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Straddling the Fence

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imageWalking a Thin Line!

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other…”

Sometimes I feel as if life is one big balancing act and I am wobbling on a teeter totter just trying to make it through the day in one piece. Do you ever feel like that? Some days it’s a losing battle and I find myself tilting to one side and completely throwing off the portions of my carefully balanced life. I truly try so hard to make everyone that I come into contact with happy. I don’t like feeling as if I have let someone down or caused additional work for anyone. So, I add more to my plate and keep walking down the middle of that fence so as to appease everyone.

Have you ever tried walking on the top of a fence? My guess is that not many from today’s generation will be able to respond affirmatively but the kids I hung out with while growing up would spend hot, lazy summer days making up games to play while hanging outside. We would play endless games of hide and seek or ride bikes through the neighborhood. Sometimes, we would try our luck at balancing as we walked the length of fencing behind each other’s back yards. Somedays we would make it farther than others but invariable, we would lose focus and in turn, fall to one side of the fence or the other. I’m sure that the talented tight rope walkers of the world could walk for miles wile balancing on the peak of a fence, perhaps even while blindfolded. There comes a point though, for everyone, whether from change in height, hunger, exhaustion or various other conditions or factors, that the laws of gravity will prevail and pull to one side or the other. It is impossible to spend your entire life walking a fence and no doubt it is exhausting.

Similarly, as the opening verse says, you can’t serve two masters. I can speak to this from a work related experience. For a short time, I reported to two different supervisors. I have to reiterate that it was just for a short time. What a nightmare! It is impossible to please both, stay in sync with both, organize for both or just try and keep up with both. One or the other is going to demand more time and take precedence. This is exactly how God described our inability to serve Him alone. If we lose our focus and take our eyes off of Him, it is a certainty that we will fall to one side and be consumed by other priorities. A priority doesn’t have to be something horrible or evil, it can easily be something that would normally be good, but if it pulls your focus off of Christ then you may be feeling that pull to the side.

Sometimes, we walk the fence because we don’t want to offend anyone. PC anyone? Heaven forbid we define right from wrong in a public forum or the work place! Rather than speaking out, it’s just safer to remain invisible and keep quiet. It’s less offensive to point out the obvious wrongs being done in our country because we may hurt someone’s feelings. There are two poison apple topics in the work place: politics and religion. Guess what the enemy is using to morally corrupt America and our freedom? You got it. Politics and religion. So, we keep trying to balance the fence. A little progressivism here and a little God loves all faiths there and we are able to maintain our balance on top of the fence.

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other.” Rev. 3:15

Picture one side of the fence to be extreme cold and the other side is polar opposite being boiling hot. God says he does not want us to be lukewarm or balancing on the fence. Pick one or the other. Either you are for Him or by virtue of silence, you are against Him. That doesn’t sound good, does it? How many times are we silent when we should speak out? I know that I have been silent in my lukewarmness more times than I could ever count. So, basically I have been cold. It’s one side or the other, my friends. You absolutely cannot walk the fence and you cannot be lukewarm. By standing in the middle, you have chosen the cold side. By keeping silent about your faith, you have sided with another master. We have the ability to make our own choices. We can choose our actions, our words and our thoughts.

Joshua 7 tells how the Israelites went to battle and they lost. This was not the norm for them. If you wanted to secure a sure and safe bet then you were guaranteed a positive return by placing your money on Israel kicking their opponent’s butt. That they lost was shocking and disturbing to all, especially to Joshua who had led them into battle. When they got back to camp, Joshua fell to the ground in prayer and God revealed to him the root of the Israelite loss. One of the men, Achan, had hidden some of the spoils from the battle of Jericho in his tent after God had commanded it all destroyed. Achan saw something he wanted and he hid it while pretending to obey. Because of one man’s disobedience all suffered defeat. The Israelites constantly walked the fence between serving God and serving the gods of other nations. You’d think at some point they would have learned. Sometimes they banded together in their disobedience and other times, as in the example of Achan, they acted alone. Joshua tells the Israelites in chapter 24 that God is jealous. He will not let you serve two masters. Joshua said choose Whom you will serve, “but as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.”

That is one powerful statement! What choice will you make? I choose the Lord’s side!

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