Eternal Truth in a Stupid Forward

Noah’s Ark
Originally uploaded by smh00a.

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I was inspired by a recent e-mail forward (you know, the “Send this to 10 people in 10 minutes or you will die” sort of forward…) I received from my uncle in Miami. My uncle’s a highly insightful individual, so when he sends me something, I read it. Even when it has “Fwd:” in the subject line. Anyway, I think these fun principles from an old, old story have implications for us and the church today. The comments in italics are mine.

Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark.

ONE: Don’t miss the boat.

We are in a war, my friends. We can either sit it out and succomb to Satan’s pressure, or we can join God in the battle. How many Christians do we know that are on the sidelines? I would hate to be left on shore while the adventure that was the ark set out.

TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

We’ve been studying unity in our Restoration History class at ACU. One thing has been crystal clear to me during this study: Unity on “my terms” is not unity. It is pride. If we are in a battle (or on an ark), what a shame it would be to scream at the guy next to you in the foxhole for touching your elbow (there’s no “ark” equivalent, so I’ll leave that alone). You get the point, I think.

THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

Just read Mike Cope’s blog today. Pain is coming. So is the rain.

FOUR: Stay fit. When you’re 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

I take this to mean establishing habits of spiritual discipline early in a person’s walk with the Lord. This really connects with No. 4.

FIVE: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

I’d modify this one slightly to read, as my friend Miller Talbot always reminds me, “Eat the meat and spit out the bones.” In other words, consider the source when attacks/criticism comes. Don’t fall in love with your work so much that you are blinded to its faults, however. In ministry or church work, God is actually doing the building. Are we working alongside him?

SIX: Build your future on high ground.

For the Holts, this means that we are drastically simplifying our lives materially. It also means we are extravagantly sharing with others. For everyone, high ground might look a little differently, but we ought to all be “storing up treasures in heaven”, not on earth.

SEVEN: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

One of my favorites. We really, really need each other. Not only so we can give the occasional pat on the back or correcting jab in the ribs, but so we can minister effectively to others. Read this for a great blog entry on the “Power of Pairs.”

EIGHT: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Boy, do we need to remember this one! We need to apply it to our maxed out, 100-mph lives, as well as to our strategies for growing our churches. Individual Christians need to remember that Christ’s “yoke is easy and his burden light”, and that being tired all the time is not virtuous! Slow down and listen to the Lord! (I’m talking to myself right there…) And church leaders, the “whatever works” mentality for quick church growth has to go. Start with a few people, like Christ did. It might take three years, but in the end you’ll have a disciple.

NINE: When you’re stressed, float a while.

We all need to float sometimes. Just rest in the arms of God. What if the answer to the great “spiritual dillemmas” and “deserts” of life was NOT to simply “try harder”, but to float?

TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

And the church was spread by “unlearned, ordinary men.” I think it can be that way today. After all, the greatest “seminary professors” in the universe are Christ and the Holy Spirit. My Bible says they reveal groundbreaking things to “babes.”

ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

A.K.A. “eschatology.” We have to begin living like we have a “future glory”, both on earth and in heaven. Our hope is not just for the world beyond, but for this world — God wants to restore all of humanity AND the entire cosmos to himself. We are to be transformed into glorious creatures. Heaven should be pretty cool, too…

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