Sunday, February 23, 2014

Discipleship: Hey, How The Heck Does This Thing Work?

A man wanders off into the desert and soon becomes lost.  For days, he travels in the direction he is sure will lead him back home.  Unfortunately, each additional step only brings about the certainty that he is hopelessly lost with no clue of how to escape his dilemma. 

The outlook is grim.  No water, no food, no shelter, and no idea what to do next.  A terrible sense of despair begins to consume the man as he realizes without help, he will likely succumb to this harsh environment in the not too distant future.

Just when all hope seems to be lost, a figure appears in the distance.  The figure is walking in his direction.  Could it be?  Are his eyes playing tricks on him?  Eventually the person makes his way to the man and announces he has come to help.  Overjoyed, the man grabs hold of the ragged figure and hugs him tight.  Finally, rescue has come.  Soon the man will be home with his family again.

“So, which way do we go to get out of this horrible desert”, the man asks. 
The stranger replies, “Oh no dear friend, you must discover that for yourself”.
The man, now very confused responds, “But, I thought you were here to help?”
“Oh I am, indeed help is what I bring”.  Slowly the stranger pulls out a small bag.  “Inside this bag is a machine that will give you everything you need to survive in this desert.” 
“But why can’t I just follow you out of this desert?” The man replies. 
“Oh, I have no time for such things.  I must be on my way.  More lost souls, more machines to give out”.  The stranger hands the man the bag and before he can utter a single word in objection, the stranger disappears.

“Well, at least I have this wondrous machine” declares the man.  Slowly he pulls the strange looking device from the bag.  Immediately he realizes he has no clue how the machine works.  The man peers into the bag, but to his dismay, it is empty.  No instructions, no guide, nothing.

For several hours, the man works feverishly, trying to discern how the machine functions.  He pushes buttons, turns levers, and flips switches.  Over and over again, the man tries every possible idea he can think of, but to no avail.  Frustrated and completely defeated, the man throws the machine to the ground and cries out in a loud voice, “WHY?  WHY EVEN BOTHER GIVING ME THIS GIFT IF I CAN’T GET IT TO WORK?  WHY?”

Days turn into weeks, and weeks become months. 

In time, a ragged figure appears in the desert.  And there by a pile of sand worn bones he finds…a machine. 

“Pitiful fool, if only had used the machine”.  The stranger quietly walks away wondering how many others failed to use his miraculous gift.

Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Teach and man to fish and he’ll eat a lifetime.  Give the man a pole, tackle, and then walk away.

He’ll likely starve...or something like that.

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