Friday, March 21, 2014

And the winner is....

Years ago, my mother was one of those "faithful" Publisher's Clearing House devotees.  Every week, she'd receive mailings touting the possibilities of her numbers being the winning numbers which could yield her a landfall of millions of dollars.  Her response is what makes the Publisher's Clearing House so successful - she bought and bought stuff just because she felt it increased her chances of winning!  Stuff we didn't even need - poor quality, cheaply made.  I will admit, there were a few "trinkets" she'd get which actually made a good gadget around the house, but in general, it was stuff we could have purchased for much less at the local dollar store!  After several years of this, we received a mailing indicating she would no longer be receiving these notices.  Why?  It seems the State Attorney Generals of multiple states had taken action against the Clearing House to stop their "marketing" to the elderly as they were "preying" on them.  You would have thought my mother would have been relieved to know someone was looking out for her - trying to protect her from schemes designed to get her to spend her money on stuff she didn't really need.  Nope!  You guessed it - she was devastated.  Her chances of winning big were now out the window!  We are all a little "optimistic" of winning big in life, aren't we?  There is a saying in some of the states where the lottery is big news - it goes something like you have to play to win.  In order to play, you have to pay, though!  Since I don't play, I won't win!  I guess I just realize that if God wants me to have a sudden "win fall" of sorts, he will find a way to do it!  I think what I have realized is the importance of living the life I have right now - not the life I could have down the road!

A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst.  (Proverbs 11:4 MSG)

Scripture shows us a man who lived a principled life, facing difficulties beyond what most could imagine, but coming back to center again - finding anchor in his faith.  His name?  Job.  Amassing flocks and herds galore, having homes which some would state showed his affluence, and enjoying the pleasures of money in the bank, most would have said he "had arrived" and could live without a worry in the world.  It is a sad thing to "arrive" at that point, though, because nothing is secure in any of these things!  Flocks and herds can be wiped out with one major illness or a catastrophic weather event. Homes can crumble in around you with one solid shake of the earth's core, or torrential winds and rains.  Monies can dwindle away quicker than you can think possible.  Friends and family can begin to draw away because they see a "change" in the circumstances of one's life - leaving you feeling alone and deserted.  What then?

If you are like Job, you fall back onto the principles by which you have lived your life all along.  Sure, the events may throw you a curve ball, making you almost strain under their weight - but even the weight of the events can be "shifted" to the one most capable of bearing that weight!  Sitting on a pile of poop, scraping his boil covered body with shards of broken pots, and listening to the speculations of his "friends" as to why these events have come makes life even more crazy - but he has lived principled and he will ultimately not depart from the principles he has learned.  Why?  These principles go deeply into the very fabric of his inner man - something which occurs when there is consistency in learning, understanding, and application.

Principled people can withstand terrible things, not because the "principles" are what makes them strong, but because those principles point them to the one who upholds those principles in the first place - God himself.  A principle is more than just a "professed" rule or action - it is a believed rule which results in a trusted action.  In other words, there is consistency and integrity is the result of the consistency.  When we learn the principles of a godly life such as time in the Word as a basis of learning the character of God, then apply those principles to our lives by allowing that character to be worked into our lives, we are taking steps to incorporate "rules of living" into our practice of life.  It isn't the "rules" so much, but the evidence of life change which occurs because the "rules" of God's character are established in our lives. Rules such as love without ceasing, judge not, do justly to all without measure, and forgive without strings attached.  These are principles by which we live with "greatness" in a world where "greatness" is measured by bank account balances instead of the integrity of a life put together by God!  Just sayin!