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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Skip the bells and whistles on this one!

Ears that hear and eyes that see—we get our basic equipment from God!  (Proverbs 20:12 MSG)

If you have ever looked into buying some new appliance, a new car, or even a new home built to your specifications, you probably have had to consider just how many "bells and whistles" you wanted (or could afford).  The basic model comes with just the minimums - the more you add, the more the costs add up.  Soon, the $299 "deal" you saw advertised becomes $599 because you just could not imagine life without the extra spin cycles, and the automatic sensor for this or that!  Sometimes we find the "extra" stuff we just "had to have" gives us more headaches than they are worth in the end!  

Our passage today speaks to us of the "basic equipment" given to us by God. Ears that hear and eyes that see - basic equipment.  I wonder just how many times we take the "basics" for granted, focusing more on the "bells and whistles" we'd want to have?  Whenever I hear someone say they are "not equipped" for whatever it is God is putting in their path, I just have to remind myself they have probably bought into the lie they need more than the "basic equipment" to begin their travel down the path.  In fact, in the spirit of being totally transparent, I have done exactly the same thing - believing what I "possessed" was not good enough for what it was I was facing.

The opposite is actually true - we possess all we need to begin the journey.  Anything else we might need, God will provide!  Our basic equipment is what actually helps us navigate the journey - ears that hear, eyes that see - these are both "navigational" tools!  If you have ever played one of those games where someone places a blindfold over your eyes, plunging you into absolute darkness and leaving you at the mercy of what you could hear, feel, etc., you probably came to understand how important it was to have both of these pieces of "basic equipment" operating!  Try as you might, the hands might help us sense the objects in our path, but you travel at quite a different speed when you don't have the faculty of sight, right?

Basic really means that which is fundamental - it is an essential ingredient - something needed.  So, when God reminds us he gives us the "fundamental" equipment, he is calling our attention to the importance of the two things which actually will give us exactly what we need to take the first steps toward anything he asks us to pursue.  Ears to hear - the attentiveness to his voice and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Eyes to see - the ability to look beyond the obvious and see the obscure.  We often find the basic equipment we have been given might just get a little complicated by the "other equipment" we have "added" to our list of "qualifications".  For example, when we count on our emotions as part of our "fundamental" or "basic equipment", we get a little different perception of what we are seeing or hearing, huh?  God never said we should add this "equipment" to our "basic equipment" - he just tells us to count on what we have been given.

Fundamental parts - the basis upon which all else gets "filtered".  Here's the rub, isn't it?  The way we "filter" what we hear and see is often "clouded" by the "bells and whistles" we have insisted on adding into the equation!  Whenever we add in the emotions, we start saying things like, "I think God might be telling me this, but I just don't feel like I can."  The basic equipment we have been given is what God needs us to use - plain and simple!  To rely upon anything else is to begin to operate outside of the "plan" God has.  In fact, all learning from scripture is based on us seeing and hearing.  I think God may just be reminding us this morning of the need to keep life simple.  We complicate it with the perceived need to align what we are seeing and hearing with what it is we are feeling.  Truth be told, if we see as God sees and listen only to his voice, we have all we need for ANYTHING our day holds.  Just sayin!