Devotion in Motion: Are you boiling yet?

1 ¶ “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. ~ Matthew 7:1,2 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

I’m sure by now your preacher has told the story about how to boil a frog. If you want to boil a frog, you don’t throw him into a pot of boiling water. He’ll figure out what is about to happen and he’ll jump out. Instead, to boil a frog, you put him in a pot of cold water. Then you set the pot on the stove and heat the water very slowly. Since the frog is a cold-blooded animal, his body temperature will gradually adapt to his surroundings. He won’t realize that the temperature is rising degree by degree, and he’ll sit at the bottom of the pot until he is boiled to death.

And I’m sure you recognize the point of the illustration. We are the frogs, and the water is the culture in which we live. Little by little, unclean things are allowed to come into our lives. Maybe we don’t embrace them at first, but we tolerate them. Soon we are all living in a society that is “boiling” with uncleanness, and we didn’t even see even see the changes taking place. We painlessly adapted because the change was so gradual.

This principle presents some challenges in our daily lives. Since we’re immersed in American culture, how can we see how it is changing? One of the best ways I have found is by asking missionaries when they come home on furlough. Usually, the missionary has been immersed in another culture for 3 to 5 years. When they come to the U.S. for a visit, the changes that have transpired in their absence are very obvious to them.

Last summer I asked a foreign missionary what changes he saw since his last U.S. visit. He said, “People don’t do as much. They spend a lot more time watching other people do things that they should be doing themselves. People aren’t cooking, but they are watching the Food Network. Instead of being outside playing games with their kids, they are inside watching ‘Wipeout.’ And Americans spend a lot more time judging the works of others instead of doing good works themselves. They never sing a song for Jesus, but they can tell you how the singer on American Idol messed up. They never teach a Bible lesson, but they are laughing at the Sunday school teacher on YouTube who made a mistake. The whole country is made up of evaluators who feel it is their task to pass judgment on the quality of everything they see. They are expert judges. But they don’t—or can’t–do much of anything themselves.”

There is a lot of truth in what the missionary said about us. And most of these changes are brought about by our widespread use of technology. Even though we aren’t always accomplishing anything in our time spent in “virtual pursuits,” our electronic devices make us feel like we’re being productive. But we must break away from this illusion of usefulness and realize that the smallest deed is greater than the greatest thought or intention. This week, let’s remember what the Scriptures command of us. We’re called to be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22 NKJV

john and susan cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church. The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to