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CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING
A man named Fred inherited a huge land grant, but the will provided that he could choose land in either Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil. Unhappily, if he had chosen Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which they had recently discovered uranium, gold and silver. But he chose Brazil.
When he arrived in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in a coffee plantation or land with Brazil nut trees. He chose the nut trees, and immediately the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee futures went up two dollars a pound. The government took control of the nut farm for back taxes, and Fred was left destitute.
Fred pawned his Rolex watch for the money he needed to fly either to New York or Boston. He chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new super Concorde with red carpets. After several hours delay, the plane for Boston arrived. It was a 1928 twin engine plane held together with bailing wire, and it was filled with cigar smokers and unattended crying babies.
Over the mountains one of the engines fell off, and Fred, frightened by his earlier bad choices and fearing for his life, asked for two parachutes. He jumped. As he fell through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. He pulled the cord on the left, but nothing happened. He pulled the cord on his right, but it broke.
In desperation the poor fellow cried out, "St. Francis, save me!" A great hand from heaven reached down, seized him by the wrist, and left him dangling in mid-air. Then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, "St. Francis, Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?"
(Source: Dick Meyer, An Anchor in a Sea of Change, Faith@Work, Spring 2000, p.23; www.PreachingToday.com)
The poor guy couldn’t win for losing, but that’s life sometimes. Life is risky, because it’s full of choices where we don’t always know the outcome.
It’s the same with choosing to follow Christ. There is great risk involved, because we don’t always know how people are going to respond to that choice. Some may appreciate the choice because of the changes it brings into our lives. But others may very well reject us for choosing to follow Jesus, because they resent those very changes.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take A Risk, 11/5/2009)
WHEN MY DAD DIED, I INHERITED A TAP COLLECTION! Brass taps! I’ve never heard of someone who collects taps. Every shape and variety of brass taps. They were too heavy to put them in my suitcase so I placed them in a carry-on-bag as I went to the airport. My bag was taken through the X-ray machine a number of times, and there was a little commotion as some seriously heavy looking guys in uniforms asked me to open the bag. It occurred to me that taps look very much like guns in a carry-on-bag and I’m sure they expected an arms cache and that I was trying to smuggle illegal weapons to a gang in the Whitsundays. I smiled and explained that my dad had just died and that this was my inheritance. Surprisingly, they let me through with my taps. NOT A SINGLE WEAPON WAS FIRED ON THE PLANE!
Abram had decided to stay in Haran until the time came to bury his father. This meant that the inheritance of Terah’s considerable estate was now his. ABRAHAM WAS A RICH MAN. Some criticize him for staying in Haran saying that he fell short of the promises of God, distracted by the attraction of wealth. I don’t think he was saying, OK, HE’S DEAD! WHAT HAVE I INHERITED? But he did stay in Haran until his father died.
Let’s imagine dialogue between Abraham and God. “Abraham, this is God speaking. I want you to leave everything and go to the land I will show you.” “Where’s that?” “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” “Try me.” “It’s 1500 miles from here in a place called Canaan.” “Never heard of it.” “I know, and guess what else?” “What?” “I’m going to make you the father of a great nation.” “That’s impossible. I don’t have any children.” “Don’t worry.” “What do you mean, don’t worry?” “Just trust me.” “Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You want me to leave everything, travel across the desert to someplace I’ve never heard of, and become the father of a great nation.” “Right.” “Is this some kind of joke?” “No.” “What am I s...
We might shake our heads at such blatant hypocrisy, but the truth is most people fail to live up to their own Words. One prime example of this might be Karl Marx who wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848. Marx’ had --- and still has --- millions of followers. His Philosophy has shaped (and some would say, ruined) many Nations for a hundred years. Marxists consider Karl Marx a champion of the under classes.
But even his staunchest defenders admit that Marx did not live what he preached. He wrote “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” But he must have seen himself in the “needy” category because he never held a steady job. Instead he lived off the inheritance of his aristocratic wife and his wealthy friend, Friedrich Engels.
He preached revolution for the downtrodden masses --- but did not form friendships outside his own class. In his personal life, Marx formed few close ties. In fact, when he died, only 11 people came to his funeral. (http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=12622; Publishers Weekly, VII 2002)
Karl Marx and Jesus Christ had several things in common. Both were considered Revolutionaries. Both championed the Poor, the Outcasts and the Downt...