I spent the last couple of days in Knoxville on a work-related trip. The trip was useful. I got to listen to several good speakers talking about things that can, could or do affect my day-job.
One speaker discussed the topic, “Best Practice for User Experience.” The topic revolved around tips to keep in mind when creating something that will be used by others. Some of the tips had a great correlating spiritual point that can and should be used by preachers – although a couple of the points aren’t as promising. Not saying the point isn’t true (because it is)…just saying the point needs to be kept in mind due to its poor, but honest, reflection of many listener’s mindsets. Over the next the few days I’m going to share the tips I believe are worth noting.
Tip #1: Continue reading
While in Memphis I was convinced of taking a trip to Graceland. To be honest (and this is a non-Elvis-fan speaking here) the trip was actual worth it. I learned a lot while taking the tours and viewing all of Elvis’ past possessions and actually seeing the person Elvis Presley alongside the spectacle that he eventually became. I was also reminded about a lot of biblical lessons; one of which was the futility of trying to always have the latest and greatest stuff in life.
While taking the tour through the vehicle museum there was one car that grabbed my attention…well there was more than one, but this car grabbed my attention because of the above reason. The car was a black limousine built by a very expensive brand. But that’s not necessarily why the car grabbed my attention. What grabbed my attention was the technology that the car came with: a phone and a TV. Sure these things were the latest and greatest in Elvis’ heyday, but by today’s standards that technology is the oldest and most worthless forms of what’s available. I even pointed out to my daughter how the screen on the tablet that she plays with was larger than the TV screen that the “king of rock-n-roll” used to watch. How about that? Do you see the point? A three-year-old child of today (whose parents have nowhere near the budget of Elvis, to put it in a non-cruel manner) is able walk around with something that is head and shoulders above anything that Lisa Presley ever had during her childhood of yesterday.
Perhaps there really is something in that lesson from the land of grace (I’m talking Heaven here) after all. And I think that something is something to think about while we chase the cheese in the ole’ rat race.
“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” (Luke 12:15)
I had the opportunity to go to a convention involving the field of my secular work (the GIS field) a couple of days this week. The convention consisted of speakers and workshops and other things such as a chance to talk to vendors, judge maps and to participate in some other area related “games.”
One of the things that I enjoy about these conventions is getting the opportunity to listen to the speakers talk about things that I still need to learn about when it comes to my job, but also listening for points that they make that have big spiritual applications too. Taking “everyday” life and getting spiritual points out of it was a big part of the way that Jesus taught others (things like plows, persistence with judges, fig trees, finding valuables buried in the earth, mustard seeds, etc.) and I believe it can go a long way with the spiritual illustrations that we make today. For example, here are two statements that one speaker made that jumped out at me spiritually speaking:
- Just because the answer is clear does not mean it’s easy
- Just because the destination is clear does not mean it’s close
There were several scriptures that came to mind as I made a note of what the speaker said. His point dealt with the area that revolves around my day job, but his point can’t be missed when it comes to everyone’s relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If we choose to walk with Jesus we’re going to have to walk with determination!
“Go in by the narrow door; for wide is the door and open is the way which goes to destruction, and great numbers go in by it. For narrow is the door and hard the road to life, and only a small number make discovery of it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 – BBE)
There’s a wonderful story coming out of Minnesota about a 9-year-old little boy who was running in a 5K race but he began to run out of a little steam toward the end. The boy finished, but the way he finished is what makes the story so great.
As the boy found himself starting to run alone and getting discouraged he spotted someone who he thought might help him – Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr of the United States Marine Corps. The boy asked Mr. Kerr if he would run with him, and Mr. Kerr refused to turn him down and helped the young boy, Boden Fuchs, finish the race even when he wanted to give up.
What a story!
There are so many spiritual applications, the least of them being that we all need someone to run our race of faith with; we all need a little encouragement every now and then, and God’s word can provide the support and encouragement we need if we’re willing to listen to those who know what it’s like to be in our shoes: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [think Hebrews 11 here], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1). And this thought goes without leaving out the very next verse which says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
There is no shame in asking for help while we run our race here on earth; there are days when we all run better than others and days when we run worse, and we should know how far a little bit of encouragement can go. The real shame comes from us having the ability to help others but leaving them behind to fail in their race. So let’s be the encourager that God wants us to be and helps others finish their race.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:23-24)