The Deal He Made With “It”

Ah, my friend, it’s a sad story but I’ve got to tell it to you for your own good.
The day this fellow came to work for me–let’s call him “It”–things really looked up.

“It” was a hard worker and he helped me towards my goals. A very useful servant, It was.

Then one day this resourceful fellow remarked, “I could help you get what you want a bit quicker. Just let me show you how.” Continue reading

The Unlevel Playing Field

A leader talked about a certain situation to a group that I’m a part of. One part of the group could take advantage of the situation and the other, no. The leader noted, “You just have to accept that the playing field is not level.”

But, I didn’t want to accept an unlevel field—unless it was tilted to my advantage.

You know it’s funny. I was born in a free country and had a grandmother who loved the Lord Jesus and spoke to me about Him early in my life. I’ve had tough experiences, but on the whole my life has been easy.

Never lived through World War II or a depression that brought the world to its knees, like my dad’s generation.

Today, there’s a lady somewhere in the Darfour region of Sudan who had to run for her life. Evil men wanted to rape and kill her and her family. She’s living in a make-do refugee camp and wonders what will become of her in the future while grieving her past.

She’s never really heard the Gospel, and the way things stand, she’ll never hear it as clearly as I have.

Wow! I’d say that the playing field isn’t level. Why am I so blessed that I have to discipline myself not to eat everything I want, and she has to live on handouts? Why are my kids doing well in life while some of hers were murdered?

Why have I had the inestimable privilege of hearing about the Lord Jesus Christ, and hard men keep this news from her?

Maybe, I ought to be excited about the blessings that I have instead of complaining about what others have that I don’t.

“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:47, 48, NIV)

There’s an excellent chance that I’m going to have to report to the Lord about how I used my advantage–whether to fatten myself up or to heal others.

If the field is tilted in my direction, I better be scoring more points. I better do something positive with my advantages. Is there anything I can do to level up the playing field? Can I help those who are on the low end of the field, because it sure looks like it’s tilted from here.

Tilted in my direction.

“What we are determines what we see. What we see determines how we act.” (Haddon Robinson? quoted by Joseph Dimitrov).

Age spots, pimple cream and stupidity

Check out the podcast below: “It ain’t fair!”

Once I saw a commercial. This goofy teenager went to a party but the other kids shunned him. He left downcast. And how had he sinned to deserve such treatment?

He had a pimple!

But luckily for him, the television people had a marvelous solution—pimple cream! He put that miraculous paste on, went to a party, and the girls mobbed him. (Some of you teenage guys are saying, “Hmmm…what was the name of that cream?”)

I thought, “How stupid.”

Later, I saw a commercial starring a lady of a certain age (that’s a nice way of saying “old”). One day she looked at her hand and saw an unsightly brown spot: an age spot! She was horrified. Afterwards when her friends asked her to go and do things with them she was ashamed and refused. She covered the age spot self-consciously with her other hand.

Fortunately for her another company had just the solution. They had invented something that took away age spots, so she used it and voilà!; Industry had saved her social life.

And I thought to myself, “That the stupidest commercial I ever saw in my life.” I didn’t even know it was bad to have brown spots until I saw it on television. I thought they were freckles or something.

I blew it off until the day that I saw an unsightly brown spot on the back of my hand! “I wonder where I could get some of that stuff,” I thought.

Have you ever considered? If you’re happy with yourself, a lot of people are going bankrupt and others are going to lose their jobs. What do you mean David?

Take those age-spot remover manufacturers for example. How many people do you think they employ? Ten thousand? And how much does the factory owner make a year? A million dollars, maybe?

What if suddenly everyone who had age spots decided that these blotches were beautiful? “Look, Myrtle! A brown spot!”

“Oh, honey, that’s so beautiful! Why do some people have all the luck?” Tattoo parlors would add the possibility of getting age-spot tattoos to their dragon and wild-women tattoos.

And 10,000 people would be unemployed! And the owner would have to sell his Mercedes, go on unemployment, and buy a bicycle to get around. And the economy of the city around the factory would suffer because no one would have any money. And what if that spread through the economy?

I tell you, it would be a disaster if you felt good about yourself! Don’t do it whatever you do.

Have you ever considered the messages that bombard you each day? “You’re too fat, too thin. You don’t have the I-pod xy3 which is ages ahead of the xy2. Your computer is only a 100 gigas? No, it’s not possible! That car is going to break down, you know. It’s been 3 ½ years since you purchased it and here’s a great deal that you can’t pass up (don’t read the fine print because we’ve got a catch that skins you alive). Look what your friend just purchased. Think how your life would be complete with all that. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

I tell you folks! Buy it! You NEED it! Your life will be complete if you have that. And you’re keeping a lot of people in China at work.

What’s Happened?

We’re at the point that we need to do some real analysis about what’s happening to us. The advertisers—no, our society–has sold us the line that real happiness is more stuff, more gadgets. So how come we’re not happy more than a few minutes? Even our kids have mountains of toys, so many that we can’t move around in the house without stumbling over them. And all they want is another one.

You know, I think Paul in his day must have put a lot of people out of business. Here’s the way he lived:

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.” (Phil 4:11-14, The Message)

Notice he had to learn to live like that. And today, we would have to dare to be different because people would think us a bit weird if we had other priorities in our life than stuff. But stuff is like drugs. As long as you’re on them you get a little boost. But then you come off the high and you have to get your next fix.

Let’s take some time to examine our priorities and what really should motivate us in life. We might find ourselves living differently, spending our time and our money for other priorities. And sending different messages to our children!

But I warn you, you can live like that if you want to, but if you do a lot of age-spot remover makers are going to go broke. Lots of others, too. If you want that on your conscience, then go ahead.


D.L. Moody comments on a time when he had seen the passion for souls of a Sunday School teacher change the life of an entire class of young ladies. “I didn’t know what this was going to cost me. I was disqualified for business; it had become distasteful to me. I had got a taste of another world, and cared no more for making money. For some days after, the greatest struggle of my life took place. Should I give up business and give myself to Christian work, or should I not? I have never regretted my choice. O, the luxury of leading some one out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light and liberty of the Gospel.”