Tag Archives: God’s love

Lessening Our Height

Story of the Day for Tuesday June 28, 2011

Lessening Our Height

                  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by the quality of his behavior – in actions that demonstrate wisdom’s humility. 

                                                         James 3:13

A police officer arrested a man in Plentywood, Montana, for drunk driving. The man refused to take the breathalyzer and insisted he had to go to the bathroom first. The officer granted his request and waited outside the rest room until he came out.

When the motorist emerged his lips and tongue were blue. He had been told that toilet bowl freshener would disguise alcohol on the breath and foil a breath analyzer.

He was wrong.

Ignorance of what is true can leave us sitting behind bars with an unpleasant taste in our mouth. John Newton, who authored the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” said: “Zeal without knowledge is like speed to a man in the dark.”.

Knowledge is vitally important because it can keep our mouth from turning blue. Yet, knowledge, in itself, can also be harmful. Philip Gulley makes a telling observation in his novel, Home Town Tales, when he writes: “Teenagers sit at the picnic table and carve dirty words into the wood. It is a testimony to our town’s academic excellence that all the words are spelled correctly.”

Education that has been torn free from morality cannot make you wise; it can only increase the effectiveness of evil. Adlai Stevenson liked to tell the story about the prisoner who said to his cellmate: “I’m going to study and improve myself – and when you’re still a common thief, I’ll be an embezzler.”

Wisdom can’t be measured by an I.Q. test or a tendency to win at Trivial Pursuit™.  As odd as it may sound, the Bible tells us the foundation for wisdom is humility. Wisdom, in other words, is not rooted in information, but in character.

Look at it this way: the best thing we could ever do is allow God to pour his love over us. But God’s gifts can only be given to the humble. Whoever accepts God’s gracious offer and responds by living filled with the fruits of love, is wiser than anyone holding a diploma from M.I.T.

When I was in grade school I remember reading a book of brain teasers at my cousin’s house. One posed this problem: A truck tried to go under a bridge and got stuck. People brought in tow trucks and tried to pull it out, but it was wedged tight. Then a young boy suggested they let the air out of the truck tires. It worked.

Everyone else was focused on power to dislodge the truck; no one but the young boy saw the problem from a different perspective: decreasing the height of the truck. But that’s what true wisdom is like; lessening our height that we might know what it’s like to be free.

                                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Crooning Moon River

Story of the Day for Saturday June 11, 2011

Crooning Moon River

 

                            The Lord your God is in your midst . . . He will quiet you with his love.

                                                                    Zephaniah 3:17

  Someone discovered that cows give more milk when they’re listening to music. So, scientists in Great Britain gathered in barns to play music to a thousand cows. They played fast songs, slow songs, classical and rock – and kept careful records of milk production. When the researchers finished serenading the cows, they reported that the cows’ favorite song was Moon River.

What in the world were they thinking! (The cows, not the scientists). We’re talking Henry Mancini “elevator music,” for Pete’s sake.

 

Yet, despite their backward taste in music, cows have much to teach us about our life with God. My friend, Ruth, recently told me about a farmer in Nebraska who tried to force a hesitant cow into her milking stanchion. The cow panicked and kicked him so hard his leg swelled up to the size of a gigantic, swollen leg.

You can’t force cows to give milk.

 

Don’t get me wrong: fear is a wonderful motivator. It can greatly improve our performance when we’re being chased across the pasture by an angry bull. It can even motivate us to schedule a colonoscopy.

Not only that, but, if you want to get a cow out of your garden (and I speak with some authority on this subject), instilling fear will aid your cause, and, possibly, preserve your row of peas.

But fear has its limitations. You can’t slap a cow on the fanny and force it to give more milk. Instead, you have to calm her. You have to relax her. You have to play slow, schmaltzy “elevator music” to her.

 

If we should decide to hold a picnic on the railroad tracks, God may thunder and bellow – not because he hates us, but because he doesn’t want us to destroy ourselves. But even the almighty, all-powerful God can’t threaten us into loving him.

That’s why Jesus didn’t try to terrify us, but to lay his life down for us.

That is also why (and I hope you’re not easily offended) the Lord is willing to treat us like dairy cows. He wants to calm us down, and quiet us with his love.

 

Last week, I made a disturbing discovery. Three legends of rock music: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Elton John have all . . . give me a moment to say this, for it pains me greatly . . . have all recently performed Moon River in concert.

Playing Henry Mancini to increase milk production is one thing, but crooning Moon River to add cows to your fan base is simply pandering.

                                         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)