183) Follow the Instructions

From Life Balance by Linda and Richard Eyre:

     I have an acquaintance who is a highly trained, high-priced psychiatrist, along with being a very competent and caring person.  A few years ago he was attending a church where the congregation’s leader was a lay minister who was, by profession, a plumber.

     Over the course of several months, the psychiatrist observed that several of his patients were members of the same church, and were also going to the lay minister for guidance.  Alarmingly, he also observed that these people seemed to be benefiting more from the plumber-minister’s free advice than they were from his costly consultation.

         He finally went to the minister and asked him to reveal the secret of his success in counseling and helping troubled people.  The plumber answered easily and quickly.  “Why it’s easy, really,” he said, “I just talk with them until I find out what commandment they are breaking, and then I tell them to stop.”

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From The Person Reborn, page 201, by Paul Tournier:

     We are like a child who has been given a beautiful mechanical toy as a Christmas present.  His father says to him:  “Come here, and I’ll show you how to make it go.”  The child replies:  “No, I want to do it myself!”  He tries, gets angry and sulky, takes it to pieces, damages it, and finally admits his I incompetence.  Defeated, he hands it to his father saying:  “There, you make it work.”

     We too have received a beautiful and very complicated toy:  life.  We try to make it work on our own.  We think we are having some success– but then things begin to go wrong, and we run into personal or social disasters.  The more we struggle to put things right with our own strength, the worse the situation becomes, until at last we come back to God, and offering our lives to him, say:  “Take over, I can’t manage It on my own.”

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Deuteronomy 4:39-40a  —  Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no other.  Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children…

Proverbs 5:21-23  —  For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.  The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.  For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.

Jeremiah 42:6  —  “Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us…”

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Lord, make your will our will in all things, for in your will is our peace.  Amen.