It’s Growing Up Time For All Of Us

   When we moved to Lake City fourteen years ago, I fancied myself to be a cowboy. We had stables built behind our new home. We bought two Tennessee Walkers and a black stallion that stood 167 hands. I found some new boots and saddles and all sorts of tack.
   My problem was I had absolutely no training. In fact, I was somewhat uneasy around horses. I had ridden a number of times before on rental basis, and always was a ‘want-to-be’ cowboy. Our favorite game when we were kids was Cowboys and Indians.
   In West Texas there was a man so lazy that the town council voted to just take him out to the cemetery and bury him. One councilman said, ”Why waste a bullet on him.” So they put him in a pine box and put the box on a wagon and were headed toward “Boot Hill”.
   A stranger was passing through town and saw the commotion. “You say they’re going to bury that guy because he is good for nothing?” “Yep,” came the reply. “Lazy and good for nothing”. “I’d give him a bushel of corn” the stranger said. The procession halted and the box gradually opened. The man inside, sat up slowly and said, “Is dey shelled?” “No” came the reply. The lid slowly descended and the man declared, “Well, drive on then, drive on”.
   The apostle Paul endorsed the principle with these words. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). This is a command and should be taken out of mothballs and put back into circulation.
   The labor pool was filled in the days just after the depression. Land owners and farmers needed help during harvest time. They would interview each worker and fill their wagon with eager laborers. One man was asked, “And what do you do?” He answered. “I sleeps good at night.” He was passed by repeatedly and left standing on the dock. One day the work was extremely heavy and the laborers were few. The plantation owner was intrigued by this one man that was never selected. He asked again, ”And what do you do?” The reply was the same, ”I sleeps good at night”. He asked for an explanation of what he meant by that statement. The old man said, ”Well, when I works, I puts in a full day, with no breaks, or leanings or sit downs. I pick up the right tools, use them carefully and when the day is done, I clean them, and sharpen those that need attention. Then I puts them all away in the right place and take my coat and goes home. You see mister, I sleeps good at night!” He was hired on the spot and soon became regular.
   My mother used to say, “Jack, there always room for an honest worker.” Slavery existed in the day when Paul wrote “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them, not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men” (Ephesians 6:5-8). When you work today, you’re not slaves but you do have a Master. Paul’s instructions still apply in general.
   When I was 16, I was a junior in the old DASHER BIBLE SCHOOL in Valdosta, Georgia. Each Saturday I took the bust to town and headed for the county jail. It became a mission for me to share with the inmates the Word of God. Ann and I have taught in prisons most everywhere we have lived. While serving in the local prison I called the roll one night and told the inmates I had made a bargain with the Warden and at 9 am the following day they would all be pardoned and set free. They knew it was some kind of joke but I had a point to make. “What difference would it make in you life if that were to happen. Would you still have the bitterness and hatred that you have now?” Two steps from inside the gate to outside doesn’t change you. You’d still be what you are now. Our hope is that you will find the faith and courage to change ‘INSIDE OUT’. In the course of that year some did and some didn’t.
   An English Bobbie (Policeman) in London peeked in the expensive and beautiful baby carriage. There was a child who was greatly deformed. His head was extremely large for the size of his body which was extremely small. He was old enough for wire like whiskers to be covering his chin.
   The Bobbie looked up for some explanation; and tears streaming down the cheeks of the Nanny (Governess) as she said, “He d just never grew up, he just never grew up.”
   It’s ‘growing up time’ for all of us.


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