Part of the 1st Chapter
Searching for priorities in life
The lament of an Old Dutch proverb still whistles truth, “Too soon I get old, too late I get smart.” With the advent of instant everything, we may find we’re “instant old.” Whoops, it didn’t take long. Perhaps we’ve driven through too many fast food places and popped too many things in the microwave. Instant communication that uses all types of networking launches us immediately through time and space. Unfortunately, life in the fast lane may be similar to lemmings rushing over a precipice. “You have given me only a short life; my lifetime is like nothing to you. Everyone’s lifetime is only a breath” (Psalms 39:15 NCV).
Our society is addicted to instant gratification. We trash anything that isn’t up-to-date or no longer suits our fancy. This mindset is not limited to cars and gadgets, but includes marriages and all other close relationships that are tossed aside because of petty differences.
Jan had only one son, the only person she was close to in her life. She wanted to control almost everything he did. Even after he was grown, depending on how he responded to her demands, she’d write him in and out of her will.
Wise King Solomon spoke to this issue: “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor, “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket” (Proverbs 3:27-29 MSG). Reaching out to the needy might well open the windows of heaven for the blessings of God to blow through.
It would be wonderful if scientists could invent a ray gun that could zap bad attitudes and blast selfishness. We could go in for regular check-ups and I’m sure the one who obtained a patent for it would qualify as a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, good relationships are our responsibility. The book of Proverbs stresses the need to seek for the wisdom to deal with the issues of life. Wisdom is similar to panning for gold—sifting through the everyday flow of circumstances, finding nuggets to embellish each encounter in order for our relationships to become priceless treasures. Wisdom takes bits of good from our interactions and creates something meaningful.
Mom washed clothes outdoors in all kinds of weather, using a gasoline powered washing machine and a hand cranked wringer. On sunshiny days, clothes were washed and hung on lines in the backyard to dry.
Today, with almost no effort, clothes are cleaned and ready to wear again—though nothing replaces the sweet smell of sun-dried clothes. But if our hearts and thoughts could be scrubbed clean and hung out in the Son’s light, the sweet smelling wind of the Holy Spirit could flow through to dry up tears and hurts from the past.
We Demand Good Craftsmanship
My niece and nephew, missionaries in a third world country, called for a plumber to come back for the third time to work on their toilet. I chuckled when they told me, that in exasperation, the workman threw his tools down and growled in disgust, “That’s the trouble with you Americans, you expect everything to work.”
This couple was aghast when they started to close a window in their seventh story apartment and the whole unit tumbled and crashed to the ground. Another time, they flew on a national air line. As their plane was landing, the seat across the aisle from them ripped loose and tumbled down the aisle—with a woman in it! For later flights, they booked on a different airline.
It’s sad when we expect gadgets and equipment to operate smoothly, yet we don’t always make an effort to cultivate harmony in our personal relationships. We allow the abrasive edges of others to scrape up against our rough edges, resulting in irritating friction.
Look at the Progress
In the last twenty years, more books have been written and more scientific inventions patented than any time in history. But sad to say, our quality of life hasn’t improved that much. The media is chock full of “yucky” influences on morals and attitudes. Even those things that are not immoral or crude often put an emphasis on “me” instead of “we.” Perhaps that’s the reason some call this the “Me generation.”
“Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Fath…The
world in all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity” (1 John 2:15-17 MSG).
Our generation enjoys many conveniences and we have access to incredible technology. We have computers and I-pads with Google and other resources that require little effort to extract information that once took days to retrieve.
Before computers, a friend of mine who’d been out of the work force for a number of years began working as a secretary. I asked how she was doing and she replied, “I’m doing great. I’ve gotten to the point I can erase thirty words a minute!” It would be wonderful if we could devise a method to erase slips of the tongue that easily.