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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Enjoy the Interval

Someone observed, "There is no cure for birth or death except to enjoy the interval in-between." Sometime in the early A. D. 60's, a man who could have moaned and groaned about how bad his life was chose instead to concentrate on how great it was to be a Christian, even though incarcerated! From a prison cell the apostle Paul wrote immortal words that have aided millions in choosing to enjoy the interval between birth and death, no matter how bad life may seem at the moment. With great faith and a positive, godly attitude, Paul transformed his prison of pain into a palace for praise and wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" What he enjoyed in Christ was as real in prison as it was out! Nothing this side of Heaven or hell could take away what he enjoyed in the Lord unless he gave it away. Painful as Paul's life was, he never doubted that he was more blessed than he was distressed.

Can we be more like that? How can we avoid the "stinking-thinking, poor pitiful me, I'm a victim, nobody-cares, life-ain't fair, I'm the only one trying" attitude that saturates the thinking of some people even inside the church? How can we avoid the mistake of letting life become a prison of unhappiness and malcontent and distress of our own making, thinking that we would be happier if we could only change somebody or something else? An old story attributed to T. B. Crews shows the way. A little boy lived with his parents in a home on the west side of a high mountain. Across the valley to the west there was another home built on the east side of the opposing mountain. Very early in life, the little boy began to notice that early in the morning, the house across the valley appeared to have golden windows. He begged his mother to let him go see the house with the golden windows. Finally, when his mother felt he was old enough to cross the valley alone, she gave him permission to go and see the house which had fascinated him for so long. On a set day, he rose early and rushed excitedly down the mountain, across the valley, and up to the house where the windows of gold had seemed to be. But while making the trip, the sun was moving across the heavens. By the time he reached his destination it was in the western sky. To his dismay there were no windows of gold -- just ordinary ones like those of his own home. However, as he looked across the valley, ready to start back home, he couldn't believe his eyes. His own house now seemed to have windows of gold! What he had seen, of course, was the reflection of the sun. Isn't life like that for many of us? We tend to see gold and believe life is better and more beautiful somewhere else than where we are. Could it be that that wife, husband, job, car, house, church, elder, preacher, etc. is not really what needs to change for us to be happy? Maybe the gold is right under our noses, in our own home and even more closely in our own heart! Life on earth has a beginning and an end. God wants us to enjoy the interval in between. So go ahead, rejoice in the Lord. Always!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