“Elephants have been trained and used by humans for over 4000 years. How is it possible for a 180 pound man to restrain an 11,000 pound elephant with a piece of rope and a wooden stake? When an elephant is very young, it is tethered to a four foot long wooden stake driven into the ground. This stake is physically able to hold the young elephant despite repeated attempts to escape. After many unsuccessful attempts to escape, the young elephant eventually believes that escape is impossible. This belief is carried into adulthood. When the elephant is full grown, it could easily break free from the stake – yet it never attempts to do so. This powerful and intelligent creature is held captive by nothing more that its own thoughts.” Kit Pharo, Pharo Cattle Company.
This story is very telling about how we humans approach our lives. Do you suppose you might have a few preconceived thoughts or ideas that are holding you back? Are you tethered to situations or traditions from which you could easily break free?
Stewardship in your life may vary well be like an elephant tethered to a stake. Many of us, though faithful Christians, still keep a part of ourselves from Christ. Whether it be money, positions, activities, or habits, some part us that is ours. There is curious security calling something “mine”. But Jesus does not teach that. Everything is God’s. All the stuff we own and all the things we do are very good and we are expected to enjoy the world we are given. But everything has place in our lives. Read Ecclesiastes 3 1:8. Too often we are taught that the extra time at work brings status and more money. That allowing our children to be in another activity, in an already crowded schedule, will make them better people. That the latest gadget or fashion will raise our status with friends and family. So what are we to do? Number one, we have to stop behaving like elephants. It has to be repeated that every thing is God’s and we are only his caretakers. He is the loan officer and we are the borrowers. A steward understands the place of all the goodness we are given and appreciates the gifts. So begin with prayer. It does not have to be an elaborate prayer service. You will rarely find me in a chapel in traditional forms of prayer. But you will find me outside on a walk enjoying what Christ has made. Being in his presence does not mean you have to be in a church although the Eucharist should be our first and highest form of prayer. It can be as simple as being at your desk simply inviting him into your day and thanking him for it. Or behind the wheel with the radio off letting God in. Jesus wants into our lives if we let him. Simple moments allow him to work in us and guide our way.
Next time I will ask if you are a Turkey Buzzard.
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