he growth chart had slipped from the playroom wall because the tape on its corners had become dry and brittle. Five-year-old Jordan hung it up again, meticulously working to get it straight. Then he stood his sister against the wall to measure her height.
"Mommy! Mommy! An-neke is forty inches tall!" he shouted as he burst into the kitchen. "I measured her."
His mom replied, "That's impossible, Sweetheart. She's only 3 years old. Lefs go see." They walked back into the playroom, where the mother's suspicions were confirmed. Despite his efforts to hang the chart straight, Jordan had failed to set it at the proper height. It was several inches low.
We easily make Jordan's mistake in gauging our spiritual growth or importance. Compared to a shortened scale, we may appear better than we are. Only when we stand against the Cross, that "great leveler of men" as A. T. Robertson called it, can we not think of ourselves "more highly than we ought to think." Christ, himself, must be our standard.
— Robert H. Heijermans Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
obert Fulghum wrote in the Kansas City Times, "Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
"These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. . . . When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together."
This writer has captured part of what Jesus meant when he said, "Unless you become like little children, you won't enter the kingdom of heaven."
— Hugh Duncan Moses Lake, Washington
he following story appeared in the newsletter Our America: "Dodie Gadient, a schoolteacher for thirteen years, decided to travel across America and see the sights she had taught about. Traveling alone in a truck with camper in tow, she launched out. One afternoon rounding a curve on 1-5 near Sacramento in rush-hour traffic, a water pump blew on her truck. She was tired, exasperated, scared, and alone. In spite of the traffic jam she caused, no one seemed interested in helping.
"Leaning up against the trailer, she prayed, 'Please God, send me an angel . . . preferably one with mechanical experience.' Within four minutes, a huge Harley drove up, ridden by an enormous man sporting long, black hair, a beard, and tattooed arms. With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off and, without even glancing at Dodie, went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes, he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain to the frame of the disabled Chevy, and whisked the whole 56-foot rig off the freeway onto a side street, where he calmly continued to work on the water pump.
"The intimidated schoolteacher was too dumbfounded to talk. Especially when she read the paralyzing words on the back of his leather jacket: 'Hell's Angels — California.' As he finished the task, she finally got up the courage to say, 'Thanks so much,' and carry on a brief conversation. Noticing her surprise at the whole ordeal, he looked her straight in the eye and mumbled, 'Don't judge a book by its cover. You may not know who you're talking to.' With that, he smiled, closed the hood of the truck, and straddled his Harley. With a wave, he was gone as fast as he had appeared."
Given half a chance, people often crawl out of the boxes into which we've relegated them.
— Larry D. Wright Tuscumbia, Alabama
urvivor Eva Hart remembers the night, April 15, 1912, on which the Titanic plunged 12,000 feet to the Atlantic floor, some two hours and forty minutes after an iceberg tore a 300-foot gash in her starboard side: "I saw all the horror of its sinking, and I heard, even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people."
Although twenty lifeboats and rafts were launched — too few and only partly filled — most of the passengers ended up struggling in the icy seas while those in the boats waited a safe distance away.
Lifeboat No. 14 did row back to the scene after the "unsinkable" ship slipped from sight at 2:20 a.m. Alone, it chased cries in the darkness, seeking and saving a precious few. Incredibly, no other boat joined it. Some were already overloaded, but in virtually every other boat, those already saved rowed their half-filled boats aimlessly in the night, listening to the cries of the lost. Each feared a crush of unknown swimmers would cling to their craft, eventually swamping it.
"I came to seek and to save the lost," our Savior said. And he commissioned us to do the same. But we face a large obstacle: fear. While people drown in the treacherous waters around us, we are tempted to stay dry and make certain no one rocks the boat. Yet the boat is not ours, and our safety came only at the expense of the One who overcame fear with love — and saved us. — James D. Smith III Minneapolis, Minnesota
ime magazine carried the following news item:
"When the post office in Troy, Michigan, summoned Michael Achorn to pick up a 2-foot-long, 40-pound package, his wife, Margaret, cheerfully went to accept it. But as she drove it back to her office in Detroit, she began to worry. The box was from Montgomery Ward, but the sender, Edward Achorn, was unknown to Margaret and her husband, despite the identical last name.
"What if the thing was a bomb? She telephoned postal authorities. . . .
"The bomb squad soon arrived with eight squad cars and an armored truck. They took the suspected bomb in the armored truck to a remote tip of Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River. There they wrapped detonating cord around the package and, as they say in the bomb business, 'opened it remotely.'
"When the debris settled, all that was left intact was the factory warranty for the contents: a $450 stereo AM-FM receiver and a tape deck console. Now the only mystery is who is Edward Achorn and why did he send Michael and Margaret such a nice Christmas present?"
We gasp with shock at the thought of a costly stereo in pieces, yet many reject the far more costly gift of God's Son. Eventually they will regret what they discover they have scorned. — Robert T. Wenz Clifton Park, New York
| P |
ali, this bull has killed me." So said Jose Cu-bero, one of Spain's most brilliant matadors, before he lost consciousness and died. Only 21 years old, he had been enjoying a spectacular career. However, in this 1985 bullfight, Jose made a tragic mistake. He thrust his sword a final time into a bleeding, delirious bull, which then collapsed. Considering the struggle finished, Jose turned to the crowd to acknowledge the applause.
The bull, however, was not dead. It rose and lunged at the unsuspecting matador, its horn piercing his back and puncturing his heart.
Just when we think we've finished off pride, just when we turn to accept the congratulations of the crowd, pride stabs us in the back. We should never consider pride dead before we are.
— Craig Brian Larson Arlington Heights, Illinois
n A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond, a former zoo keeper, had this to say: "Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I'll never forget her answer.
" 'It will be different for me. . . .'And she smiled as she added, 'Bandit wouldn't hurt me. He just wouldn't.'
"Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild."
Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable guise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, "It will be different for me." The results are predictable.
— Bob Campbell Lima, New York
| I |
n its January 25, 1988 issue, Time provided an insight on selfishness and its corollary, sharing. Speaking about the introduction of the videocassette recorder, the article said, "The company had made a crucial mistake. While at first Sony kept its Beta technology mostly to itself, JVC, the Japanese inventor of the VHS [format], shared its secret with a raft of other firms. As a result, the market was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the VHS machines being produced."
This drastically undercut Sony's market share. The first year, Sony lost 40 percent of the market, and by 1987 it controlled only 10 percent. So now Sony has jumped on the VHS bandwagon. While it still continues to make Beta-format VCRs, Sony's switch to VHS, according to Time, will likely send Beta machines to "the consumer-electronics graveyard." Even in a cut-throat business, sharing has its rewards.
— Phillip Gunter Minden, Nevada
What are the most effective illustrations you've come across? We want to share them with other pastors and teachers who need material that communicates with imagination and impact. For items used, leadership will pay $25. If the material has been published previously, please indicate the source.
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