Sunday, June 2, 2002

Keeping What's Yours

by Blake Cromwell

It is distressing to constantly hear that we are still losing the war against drugs, especially among our children. Reports indicate that, as a nation, we have suffered a severe setback in recent years. What progress we made in the 90s now seems to be lost.

It seems the moral landslide is all around us — higher divorce, children being abused, gambling addictions, teen suicide, are only a few of the signs of decay. In the 50s the main reasons high school students reported to the principal’s office were for talking back to the teacher or not throwing trash in the waste basket.

We have much ground to recover, and losing ground once in our possession is always discouraging. But it is far from unusual.

The Old Testament recounts an occasion when David and his warriors returned from battle to find that while they were away, another enemy had invaded their unguarded camp and made off with everything —wives, children, and livestock.

Understandably distraught over their great loss, David prayed and God said He would help. But David and his men would be required to fight for the return of their loved ones. Ultimately, the enemy, and all of David’s possessions were located. A battle ensued that lasted all day and all night. When it was over, the people of God were completely victorious.

I like that story. Satan has come to rob, kill and destroy, but it is always encouraging to see how God comes to the rescue for His people.

But there is also a certain sadness to the story. After all, did David really gain anything? In real terms, we would have to say “no.” Yes, he and his men got their wives, children and possessions back. But think of all the energy expended to simply get back what was already theirs. All because they failed to protect that which was already theirs while they focused on other conquests.

We now face the same dilemma with the war on drugs. Having made progress, suddenly we have lost ground, and will now as a country presume to spend substantial energy and money to recover our recent losses.

In all of this, though, there is a good life lesson.

Think of someone you know (it may be yourself) who lost his or her health because they wouldn’t pay attention to good nutrition or who smoked or damaged themselves with alcohol or drugs. Now they must endure pain and costly medical payments while attempting to recover the good health they once had.

Or think of the good child that goes bad because of neglect. Certainly he can make a turn around, but it usually takes a lot of tears and major sacrifices to return him to the place he once was.

You may recall an old FRAM Filter commercial that demonstrated the costly affects of an abused engine. The spokesperson reminded us, “You can pay a little now, or a lot later.”

This is that way it is with the spiritual training of our children. Isn’t it easier to take them to Sunday school now, than visit them in jail later? Isn’t it easier to read the Bible with your children now, than reading the 12 Steps to alcohol and drug recovery with them later? Isn’t it easier to pray with them now, than to have to pray for their return after they’ve run away?

Think about it. Regaining lost ground takes more energy and work then a little preventative maintenance. The Pastors in the Kings County would love to see you in church this weekend and help you to hold onto what you already have.

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