Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Looking back to some of my earliest memories, I can recall a one-day outing with my father.
What I remember is not like a movie with one scene following after another. No, these memories are in the form of a few, old snapshots, which have been dulled and faded by the passing of decades. The theme of the outing was a trip to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Searching my memory I can barely see some trick riders standing on the back of their horses; I can make out a lineup of clowns who have just exited a mini-car, and one where I find myself wondering why the lion tamer uses a chair for protection. Still, the most vivid memory of that day is not from the death-defying performances. No, those memories come from what I had seen earlier, much earlier, in the day.
It is when dad and I watched the intricate choreography of roustabouts and elephants putting up the great tents that transformed a giant, empty lot into a canvas-covered, flag-flying, mini-city.
I suppose those old memories are part of the reason, when the time came, Pam and I took our three children to the circus. Although I have to confess, laziness kept me from getting the family up before dawn to see the work that was done behind the scenes.
In recent years there was always a desire to take the grandchildren to see The Greatest Show on Earth. Sadly, that is a desire that will remain unfulfilled. After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is shutting down. Declining attendance, high operating costs, changing public tastes, and ongoing squabbles with animal-rights folk have rung the show's death knell.
The elephants are being retired to Florida, and the other animals are being distributed to various suitable locations around the country.
And I'll never take the grandkids to see The Greatest Show on Earth. In the scheme of things I suppose not seeing a circus is not a very big deal.
On the other hand, not taking your children and grandchildren to see the Savior is an incredibly big deal. Think about it: Jesus is the only One who loves them more than you, who has done more for them than you. He is the One who will be with them long after you are gone, and He is the only One who can take care of them when the day comes that the doctors say, "We can do nothing more."
Please note, in the above paragraph I said, we should take, not send, but take our children to see their Savior. In doing so, you show your little ones that the Redeemer is important to you. You are telling them that Jesus is not just for children, but He is for adults, too. Paraphrasing Ringling Brothers, Jesus remains the greatest (and the only) Savior on earth.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we don't know how long we have before us, nor do we know how many opportunities will be presented to us. Help us use the days and the chances wisely, well, and in a way that glorifies the Savior. In His Name. Amen.
The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based comes from an article written by the editors of Newser on January 15, 2017. The website where the parent article can be found is: www.newser.com/story/236903/big-top-goes-down-ringling-bros-circus-closing.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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