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Pickin’ Out Walnuts

When I was a boy we had large black walnut tree in the yard. The nuts would fall off in the fall and then we had the task of extracting the meat from the shells. First you had to remove the outer husk which would stain your hands a dark brown if you touched it. Then you had to crack the hard shell with a hammer. I always enjoyed "hitting stuff' with a hammer, but that's where the fun ended. The tedious part came when it was time to remove the nutmeat from those hard shells. Usually this job was attempted while sitting in a chair watching the television. At times like this I often wondered why God put such a hard shell around such a delicious nut. Why couldn't they be more like a peanut or even a pecan?

Have you ever noticed that many of the joys of life are like that? Much of the really "fun stuff' in life has a hard shell around it, meaning you have to work hard to reach the enjoyment part. Perhaps you are familiar with an expression which says, "anything worth having is worth working for." If you have sufficient days on this earth you know this is true. IF you want to be a good student, businessman, salesperson, fisherman, athlete, etc., you have to work at it. Occasionally something easy may come your way but if you count on everything being easy, you will be disappointed and often.

This principle certainly applies to living the Christian life. Jesus paid a high price to make it possible for us to even be his disciples. Thus it should be no surprise that a high price is expected of us too. In Luke 14:33 Jesus predicted that his disciples would have to forsake all that they had. Sadly many Christians think of their discipleship as something they fit in with the many others parts of life. They have jobs, hobbies, friends, family, etc., and being a Christian is just another role they play from time to time. But Jesus doesn't want part time players. He wants us to take up the cross and follow him on a daily basis, Luke 9: 23.

WE normally realize that the important relationships in life take regular attention. If I want my children to grow up and be mature adults, I must devote time to them everyday.  If I want my wife to be happy, I must consider her needs every day. In fact, someone has said, "A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day." By now I hope you have noticed the trend that relationships take work; sacrifice, time, attention and labor are involved. But when we give these relationships the effort they deserve we soon discover something. We fmd that it is work, but then we find that it is worth it.

The same can be said for our relationship with God. It takes effort, planning and commitment to study the bible, pray every day, give God the glory, develop the Christian virtues, and meet with the saints. There is a cost to these spiritual activities. We may have to curtail other activities, give up some dear habits, and change friends. Some folks may not approve of all these things, but if we stick with it, the effort will be rewarded. And don't forget that sin and apathy have their price too. Hospitals, jails, courtrooms and psychiatrists offices are filled with people affected by the price of sin. So life has its hardships and sacrifices no matter which route you take. But if you take the right way there is joy to be found. Picking out walnuts is tedious and hard on the fingers, but tomorrow there is cake with nuts in the icing.

(article by Terry Burress)