If there has been a common thread which continues to run throughout this series, it would be this statement from Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with what you have.”
God gives us a little to see how we handle it. How we handle it will determine if He gives us more. In other words, He gives us a little, so see what we would do if He gave us a lot.
Another common thread is the discussion of how important it is, how we “handle things.” Perhaps the most important characteristic we show to the world is “how we handle things.” Good things. Bad things. Honestly, I don’t know which circumstance reveals our character more: When we have less than we need … Or, when we have more than we need. When all is said and done … how people will remember us … will be largely based upon two things: How we “handled things,” and how we treated others. This is because both of these characteristics will be based upon how we mirror, or not-the image of Christ. How His influence … influenced us …. or, whether we allowed “others” (this can be both people and things) to influence us.
I guess it really is just a simple matter, this “influence,” of what you allow to control you. One of the great quotes I’ve ever heard is from my Pastor in Georgia:
“What you attach yourself to, you become a part of.”
It is, simply put, just a matter of control.
What we allow to influence us has the power … great power … to control us.
We try to write as much about how important it is how we act when things are going well, as when things are not going well. Especially, when true heartache is involved. Again, I can honestly say, from a Christian life standpoint, I’m not sure which is a harder test: Success or poverty. There are many quotes I could use, but the one from Dr. David Jeremiah I still love, how it is circumstances which reveal, not change, character. Or, from Dr. Martin Luther King, about how the true test of a man’s character is not when he is on the mountaintop, but when he is in the deep valley. Both valid. Both powerful. Both true.
I must say this: It is just a matter of control. Of who, or what, we allow to influence us. When we were kids, and boy this made us mad more often than not … our parents would always try to warn us about friends we had, people we were hanging out with … we hated that … and, let’s be honest, often we felt hate toward them (even though we didn’t really understand “hate” at the time) for trying to keep us away from who or what they thought would be a bad influence on us.
I wonder why that was?
Why did our parents, and sometimes our friends, and sometimes our teachers, try to warn us about what would happen if we continued to “hang out” with certain people? Or, try to stop us from doing certain things?
Why was that?
Has the principle behind such a warning changed? Have bad influences suddenly become ok for us to be around? Oh, yeah … I forgot … we are “all grown up now,” so we can’t be influenced by people or things anymore …
I just came in from outside, checking on a flower garden. We have been so busy this summer with work going on around the house, that, especially with equipment all around the house and yard, we haven’t mowed the grass in a month. I examined a new flower garden which I started earlier this summer, before the work began. If I don’t act right away … and yank those weeds out of the garden … get them out of there, away from the flowers … those weeds will take over the whole garden! Just the weeds being there, right now, have already hindered the growth of some really beautiful flowers … if I don’t act fast … and the bad weeds are already starting to influence the young, impressionable flowers … if I don’t act fast … if I don’t remove those weeds … if I don’t get them away from the flowers … if I don’t remove the weeds from the flowers … the weeds will take over … completely … the weeds will take over … will take complete control of the flowers … will take complete control of the garden … the flowers, with all their potential of being so beautiful … so beautiful, so lovely … will be destroyed … And, in so doing, the weeds will destroy the entire garden …
I “hate” to tell you this … but, I must: The weeds won’t mind a bit that the garden is destroyed. In fact … yes … even though God created the weeds, too … In fact … it seems that the entire reason for the existence of the weeds … is to “take over” …
Funny … as with so many things … we see it and warn our children … we see it and “yank out those weeds” in the garden … yet … now that we are “all grown up,” we can’t see it in our adult lives …
As a side note, some of the flowers in the “new garden” were transplanted, full grown, from an area which was overtaken by grass, trees, and weeds. They did well, even there, but I wanted them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, so I “got them out of there” and put them in a special, newly cultivated area. They were even blooming at the time, and they never lost their blooms … they transplanted so well … what a great spot for them now! However … since I haven’t taken the time, in a while, to “weed” their new surroundings … even though they were strong, beautiful, full-grown flowers … if I don’t get those weeds away from them … as strong … as beautiful … as full-grown as they are … they won’t last much longer … not as long as those weeds are allowed to influence them … and, their environment.
I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere!
Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? And … that goes for the older, well established garden, too!
I weeded it early … but, not often … and, even though it is an old, well-established, vibrant, “growing wildly” flower garden … making it through a few cold, snow-filled winters … if I don’t “yank those weeds” out of its environment, we all know what will happen to it, as well.
Please note that both of these gardens, both young and old … are facing this new “enemy,” well capable of their destruction … during the summer … during the days of sunshine, when the sun is at its brightest …
Which further confirms my question of whether it is more difficult during bleak times … or sunny times?
I guess it just depends on what or who (and if I don’t get out there, that will be me) is allowed to influence their environment …
Remember that, sometimes, the greatest action, the action which results in, causes, and influences the most action … is inaction.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.