Tag Archives: parable

It’s Time to Cut Anchor

Story of the Day for Monday August 27, 2012 

It’s Time to Cut Anchor

 

 

                I have been in danger from rivers…danger from robbers… In danger…danger…danger… 

                                                            2 Corinthians 11:26

 

No one ever accused me of being prudent, which is slightly disappointing, because it is, after all, a virtue. Prudence is just a starchy term for common sense.

Prudence used to mean, for example, that, if you go for a hike in the wilderness, you should take a sharp knife, dry matches, and a good crossword puzzle (in case you get lost for a few days.) Today, we view prudence as never daring to lace up our hiking boots.  Might get lost.  Might sprain an ankle.  Might become grizzly bear poop. Better to be prudent, make a frig run, and plop in front of the TV.

 

There is a huge difference between common sense: avoiding senseless danger, and timidity: fearing all possibility of danger. Have you noticed how we, as a culture, have developed a heightened concern for safety? Nothing wrong with that, in itself, I guess.  But something is wrong.  We are becoming so fearful of danger that we are afraid to live.

Where is a ship the safest? In port. But, John A. Shedd put it well, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” God never advises us to be foolhardy, but he doesn’t want us to spend our lives docked to the pier.  We are meant to sail into open waters, and both enjoy the gentle breezes . . . and brave the raging storms.

The apostle Paul was prudent.  In Damascus, he knew when it was time to get out of Dodge and slip over the city wall at night. But, Paul also had the careless habit of preaching about Jesus and starting riots. He knew the danger, but took risks anyway.

 

A young shepherd boy, armed only with a slingshot, once marched up to the fearsome warrior, Goliath. Suddenly, the young boy’s mother rushed frantically onto the battlefield, screaming, “David!  David! What are you doing! How many times have I told you not to fight giants without your safety helmet!”

Look, I’m not opposed to safety helmets. But haven’t you noticed that past ages possessed a valiant spirit that is lacking in our present day?

The patriarchs left the security of home – without itinerary, GPS, or even life insurance. Moses, Elijah, Esther, Jeremiah. Can you name anyone who did great things in God’s name, but chose personal security over danger?

 

Jesus told a story about a man who gave out various amounts of money, then left town. Apparently, those who put the money to work took some risks, because the one who did not later admitted to his master, “I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground.  See, here it is.”  And there it was, safe and sound. But the point Jesus makes is that God does not entrust us life or talents so that we can “play it safe.”   I don’t think Jesus wants us simply to exist. To just survive.

Don’t be afraid of dying — you have to die to go to heaven.  Be afraid, instead, of not living. God calls us to live with the wind in our face – to cut anchor and sail for the horizon.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Singing and Dancing of Angels

Story of the Day for Friday June 10, 2011

The Singing and Dancing of Angels

                  And coming to his senses he said, “. . .I will go to my father and tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven
and before you. . .’”

Luke 15:18-19

Our heavenly Father is not always the best listener. At least, not as Jesus tells it in his parable.

The younger son demanded his share of the inheritance. This was an audacious insult – tantamount to saying he
wished his father was dead. He did not want a relationship with his father; he only wanted things from his father. Once he had what he wanted, he left home.

He partied hard. But in the end, he was hungry, homeless, and lonely. Sitting in a pig sty gives you time to think. The broken
son realized that even his dad’s servants enjoyed the security of a roof over their heads and bread from his father’s table.

With nothing more to lose, the son decided to head for home. He carefully rehearsed his speech: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”

The son was still a long way off, when the father saw him walking home. What happened next was so shocking that those in the Middle East could not even bear to translate it in their Bibles for 1800 years. Not until 1860 did the first Bible from a
Middle Eastern culture translate Jesus’ words that the father “ran.”

Men of wealth or prominence in this culture never, ever run. It is disgraceful because honor is shown by the slowness of your pace. The rabbis taught that dignified men must always keep one foot on the ground.

But the father is so overwhelmed at the sight of his lost son that he utterly humiliates himself – he races to meet his son.

The rules of etiquette would have the son initiating the greeting by kissing his father’s hand – or, if he had wronged him, by kneeling to kiss his feet.

The son did neither. He never got the chance. His father wrapped him in a bear hug and kissed him on the neck.

With his father’s hot tears on his shoulder, the son began his prepared speech: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be. . .”

But, as Jesus tells it, the father was not a good listener. He doesn’t wait for his son to finish before he calls out to his servants, “Bring him the long robe! And the family signet ring! And sandals!” The party is on!

Don’t ever forget this. When you turn toward home, you may not receive respectful silence for the recitation of
your confession. The singing and dancing of the angels may very well drown out your nice speech.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)