most momentous stride in history was the first step Jesus took when he decided he would walk south to Jerusalem in order to die.

Making a decision and acting on it can change the entire destination of our lives. The problem is that – unless you decide to run for the presidency or to have yourself shot out of a cannon – no one really notices what you’ve done. Or cares.  No one finds the first inches a raindrop travels on Triple Divide Peak to be of any significance. Who noticed Jesus’ first footstep after he firmly resolved to walk the dusty road to his own execution?

We can talk a lot about God’s will. We can think a lot about The Dream that the Lord has put in our hearts, but everything depends on the direction of our first footstep . . . and taking it.

My friend, Carl, once asked me: “Three frogs are sitting on a log and one frog decides to jump into the pond. How many frogs are now sitting on the log?”

“Two,” I said.

“No, three. Because, until that frog acts on his decision to jump, he’s nothing but a frog sitting on a log.”

For several years now, I’ve wanted to climb Triple Divide Peak and pour a few drops of water on the summit – and think of the water levels rising in the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.

I’ve never stood on the top of Triple Divide Peak, however, because I’ve never made the decision to do it. One of these days, though . . .

                                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Two Pairs of Pants

Story of the Day for Friday June 17, 2011

Two Pairs of Pants

 

                 Be careful that you don’t practice your righteousness before people to be seen by them.  For if you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  

                                                                                  Matthew 6:1

 

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, has just finished saying we should let our light shine so that people “will SEE our good deeds” and praise the Father in heaven.  Now he says we must not practice our righteousness before people to be SEEN by them.

When you read both these verses side-by-side they seem to contradict each other, don’t they?   Well, not to take away the suspense or anything, but Jesus is not contradicting himself.

 

When Jesus says we should not do our righteous acts before others to be seen by them, he is talking about showing off.  Don’t be a religious show-off.

The Pharisees loved to be admired for their righteousness.  But it’s no fun being superior to other people if nobody notices.  So, they took pains to call attention to their incredible holiness.  When they gave to the needy, they announced their generosity withy trumpets.  When they prayed they just happened to be reciting their daily prayers on busy street corners.  When they fasted, they would screw up their faces funny so people could see they were fasting.  Not only that, but the early Christians talk about the Pharisees fasting twice a week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  In ancient Palestine, “market day” was – do you want to guess? – Tuesday and Thursday.

Hypocrites are not religious to serve God.  They are really serving themselves.  That is why Jesus is telling us that do the right things for the wrong reason doesn’t count.

But when Jesus tells us to let our light shine so that people will see our good deeds, the focus is not on us, but letting people see the amazing things God does in people.

 

Once I had to attend a religious meeting, a suit coat and tie kind of meeting.  I drove down to the area the night before.  Since my old car needed frequent care under the hood, I drove in grubby, oily jeans.

It wasn’t until the next morning as I put on my suit and tie that I realized my suit pants did not accompany me on the trip.  So, I raced through town looking for a clothing store.  I grabbed some nice slacks off the rack, paid for them, ran to my car, and put them on in the front seat. I strolled (out of breath) into the meeting looking cool and casual, a fine specimen of formal attire.

Not until after lunch did a brave soul approach me and asked if I realized there were price tags and stickers hanging from my butt.

Those two pairs of pants have become a metaphor of the extremes I need to avoid in life.  I don’t want to be grubby with sin and leave oil stains everywhere I sit.  On the other hand, I don’t want to be proud of how new and clean my pants are, and strut around with the tags on.

When you let your light shine, make sure people are looking to the source.

                                           (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)