"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox." -Proverbs 14:4 NASB
Unlike many people, I tend to write longhand, keeping a special journal for that sole purpose. It is sacrosanct. So when I couldn't get a replacement for my previous hard-backed journal last month, my writing routine went out of the window and my personal world turned upside down. I finally dug up a "pre-owned" book - a cast-off from our five children. Scribbled and half-torn pages - it 's a mess!
The fine hard bound, linen covered book I just filled is no longer available - it was a special purchase, the lady in the store told me. So this rough, gruddy-looking one will have to do. Of course, on your computer screen, you would never know. But that's not the point. It offends my creative sensibilities. Previously, I kept my journals meticulously, worried should they ever be damaged or destroyed. Yet they sit on my shelves as prize possessions, as lifeless trophies, and no one ever reads. Not even myself!
The messages in this new-to-me, hand-me-down scrappy book however, are different. They are the inspired first marks that I will later fashion - on my computer screen - into missiles that ultimately reach out of my personal domain and touch lives around the world. (Well, that is the intention, anyhow, and it sounds good!)
My journal is a rather fitting illustration of the way life can be. Left to my own devices, I try to travel the pathway of perfection - when it suits me. And in my make-believe, Perfect Model Christian World, few people ever benefit - least of all myself. You see, the simple fact escapes me that on Judgment Day, I will be examined for my fruitfulness, and not for my self-made perfection.
Let's face facts. Living for Christ - and being led by His Spirit - can be a messy, uncharted and challenging business; filled with the unexpected and the inconvenient. Maybe that's what the writer of Proverbs was hinting at in the verse I quoted above - but it's also rather like the scribble in my new journal book. It's the end result that counts. And I'm not just talking about words on paper, but rather, about our everyday lives. Fruitfulness v. Perfection.
So welcome to my messy personal journal-book. Through it, God began breaking the outer shell of my human perfection, which of course is nothing in His sight anyway. Little did I realize that in so doing, He was opening a window upon the world. Your world!
This edition of NetWord Copyright July 1998 by John E. Ruffle, London, England. All rights reserved. May be freely reproduced unedited with this notice intact. Publication in church magazines/newsletters welcome. Please notify the author of uses, thank you.
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