You can have the dog
A preacher was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age. The group had surrounded a stray dog. Concerned the boys had in mind to hurt the dog, he approached the boys and asked, “What are you boys doing with that dog?” One of the boys volunteered, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So, we’ve decided whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.” Of course, the preacher was taken aback. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning with, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie?” and ended his lesson with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.” There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the preacher was beginning to think he had gotten through to them, the smallest of the boys gave out a deep sigh and said, “Oh, all right, give him the dog.”
The country is in the midst of what I consider the “political silly season” when caucus and primary votes start to sway the mud-slinging strategies of candidates toward their opponents, especially when one finds they’re slipping in a popular poll of one group or another. It amazes me how much dirt political hired guns can dig up for politicians to exploit, solely for the purpose of changing public thinking about the character of another person. All I ask, and I think what most people want from their “want-to-be” elected politician, is show me who you are in a complete and honest way. I don’t care what you think about someone else. I already have a good idea of “who’s who” in the world of politics and I’m looking for the one who is willing to step up and step out for the people they represent. I, of late, see no representatives even attempting to fulfill the will of the people whom they represent. This country is built on “We the people ...” not, I the politician, who knows what’s best for the people, and my pocket.
[Exodus 20:1-17; Romans 1:18-32] Oh Tom, not the Ten Commandments again! I know, it seems so basic and some get sick and tired of hearing them. “We don’t live under the law anymore,” you say. There are a lot more commandments in the Bible than just 10 (600-plus), but I can’t seem to just brush aside the first 10 as suggestions for peaceful living. These ten sum up what pleases God and God’s will for man quite well.
The first four commands deal with our relationship with God; the last six deal with our relationship with one another. Of those six, perhaps the one we break the most is the one about lying: “Bearing false witness.” Today they’re being removed from public sight because they belong to the “church” inside the “church building” for those who want to deal with them. The rationale is, if you don’t teach the “ten” then you don’t have to adhere to them. False! “... when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bear witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Romans 2:14-15).
God has placed it in the hearts of mankind how we should treat one another with a conscience to strike us with guilt when we express a deliberate selfish act that is not pleasing to God our Maker. Mankind measures greatness by how many serve you; God measures greatness by how many you serve.
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.
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