Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The devoted life - reflections on 1 Timothy 6:6 with a story from a Haitian pastor about just one little nail.

SCRIPTURE: 1 Timothy 6:6 (TM)
A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.

STORY shared by Dale A. Hays:
On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor's conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage
Not now. Not yet. These are some of the saddest words that could be heard in the English language. “I’ll commit my life to Christ, but not now … not yet.” We want to keep all of our options open.

Commitment is difficult. Taking a stand is hard. The challenges are many, but, oh, the benefits of a committed life. Peace of God’s presence and the assurance of eternity. The freedom to be who God has created us to be. The freedom to realize our full spiritual potential. Shedding the pretense of playing charades. Taking off the mask of falsehood. Releasing our true nature. Not driven by the desires of the flesh nor the fickleness of other people’s opinions. This is the wealth of a devout life.

Even the smallest part of our self if left exposed to the temptations of the flesh, i.e. the Devil, we can find ourselves fighting a battle of the garbage of life. We will smell the rotting garbage and wonder where it came from thinking that we have been living a devoted life, but that one “nail” left in the hands of Satan is all he needs. He will wait until we are the most vulnerable, at our weakest, tired in the spirit … and then spring into action.

The cross of Christ gives us a new day, a clean conscience, a new start, a usable future, a life of possibilities … and the removal of all the exposed “nails”.

We are yours, O Lord. Take all of us. Take everything. Leave nothing … and then we will have everything.

QUOTE by Adoniram Judson:
The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be "Devoted for life." 

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