A tough store manager was walking through the packing room one day when he saw a young man lounging on a shipping crate, whistling and relaxing. He asked how much he was paid.
"$120 a week," the young man answered. At that, the manager said, "Here's a week's pay. Get out."
The manager immediately found the department head and demanded to know who had hired the young man.
"We didn't hire him," came the reply. "He was just here to pick up a package."
Assumptions can be costly. We'd better find out what's going on before we jump into the fray.
Scientific evidence confirms what intuition tells us: attitude plays an important, sometimes definitive role in success or failure. Studies show that people who love their work not only are likelier to reach high-level positions but are also healthier than those who feel burdened." (Norman Vincent Peale)
The average human body contains 66 pounds of muscle, 42 pounds of bone, and only three-and-a-half pounds of brain. Which probably explains a lot of things. (Pinwheel Pink Pages)
Earl C. Davis says we live in such a changing, complex world that we're more willing to believe just about anything. For example, he cites the man who called the airport and asked how long it took to fly to New York. The airline clerk said, "Just a minute, sir," to which the caller replied, "Thank you" and hung up.
CHARACTER--Takes time to build
Someday, in years to come, you'll be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long-continued process." (Phillips Brooks)
The first-grade class was coloring a picture of a duck carrying an umbrella. The teacher told the students to color the duck yellow and the umbrella blue. Little Tommy, however, insisted on coloring the duck red.
"Have you ever seen a red duck?" asked the teacher, and Tommy replied, "No, but I've never seen one carrying a blue umbrella, either!"
CHURCH--Place where we're loved
There are times when we all feel like Lucy in the comic strip "Peanuts." There she stood, shaking her little fist in defiance, proclaiming: "I know everybody in this family hates me. I'm gonna go where I'm appreciated! There must be a place in the world where I'd be appreciated."
She turns to leave, then stops and sheepishly says, "Give me a hint."
That's what we're all looking for: a place where we'll be loved and appreciated. That's what the church can be and ought to be.
Juan Bop lives among the K'ekchi of Guatemala. About 15 years ago, shortly after becoming a Christian, he was walking along a trail when he met a fellow K'ekchi, who asked, "Are you one of those believers?" When Juan answered yes, the man drew back his large machete knife and severed the index finger on Juan's left hand.
Two days later Juan reached the home of missionary Daniel Courtney, where he related the story. As they went to the emergency room of the government hospital, Courtney said, "Juan we will pray for you that you may be healed soon."
Juan said, "Yes, I would like that. And will you also pray for the man who cut off my finger? You see, he is not a Christian and needs to know Christ."
With that kind of commitment, is it any wonder that more than 800 believers have been reached in the valley? (taken from World Evangelization Now, Baptist World Alliance, 1985)
William P. Tuck tells about the Arab who one night lit a candle in his tent, then reached over and got a fig. He opened it, saw that it had worms inside and pitched it aside. He opened a second, saw it had worms and pitched it aside. He did the same with a third fig. At that point he blew out the candle, reached for a fourth fig and ate it.
Some of us are like that, thinking that what we don't know won't hurt us. But living in darkness can and does hurt us. That is why Christ came to bring light.
DOUBT--Destructive nature of
Doubts often steal into our lives like termites into a house. These termite-like thoughts eat away at our faith. Usually we can hold up pretty well under this attack. But occasionally, when a strong gale comes along--a sudden, intense blast--we discover we cannot cope. Our house begins to lean. For some people it completely collapses. It is during these stormy times, during the dark days and nights of tragedy and calamity, that we begin to feel the destructive effects of our doubts." (Charles R. Swindoll, "Hope: Our Anchor of the Soul")
EVANGELISM--Must reach out
Elbert Hubbard has said, "Parties who want milk should not seat themselves on a stool in the middle of a field in hope that the cow will back up to them."
Likewise, we cannot hide within our churches and expect a lost world to come to us. We must reach out to people where they are and share the gospel with them.
After Joe DiMaggio completed his string of 56 hits, it was followed by 13 straight misses. During that period he was booed in Yankee Stadium, but the wise player said, "They never boo a bum."
That's a healthy attitude for all of us. We need to realize that temporary setbacks are not permanent, no matter what the reaction of those around us. They can only destroy us if we allow them to do so.
FAITH--Must step out
In baseball, you can't steal second base while keeping your foot on first base. The only way to advance is to risk.
Faith is like that. It requires letting go so that we can attain so much more.
In Browne Barr's sermon, "The Soul's Invisible Jail," he recalls a scene from Erich Maria Remarque's novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, based on the experiences of the author as a German soldier in World War I.
