February 4, 2014
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8
When our three children were in high school, it was not an unusual thing for the family to wake up on a Saturday morning and find the trees around our home had been thoroughly and completely decorated with toilet paper.
Today, Pam and I can admit what we would never have dared say back then: some of those kids did a first-class job. They lofted those toilet-paper streamers on the highest branches of the trees; they festooned the bushes with mummy-like cocoons of Charmin®.
Recently, I found out the custom of toilet papering a house is alive and well. I found this out because, about a month ago, the home of Cheryl Crausewell of Dora, Alabama, was "TP'd." Playing the prank on Crausewell's son, the kids did a fine job of decorating the yard and her magnolia tree. In the afternoon she and her son started to clean up the flowing decorations. While most of the toilet paper came down easily, some sheets defied removal.
To put a finish to the job, Crausewell and son decided to burn up the remnants by setting them on fire.
To make a long story short, it was a bad idea. Some of the burning toilet paper fell into the yard, which also began to burn. Mother and son tried to put the fire out, but the flames kept spreading. The fire reached into their backyard where it found the propane tank located on the family barbecue grill. The tank blew and before too long Crausewell's house caught fire and burned to the ground.
There is a spiritual lesson in this news article, and the lesson is this:
Sin and Satan love to suggest things that seem like good ideas at the time. They seem like good ideas, but they are not. Adam and Eve thought the idea of eating from a tree that would make them really wise like God was a good idea. They ate and found out their brainstorm wasn't so good.
Abraham thought passing off his wife as his sister was a pretty shrewd move. It wasn't. Moses thought hitting the rock rather than speaking to it as God commanded was a good idea. It wasn't. Achan thought taking a few baubles of silver and a block of gold from fallen Jericho was a good idea. It wasn't. Should I go on? Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira all thought they had good ideas, which turned out to be disastrous.
This is why their stories teach us to listen to God. That's right, listen to God.
He who has created, redeemed and saved us knows best. When He says we should do something, we should do it. If he says, "Run from this or that," then we had better start running. If He says, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him," we ought to pay close attention.
Why? Because it's a good idea to listen to Him who loves you and knows everything.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, don't let my ego and pride get in the way of listening to You. In Your Word You have given me forgiveness and salvation through my Savior's sacrifice. May I reject any thought that I can improve upon His work and Your wisdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries