"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Swamp Full of Alligators

I used to have a picture of a man trying to crawl out of a swamp with alligators surrounding him on every side. The caption read “When you are up to your a** in alligators, it’s difficult to remember your objective is to drain the swamp.” Somewhere in the midst of a moving homes or offices, the picture has been lost, but the humor and truth stay with me.
Can you imagine that man’s thoughts when his boss told him to go out and drain the swampland, but when he started the job the alligators began to come out from all their hiding places. Places the man did not see until he began his work. Once they began to converge on the man, the only thing he was thinking of was getting out of the swamp and away from those ‘gators. Forget the swamp and what he was supposed to be doing. He felt the threat crawling all around him.

Stop for a minute and think about the objectives we all have in life. A good career, the best car, a family that makes you proud, friends and neighbors who invite you over for steak dinners, the latest iPod, and the list can go on and on. All of a sudden one day an alligator crawls into your space and the wonderful job decides to outsource your department, your car turns out to be from a hurricane sale, your spouse leaves you, and (horrors) the iPod breaks down. Where are your objectives now?

As Christians, we live by basically simple instructions. To love and respect God, treat your neighbors as you want to be treated and to share God’s message of Love through Christ with others. However, many times you have to meet them in their neighborhoods where they live, work and play that may not be in the most desirable parts of the county. Many other times, our neighbors are cranky, crotchety, hateful people who toss their dog droppings over the fence into your yard. Our children seem to hate us for making them eat vegetables and do homework and they think that the absent parent is better and cooler than you. Each month you have to decide between paying the cable company, the water bill or giving to your church. One little, two little, three little alligators. Creeping up on you and distracting you from what you know you should do.

How can I love God when my world seems so stinky? How can I treat my neighbors with respect when they are “not our kind of people?” How can I share God’s message of Love to others when I really don’t like them because they treat me like junk?

In Isaiah 40:31 we are told that if we “wait [trust] in the Lord, our strength will be renewed and we will soar like eagles. We will run and not get tired or weary.”

How many alligators are nibbling at your “feet”? Have you forgotten your objectives because of the sounds of the creatures advancing from all the hiding places in your life? Do you feel like your world is spinning out of control because you are in a swamp and cannot get out quick enough?

Stop, sit down, go to your quiet place and listen to the voice of God bringing you back to him and giving you the strength to battle the alligators of your day. I can promise that with God’s strength, you will win the battle.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim,
This was right on time. All to often we are so busy with life that we neglect our spirit......stoping and listening.

You Know Who

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous damianq said...

God can really help us to say: "See yah later, 'alligater'!"

(I just couldn't resist adding this comment)

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous guppyman said...

My God is bigger than your alligators! :D

BTW- My camera is a kodak z740. It's been discontinued beacause they have come out with better models. I love it, but it made me want a better one.

If I had it to do over, I'd probably invest in a DSLR (and when i can afford it, i probably will)

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Jules said...

Hi Jimmy

Its been some time since I've spoken to you. I'm who you refer to as the "Vet Girl". You know, from Fairview Animal Hospital.

Anyway, I've since moved to the mountians and read your blog often. I couldn't believe it when I read it today and you had "my" verse on here. Isaiah 40:31!

You see, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Jan. of this year and claim that as my verse whenever I'm going to my chemo treatment.

Oh, don't feel sorry for me, just pray for me. And, by the way, please read my blog that I started last month to help me and to keep all my friends updated.

The blog url is: http://jules-breastcancerstory.blogspot.com/

Thank you for 'being God's' and I plan on ordering and reading your book soon.

In Christ
Julie W.
Otto, NC

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Present Storm said...

you are so right on as usual!! Thank you for always sharing your heart and for being such a huge inspiration to so many.

May God continue to Bless you and use you for the good of His Kingdom,


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