November 24, 2014

Pastoral Nuggets: Throw Away the Cookie-Cutter

Brother AaronThere’s an old joke about a duck that waddled into a convenience store, jumped on the counter and asked the clerk if they had any grapes. The clerk told him no.  The duck hopped down and went about his way. The next day the scenario repeated itself.  The third day the duck again waddles into the store and asks the clerk if he has any grapes.

The clerk, who had become quite agitated at the duck’s persistence, told the duck, “No! We don’t have any grapes. And if you come in here and ask that question again I’m gonna nail your feet to the counter!”  

The next day the duck waddles back into the store, jumps onto the counter and asks the clerk: “Got any nails?” To which the clerk responded:  “No. This is a convenience store. If you want nails you’ll have to go to a hardware store.” To which the duck replied:  “Good!  Got any grapes?”

The duck was convinced that, despite the facts, if he did something the same way long enough, or did it the way everybody else was doing it, and made sure his opponent couldn’t nail his feet to the counter, he’d eventually be successful.

Hey, isn’t that the way we think? We think that if we do the same thing the same way long enough we’ll eventually be successful. However, in life quite the opposite is true. Often, success in this life means throwing the cookie-cutter away!  Hey, God did!

I saw a tee shirt once that said, “When God created me He was just showing off.” Now, you and I would say that person was just a little bit conceited. But you know what? They’re right. Just think, when God made you and me He created a one-off, one of a kind, custom made, special model. He was just showing off!

Of all the people who have ever lived in eternity past, present, and future, I’m the only me there will ever be and you’re the only you there will ever be. Wow! That was profound, wasn’t it? Consider this – none of us have the same DNA or fingerprints and no two snowflakes are the same. You see, when God decides to create, He throws away the cookie-cutter! And while His love and principles never waiver or change, His methods are rarely the same.

In his book, No Magic Formulas: Biblical Principles for Spiritual Welfare, Leroy Eims points out that there is no magic formula for the way God operates. This is where faith comes into play.  As I said earlier, while His love and principles never waiver or change, His methods are rarely the same.

In short, God is totally unpredictable! The key to successful Christian living is discovering God at work in your life using methods (and people) you don’t expect Him to use.

Now I realize that some of you reading this article may want to argue the point that God’s methods aren’t unpredictable. But let’s look at the Bible. I think I can prove my point. When God decided to create Adam – He used dirt.

When He created Eve He used a rib that He snatched out of Adam. When He decided to free Israel from Egyptian bondage He floated Moses down the river in a little lifeboat, made Pharaoh’s daughter raise him, showed him a bush in the desert that burned but wouldn’t burn up, and then parted the Red Sea and let the Israelites cross on dry land and then closed it up on the Egyptian army killing all of them.

Now, talk about showing off, how did he choose to do this miracle? He had Moses stick his shepherd’s staff out across the water. Imagine that church business meeting! “Pastor Moses, how is God going to deliver us from this mess?”  “Well, guys, you ain’t gonna believe this – see this stick?” And the deacons immediately called for a vote of confidence on Pastor Moses!

And on & on I could go with Biblical examples.  However, the point of this column is simply this: God’s methods are sometimes totally unpredictable – and the key to successful Christian living is discovering and embracing God at work in your life using methods (and people) you don’t expect.


Brother Aaron

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