"The author describes an assault in which, at one point, when they came in contact with the enemy, he leaped into a shell hole. In the shell hole he found an Englishman. After the first shock of fright, he considered what he should do. Should they proceed to bayonet each other? But this bit of reflection was soon ended when he saw that the other man was severely wounded, so badly wounded that the German soldier was touched by his condition.
He gave him a drink from his canteen, and the man gave him a look of gratitude. The Englishman then indicated that he wanted him to open his breast pocket. He did so, and an envelope containing pictures of this man's family fell out. He obviously wanted to look at them once more. In that moment before the English soldier died, the German held up before him the pictures of his wife, his children and his mother.
"In that incident there was the revelation of another dimension to the enemy. He was not only an enemy, but he was also one who was loved and loved, and lived another life as father and husband and son. The German soldier was not prompted to have mercy on his enemy as his enemy--if he kept only that in mind, he could not love him.
"It was not his behavior as an enemy that provoked a warm response, but rather awareness that this man was both more and less than an enemy. That encounter provided a different way of seeing him, a transformation of perspective which revealed in his enemy that dimension of his life, potential or real, which prompted love." (East Bay and Eden: Contemporary Sermons, pp. 139-140)
"A true friend is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts can unite them." (Robert South)
The head of a London orphanage was approached by a dirty, ragged boy who asked for admission. "But I do not know you. Who are you?" the man replied. "What have you to recommend you?"
The boy held up his ragged coat and said, "If you please, sir, I thought these here would be all I needed to recommend me." With that, the boy was received into the orphanage.
When we stand before the gates of heaven to seek admission, we will not be questioned about references or accomplishments. We will but echo the words of the hymn, "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling."
HAPPINESS--Source is God
"The strength and the happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too." (Henry Ward Beecher)
"When I die, I should like to slip out of the room without fuss--for what matters is not what I am leaving, but where I am going." (William Barclay)
IDENTITY--Need to belong
As the lights in the movie theatre dimmed, a young man loaded down with popcorn paced up and down the aisle, scanning the darkened rows. Finally he stopped and asked loudly, "Does anybody recognize me?"
We all want to be known--to know that someone out there knows who we are and cares about us.
INTEGRITY--Must like yourself
In a letter Abraham Lincoln said: "I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me."
"He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands." (Bernard of Clairvaux)
"It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing which we have to do, that makes life blessed." (Goethe)
"God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest." (Josiah Holland)
"Men are naturally tempted by the devil, but an idle man positively tempts the devil." (Spanish proverb)
LIFE--Need for meaning
In the cartoon strip B.C., two cave men were sitting on a rock watching a distant volcano. One says to the other, "Do you suppose it's possible that after we die, we could come back again?" After four frames pass without a word, finally the other responds, "What for?"
If life has no meaning or purpose, then life beyond death would be a cruel fate, not a joyous hope. But through Christ, there is a purpose to our existence that death cannot quench.
NEGLECT--Can destroy us
Francis Gary Powers was involved in the famous U-2 incident, in which he was brought down and captured by the Soviet Union. He survived that, and later became a pilot for a traffic helicopter in Los Angeles. In 1977, he and his partner were reporting on some large fires in nearby canyons, and became so involved with their task that they neglected to pay attention to their own fuel tank. They crashed just two miles from the airport, and both men died.
It's easy to get caught up in the events that surround us and neglect what is most important: our own souls.
Although you can't row fifty miles upstream against the current in a single day, you can row five miles a day for ten days. Sometimes when we face difficult situations, rather than simply give up we need only to have the patience to take one bite at a time.
When the leaders of the young United States assembled to write a constitution, Benjamin Franklin proposed that each session be opened with prayer. Franklin said, "I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth--that God governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid?"
Larry Farthing tells about Eugene F. Suter, Jr., whose father died leaving him an estate of $400,000. The young man refused the inheritance.
When the trustees of the estate took him to court, the judge ruled that the young man had a legal right to refuse the inheritance. The court order cut him off from all future interest in the estate.
There are millions who refuse a far greater inheritance by rejecting Christ's offer of the Kingdom of God. Like young Suter, they will lose all claim on the inheritance that was available to them. (Pulpit Helps)
Americans are watching more television than ever before, according to the most recent reports available. The Neilsen Report on Television 1985 indicates that the average household viewed television seven hours and eight minutes per day during the 1983-84 season. The lowest viewing group was single adults, and even they watched an average of more than 40 hours a week--more time than most people spend working. In households with three or more persons, the average was 61 hours per week. (Light)