|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “Be doers of the word, not hearers only …” James 1:22 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Are there too many excuses?”
Okay, one more story from A.J. Jacobs and his year of living Biblically. Rather than quoting the story verbatim, I’ll paraphrase it for you. One of the Biblical commands A.J. was struggling to obey was the stoning of adulterers. First of all, how do you identify one? And second, could he get away with stoning them? Isn’t it against the law? Wouldn’t they put him in jail? Being obsessive/compulsive, and being fully committed to this business of following the Bible as literally as possible, he was seriously bothered that he might not get to stone an adulterer.
However, A.J. is nothing if not resourceful, and the more he studied the problem the more he realized it might not be hopeless after all. For one thing, the Bible doesn’t stipulate how big the stones have to be, so he wondered if perhaps pebbles would qualify as stones. His team of Old Testament counselors (including a couple of ultra-orthodox Jews) agreed that technically pebbles are stones. So, A.J. got himself a little pouch full of pebbles. Now, to find some adulterers.
One day he was walking in Central Park in his robe and sandals, with his staff, long hair, unkept beard, and pouch of pebbles. He stopped to rest on a bench. On the other end of the bench was a grumpy old man who looked like the cartoon character Mr. Magoo. The guy appraised A.J. and snarled, “What are you, some kind of a nut?” A.J. said, “No, I’m just trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible.” The man considered that for a moment then noticed the pouch in A.J.’s hands. “What’s in the bag?” the man asked. “Stones”, A.J. replied. “What’re they for?”, Mr. Magoo wanted to know. “They’re to stone adulterers” A. J. admitted. “You’re throwing stones at adulterers?” “Yes”, A.J. said. “Well, I’m an adulterer!” Mr. Magoo declared. At that news A.J. perked up and eagerly responded, “Are you really? Could I stone you? You would really be helping me if you would let me stone you.” “If you try to, I’ll punch you in the mouth!” Mr. Magoo threatened.
A.J. was in something of a panicked quandary. He didn’t want to get in a fight but he couldn’t afford to let this opportunity pass either. So, without giving it much more thought, A.J. quickly stood up, extracted a pebble from the bag, flicked it at Mr. Magoo, hitting him in the chest, and then ran away, leaving Mr. Magoo shouting curses and shaking his fist. Thinking about it later, A.J. felt bad about picking on a grumpy old man in Central Park, but on the other hand, he did get to stone an adulterer.
That’s a funny story but there’s actually a lesson in it for us. A.J. was so serious about his quest to obediently comply with Scripture that he refused to let circumstances or obstacles stop him. Instead of making excuses, he found ways to overcome the obstacles and to follow the Bible. A.J. did it for the sake of a book contract. What if we would make half as much effort for the sake of following Jesus?
Is it possible we’re a little too quick to make excuses rather than going all in and making the extra effort? Just some food for thought.
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