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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mascot Roller Mill, Lancaster County , PA
The Ressler home and Mascot Roller Mill on Stumptown Road in Lancaster Country.

"The Blessing Of Conscientiousness"

Message Summary: Are we conscientious of all that God has entrusted to us? Do we devote ourselves to living properly, sharing generously, and dedicated to God's service?

Note: Due to a very busy schedule a podcast was not prepared for this message

"But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, my master! For it was borrowed'" (2 Kings 6:5).

Jim and Dorothy Schmidt are friends we met many years ago at a conference in Boston. They lived most of their lives in Ocean City, New Jersey but recently moved to Lancaster County. This last Saturday we joined them for dinner and heard a humorous yet instructive story.

They are both active in various forms of ministry including taking mission trips. Once they were visiting China with another couple and came across a street vendor selling a novelty pen I would sure like to get my hands on. As a practical joke when you pressed the click button it would give you a shock, not enough to hurt you but you sure got a surprise jolt. The couple they were travelling with apparently saw some potential in the pens as gag gifts so they told the Chinese lady who was selling them, "We'll take 25 pens".

The Schmidt's chuckled as they recalled how the Chinese lady insisted on testing each of them before she sold them. They looked on while she vigorously went through the quality assurance testing, jerking each time the shock jolted her!

What an example of conscientiousness, a quality that seems to be diminishing  in our age. "Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being thorough, careful, or vigilant. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well. Conscientious people are efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally organized and dependable." (Wikipedia)

Today's Scripture verse provides an example of conscientiousness by an unnamed prophet. Elisha's school of prophets had gone down near the Jordan and were building a place to live. It was a cooperative effort with each cutting down a tree for the project (sort of like a barn-raising).

Axe head
One of them had an accident which most all of us who've worked with tools can easily imagine. As he was cutting down a tree the axe head came off! The unnamed prophet's reaction is informative and instructive. Initially he was surely relieved that it didn't fly off and hit himself or another worker!

But he looked on with angst as the axe head fell into the water and sunk. Very distressed he cried out to Elisha, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed". Elisha, sensitive to the worker's dilemma, recovered the axe head by throwing in a stick in the spot where the axe head sunk which caused the axe head to float in the water (something iron doesn't do naturally!).

Today I want to consider the unnamed prophet's sense of personal conscientiousness, responsibility and stewardship expressed in the phrase, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed." He was distressed that he had lost something belonging to another.

The prophet's distress over losing the head of the borrowed axe is commendable but let us consider today, in a greater and more extensive sense that which God has entrusted into our care! Are we conscientious of all that God has entrusted to us? Do we devote ourselves to living properly, sharing generously, and dedicated to God's service?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may we be found conscientious, trustworthy, and devoted in our relationship to you and to others. We pray you will help us to live conscientious lives. We want to learn, seek to understand and effectively communicate the teachings of Scripture so that we prove to be faithful stewards of all that is entrusted to us. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Longer I Serve Him"  Video 
Greater Vision

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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