Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When I was in Kindergarten we had these puzzles we worked on.  Mrs. Brammer would give us a sheet of paper with four pictures in a random order.  The pictures were a sequence that was out of order. So, it was our job to cut out the four drawings and put them in the order that they occurred. It was always the same sort of thing. Some guy named Jim picked up a bat and a ball. Then Jim went outside and his friend Tim pitched a ball to him.  Then Jim hit the baseball.  And finally, it went straight threw his mother's window. These cartoons were supposed to teach us to think about what our actions may produce.  

One day I was climbing on the counters in my parent's kitchen. I was hanging from the very top shelf trying to reach something I should never reach (for the life of me I can't remember what it is now). My mother walked in and she didn't yell and she didn't grab me.  She looked at me and said, "Cambria June, you know those sequence puzzles you do at school.  What do you think the next box will look like if you are hanging from the top shelf?" So I sat on the counter and thought about it.  Almost immediately I got this mental picture of me laying on the ground, my arm bent in half the wrong way like a cartoon character. So I climbed down, very carefully.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about consequences. I'm an idealist so I think about the future a lot, but not in a very tangible way. Like I think about what the future could and should be like, but not about what my actions today are producing for me in the future. This week I was reading in Ecclesiastics and came across a verse that struck me. Eccl. 8:11 says, "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." 

I started thinking about that and I realized, the next box is coming. Even if you can't see it right now. The sequence continues. Right now, my actions today, are storing up consequences for tomorrow. But because the sentence for evil, or the negative consequences of evil action or inaction are not executed speedily, I don't think about the next box. 

I think the opposite of this verse is the same.  Because the fruit of righteousness is not produced quickly, the hearts of the sons of men become faint and are not fully set on doing good. It's easy to lose faith if we forget about the next box, the consequence of our actions today.

The next box is always unknown and it drives me crazy. However, I do know the last box. And maybe that's it. The challenge for me is to live my life in light of the last box, without knowing the next.  Maybe, that's the secret to setting your heart on doing good. I don't know the next box. I don't know if the fruit of doing good will come in the next box or the ones after that. But I do know, I get Jesus. If I can just focus on that box and forget about the ones in between, if I can set my heart on Him. I think the doing good thing will come. 

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