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Covered Bridge
Schencks Mill Covered Bridge
Lancaster County PA
(click to enlarge)

Wednesday August 2, 2006

"Covered Bridge Lessons"

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you," (Matthew 7:12). "In honor preferring one another" (Romans 12:10). "In humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

One of the pleasures of traveling in our area is driving through the covered bridge. Covered bridges are all one lane (at least all that I have ever seen).  When you approach a covered bridge you slow down to see if another car is in it or approaching it before you proceed through.

I recall a time when I was entering a covered bridge and another car was also entering from the opposite side.  With no means to communicate, we both backed up to yield and gestured for the other to come on through. Finally I passed on through as it was evident that he was going to "out-considerate" me! I rolled down my window as I passed him, smiled and expressed my thanks. It occurred to me that this was a small microcosm of how life should work.

My pastor shared a story that took place in Germany during the Cold War.  East Berlin was communist controlled and West Berlin was a free country.  One day some people in East Berlin took a truckload of garbage and dumped it on the West Berlin side.  The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing. But instead they took a truckload of canned goods, bread, and milk . . . and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side.  On top of this stack they placed the sign: "EACH GIVES WHAT HE HAS."

Many of us learned the first daily text as a child. "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you."  It is often called the "Golden Rule".  Today I consider the opening statement "In everything."  If we genuinely practice it in the minor things as well as the major things in life we do well.

Consideration is the practice of the golden rule in the small details of life; beginning in the home and extending to all relationships. What if the billions of personal interactions that take place all over the globe today were truly characterized by this rule? Well that would certainly bring about world peace but in reality that just isn't going to happen until the return of the Prince of Peace.

But by God's transforming grace you and I can do something in our little corner of the world. Today in your speech, in your body language and in your actions keep this attitude foremost in your heart; "In humility consider others better than yourselves."

What a great key the apostle Paul gives us in the two supplemental texts.  May God help us to practice them!  The word for "preferring" means "to lead the way for others, to show deference."  What if, for one day, the world would operate like this?  What if, in checkout lines all over the country people said, "No, please, I insist, you go first."  What if, instead of honking and shaking their fists, drivers would wave the other driver to go first?  What if, in marriage, partners would really look out for each other's interests before considering their own desires?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, in our human nature we want the best seat available, the first choice, the biggest piece, the first in line, and on and on it goes.  The desire to serve self before serving others is an ongoing battle.  Thank you for those who walk in humility, giving preference to others, rather than choosing to please themselves first.  They serve as human examples of the attitude You exemplified when You, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to hold onto.  Instead You took on the very nature of a servant and became God in the flesh.  In Your human role You showed us the greatest example of humility as You related to people from day to day and ultimately when You laid down Your life for us.  Thank You, Jesus, for Your greatest act of humility.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  The Daily Encouragement message takes me back to a time in 1988 when I was in a terrible hurry at the "Bi-Lo" supermarket in St. Marys, PA.  I needed to pick up only a couple of items for a church dinner on a Wednesday evening so I thought I could make a quick stop on the way.  I was in charge so I needed to be there before others arrived.

I parked in the closest parking spot and ran into the store.  I quickly got a cart and hurriedly steered my way through the aisles (when I use the word, "steered" it's the kind of steering that leads even the biggest men to scurry out of my path - they see my intense look and my rapid footwork).  I was making good time until I got into a traffic jam in an aisle that blocked me both ways.  It was so slow I felt like I was crawling.  My anxiety grew and my frustration worsened.  I could see ahead that it was two "old women" and I was only about 33 years old at the time, so I had no time for being thoughtful about the aging situation. 

FINALLY I was able to pass these very slow shoppers and decided to look back to figure out why they were so terribly slow.  You can imagine how utterly humiliated I was when I realized that the one woman holding onto the shopping cart was blind.   The other lady was guiding the cart as she loaded items for the blind woman.  It is an experience that I will never forget and I learned a great deal about feeling that my time was more important than anyone else's in the store.

Witness aid
My brother, who is also a minister of the Gospel, uses this card as a creative witnessing aid. Click here to turn the card over and read another message!

Final note: This morning as I was preparing this message I asked Brooksyne to quote the Golden Rule from memory and she said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  That's the way I learned it as well but I was surprised that I couldn't find it this way in any standard version. Any thoughts about this wording?

In today's podcast the background music is titled "Humility" and was written and performed by my former pastor, Jim Gambini.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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