“This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!'”
–Jeremiah 6:16 (NLT)
Durring a church service a few years ago, I heard an announcement that caught my attention. I found out that a woman was moving away, and she had a washing machine to sell. According to her, it was an older model but it still ran well, and she only wanted $50 for it.
I was elated, because this was just what the doctor ordered in my case. God had blessed me by providing me with a rented house, but I really needed a clothes washer. I took the first opportunity to grab it. I was the first to inquire about the washer, so I claimed my prize.
The seller was true to her word. That washing machine served us well for years–that is, until last week. It was running great when it suddenly stopped working, leaving us with a washer full of water and soggy laundry. I panicked when our broad array of mechanical skills had no effect. Actually, this is not hard to believe, since these skills consist of turning the washer off and on, and spinning the dial.
I have to confess that I could have tried harder to get it working, but Stephanie and I decided to go straight for the third option. We called a repairman, who also happens to be a good friend. Aside from this, he had helped me make contact with the woman who sold the washer in the first place. After we had called him, I felt relieved. I knew that if anybody could fix it, Bill could.
To make a long story short, we only needed to replace a switch that cost a few dollars. Now it runs like a top, and we can breathe easily again.
While we’re on the subject of switches, let’s switch our focus from apliances to people. My wife and I like to entertain and minister in nursing homes. By mixing gospel music with songs from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, we try to uplift and encourage the nursing-home residents. This work is both fun and rewarding. In our own small way, we can reach out to others who are lonely.
Stephanie sings and plays the piano, while I sing and dance in my cowboy boots. In order to really get a feel for what we do, you would have to hear some of the stories from residents who attended our church services, or patients in the hospital where we work.
Let’s examine these stories more closely. First I would like to point out a common thread between them, and talk about how God often uses the old things in life to bring us back to Him in two ways.
I told you earlier that our clothes washer is an older model. Our friend Bill said that because of its age, our washer has a simpler design than the latest, computerized machines.
The same principle applies to society. It seems that as we move into new arenas, we also move from the simple to the complex. In doing this, we tend to forget the simplicity of the gospel by allowing pride in our technological accomplishments to get the upper hand. The result is that our culture is becoming more and more alienated from God.
But even without modern technology, man has been trying to exercise his independence from the beginning of time. Look at the story of the tower of Bable with me. In this story, there is a progression in thought. First, the people in question attempted to summarily dismiss God from their lives by worshiping the stars. Then, as their hearts grew darker, they tried to enhance this separation from the Lord by building a tower to heaven. But as you read the story, you will see that because of secularization, society grew more and more corrupt.
Now let me interrupt the flow of my writing to ask you a question. Is it really true that we live in an era of tolerance and enlightenment?
“Well,” you may answer, “we no longer burn babies to the god Molech as they did in the Old Testament, and we certainly don’t build towers to heaven. Aren’t we moving forward?”
Yes, I concede that it is true that we no longer burn babies. Instead, we painlessly abort them from the womb. We may not build towers to heaven, but we build more and more cell phone towers. At the same time, we remove God’s Word from schools and other public buildings.
If you still think that we live in an enlightened age, I have a second question for you. If the above is the case, is God given His rightful place in society today?
Give these questions some careful thought before continuing. In the following paragraphs, I would like to further explain my position.
You have only to watch the news to see that we live in a very dark world. Violence and increasing tension grow worse each day. But God would have us yield to Him, returning to old truths, so that we can begin a new chapter with Him. He is the only one who offers a solution for our hurting world.
In contrast to our own corrupted world, come to Him today and find the peace which He offers. Seek Him fervently in prayer, and fill your mind with scripture. Tell yourself as you go through the day that if God is for you, no one can stand against you. Cling to this and other promises, and you will be renewed in Him. Take these two things seriously, and let your part of the world see what God can do.
With God, all things are possible. So just as Bill replaced the switch on the washer, replace this world’s values with godly ones. Then you will see that if we all let the light of the gospel shine through us in this way, we can form a chain that spreads God’s simple and true message of love and victory in a new way.