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


Holler Tail Disease

A couple or three generations back there was something very few today have ever heard of before. During the winter months it wasn't uncommon for the family milk cow to come down with a case of what the old timers called "holler tail." The poor cow would get down and couldn't get back up. The "home remedy" for this malady was to split the cow's tail and pour salt in it. It usually worked. The cow was suddenly motivated to do what she hadn't been able to do before.

Of course, when she got up, she was rewarded with a little feed to help her regain her strength. We now know that the cow was suffering from malnutrition. Pouring salt in the open wound might have motivated her to get up, but it was the feed that helped her recover. Actually, the feed would have solved her problem without the salt. Her getting up was simply a reaction to a negative impulse - pain.

Now, I realize that properly appropriated pain is sometimes a good motivator to proper performance, but it is usually short-lived and accomplishes little in the long run unless reinforced by something positive. Consider the following thought:

If I wanted to, I could help make this church the most wide-awake and working church in all the world.

If I wanted to, I could visit members who are sick or home bound and find other ways to help them.

If I wanted to, I could attend Bible classes regularly and encourage others to do the same.

If I wanted to, I could show more devotion in worship and receive much more good from the services myself.

If I wanted to, I could profit more from the sermon by not resenting the truth when it reveals some of my weaknesses.

If I wanted to, I could tell others about Christ and His church and lead them to Him.

Of course, this all depends on whether I want to or not!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward