Because Life Is More than Money              

     In the Pacific coast town of Monterey, California, the Pelican population feasted on the fish offal fishermen tossed into the ocean after cleaning their catch. The Pelicans became fat, dependent and lazy. As uses for the fish offal developed, fishermen stopped tossing the offal into the ocean. Many Pelicans made no effort to again fish for themselves. Some Pelicans starved to death. To help the lazy Pelicans of Monterey, Pelicans from another area were imported. As the newcomer-Pelicans hunted for their food, the Monterey Pelicans began to follow their example. Soon the starving Monterey Pelicans were thriving again. There is a line somewhere so that when crossed a helping kindness becomes a hurting disservice.  That line is frequently difficult to discern. But husbands and wives, parents, friends, bosses, etc. must discern that line the best they can. Else one spouse will lure the other into dependency, parents will tempt children to become fat and lazy, friends will make friends co-dependent and so on.

     The Bible has many verses in which God calls us to help the sick, the hungry, the lonely and so on. In fact, God says when we do help those folks, we are actually helping Jesus. (Matthew 25:31-46).

     The Bible is also clear that we are not to spoil those who are able by doing the chores of life for them. II Thessalonians 3:6-9 reads, “Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us.”

     Words about helping the able to do for themselves and helping those unable to help themselves without the good deeds of really helping have a penny’s worth of impact. Words about helping that are actually lived out have many dollars worth of impact. Theologian C. H. Spurgeon wrote it down clearly and simply, “A man's life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.”

     One of the reasons I type this to you this month is to ask you to consider how practical and every day the Bible really is. When the Bible’s instructions for how to live are actually lived out, it works. It really, really works! Folks who do so are happier and contented. People around those who live by the Bible are happier, too. There is a big spill-over effect. But, there is also a big spill-over effect when we live contrary to the Bible. We are not happy. Nor are those around us. We hurt others when we violate the Bible’s instructions. The impacts of our deeds and behaviors reach beyond ourselves. It matters how well we live by the Bible. It really, really does! So for your own sake and for the sake of others and for appreciating God’s right to instruct our living, follow the Bible’s instructions.  

     Happy living according to your owner’s instruction manual – the Bible!

                                                                                                            Doug Johnson