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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Source + Means = Outcome

Gain:  To get, usually as the result of your own efforts.  There are a lot of ways we "gain" in life, but the common thing is that we are the ones "doing something" in order to realize that gain.  Even if you consider weight gain, we are doing something to cause it - overeating, making poor eating choices, and/or exercising way too little for our body's metabolism.  We can gain from saving and structures spending - living within our means, methodically putting away small sums of money into savings, etc.  In the end, we gain a little wealth, nice things to wear, comfortable things within our environment, etc.  Seriously thinking on this, we might think of gain as that which we accomplish ourselves - there just isn't a whole lot of reliance upon anyone else to provide what it is we are seeking to gain.  To "have" is a little different because it might also lean toward this idea of receiving something from another.  Gains can be quickly there and almost as soon be lost to the sudden fall of the price of the stocks. When we "have" something, it is usually possessed - in our possession, for our use, or using us!  Using us?  Think of a cold virus - we "have" it resident in us for a while, but it is using us as the base of operation for the work of replicating and causing us, and others, a little misery for a while!  Whether we gain or have something in life, we need to consider the source, the means by which we obtain it, and what it does in our life once it is there.

It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost. (Mark 8:36 ERV)

The source:
Not all things which come into our lives, either by our own doing or because someone "gifts" them into our lives, are from "reliable sources".  When something is of our own doing, it may not bear the test of time, nor the wisdom of the ages to keep us safe and help us to realize only the best for our lives. Stop long enough to consider the source of some of the things you have or consider as "gain" in your lives, and you may not be fully impressed with them. I have one nail which will not grow correctly simply because I have a cyst which keeps forming at the base of the nail bed.  I apply pressure now and again to keep the cyst "down", but it returns in a short while simply because that is what "fluid filled cysts" do.  The source is unknown to me, but I understand I "have" a short, ill-formed nail on that thumb as a result of "having" the cyst growing where it has chosen to grow.  It was neither welcomed into my life, nor was it expected.  It is part of what is happening to my joints as I age and I guess I live with it.  We may not immediately know the source of whatever it is we have "gained" in life, but if we get a little deeper, the source is usually able to be discovered.  We may be surprised at how unreliable, or unyielding the source really is.  We want things in our lives which are from trust-worthy sources and which will provide "ideal" outcomes for our lives.

The means:
Simply put, this is the method we use to attain whatever end might be desired. If we think of this in a very simple sense, it might be likened to a recipe.  What does a recipe do?  It lays out the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and even tells us what our "yield" will be in the end.  Combine the ingredients as instructed, bake for the length of time at the temperature outlined, and you should have "x" cookies in the end.  Unless I buy those ready-made, already portioned out for you cookie dough, I always come up with some different "yield" on the recipe, though.  How is that if it says I should have 3 dozen when I am all done?  Well, first I "sample" the dough a little here and there, adversely affecting the "yield".  Then you factor in that I don't always "measure out" specifically the amount of dough I drop onto the cookie sheet for each and every cookie, and you can see how the "yield" can be adversely affected yet again. I followed the "method" of making the cookies - but only up to a point!  After hours of baking, the last few sheets of cookies are just lucky to make it into the oven, regardless of size!  It is easy to see that the "means" is able to be manipulated to fit the "demands" of the individual who is attempting to accomplish something.  We want to enjoy whatever we are hoping to gain or have at the end of our activity, but in the end, there are multiple influencing factors which can "alter" the means if we aren't extremely vigilant.

The outcome:
All action has a reaction in turn.  Even ignoring something yields some outcome we may not want to deal with in the long run.  I am sitting here this morning looking out very water-spotted windows in the den.  I haven't been at this computer in a week since my sister uses the den when she is staying here.  So, as I glance toward those not so pretty windows this morning, on a very hot and sunny day here in Arizona, I am contemplating how on earth they got so spotted since we haven't had any rain!  I am thinking my sprinklers need a little adjusting again as one or more of them must be turned toward the window, causing the hard water spotting to occur.  Now I have to adjust the sprinklers AND wash the windows!  I didn't mean to ignore the sprinklers - but somehow they were overlooked and their effect is very evident on the once clear glass of my den windows!  I can choose to ignore this another week, or get it fixed.  If I ignore it, I will have so many hard water spots on the window, it will take a cleaning chemical to dissolve them (or lots of vinegar).  Anything which is left to its own devices will ultimately give us more of a negative outcome than we might have wanted!  If the source is good, the means are pure, the outcome should be good and pure, as well.  If the source is filled with all manner of stuff with corrodes and builds up in bad ways, the means goes unchecked or unmonitored, the outcome will probably be a build-up of some nastiness!  Just sayin!