Grabbing the brass ring
Thomas Bonham is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
In the days of the carousel, the outside circle of horses often did not move up and down and therefore were not as enticing by themselves. To create some excitement for those riders, they were given the incentive of “grabbing the brass ring,” which when redeemed gave the holder a free ride. There was a dispensing arm, within the reach of horse riders, full of rings, dispensed one at a time, mostly iron and of no value, with a few brass rings mixed in. As the carousel turned, riders would snatch a ring as they passed the wooden arm, hoping a brass ring would be available on the next trip around.
A good part of life is like riding a carousel. First we sit in the chairs and just go round and round because we’re too little to do much of anything else. Then we get the nerve up to ride one of the horses that moves up and down until that becomes boring. Then we find there’s a brass ring to be obtained and free rides come with a brass ring. So, we start riding the outside circle of horses “grabbing for the brass ring.” It seems throughout my life the guy in front of me always got the brass ring. No matter how I strategize, no matter how hard I’ve worked for it, I find that brass ring to be an elusive little trinket of luck just out of reach. I still have time, so I’m going to keep trying.
On the merry-go-round of life we’re always looking for that reward we don’t have to work very hard for. A modern twist on “grabbing the brass ring” can be found in a recent TV insurance commercial. Two gals spy a purse (looks like a suitcase to me) and without hesitation one of them latches on to it. Magically, she comes in contact with her insurance agent to find out if her rebate rewards, for being a good driver, will cover the cost of her newfound accessory. He quotes her a figure; she takes the brass ring offered and redeems it for the new purse. Feeling rejected, her friend calls for her insurance agent, who dangles a dollar bill in front of her on the end of a fishing line. She coyly snatches at the dollar bill, whereupon the agent jerks on the pole, making her miss the prize. The agent grins and says, “Ooooo; you’ve got to be quicker than that.”
And while the world dangles “rings” in front of us to chase all day long, we fail to see the destructive path we are walking. Me-ism has brought about the cultural mind-set of “to each his own” and “it is what it is” and “what’s right for you is okay” and “it’s my body” and “I’m not hurting anyone.” While we snatch up worthless “iron rings” in hopes that tomorrow we get the “brass ring,” we’re ignoring the influx of artificial, nonredeemable “mood rings” being collected and weighing down our righteous society.
[Matthew 13:24-30; Ephesians 5:1-21] “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” Pornography, alcoholism, drug addiction -- you name it -- are being sown into society by the enemy to destroy the family and render the word of God nonredeemable. Individualism, pluralism, secularism, and apathy are rendering American religion impotent, nearly incapable of doing anything about our moral crisis. I dread to think where I would be if I hadn’t been taught right from wrong by my parents. I once imitated the weeds of the field and I dread to think what condition my soul would be in if it were not for a concerned child of God bringing me the “brass ring,” Jesus, and the good news of salvation into my life. “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Yes, you.
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.