GRASPING THE WIND OR HOLDING THE TRUTH
Suggested Reading: Ecclesiastes 4-6
Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).
GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.
Key Verse: Ecclesiastes 5:2
Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
In Nelson Mandela’s book, Conversations with Myself, he wrote, “Spiritual weapons can be dynamic and often have an impact difficult to appreciate, except in the light of actual experience in given situations. In a way they make prisoners of free men, turn commoners into monarchs, and dirt into pure gold. To put it quite bluntly, Duggie [his friend], it is only my flesh and blood that are shut up behind these tight walls.” According to some of those who visited Mandela in prison, he read his Bible daily. No doubt he read the words of our key verse about “words.” I’ve read Mandela’s words at his trial before his 27 years in prison. He was very intelligent then, but after he emerged from prison, he was not only smart, but very wise with his words. Thousands of hours in a private and secret place can develop wisdom. Ecclesiastes is part of what is known as “Wisdom Literature.”
Mandela and John Bunyan both had prison experiences. In 1678 Bunyan wrote “Pilgrims Progress” while in prison. The word “vanity” appears eight times in today’s reading. Bunyan tells us of two men, Christian and Faithful, who visit “Vanity Fair.” Here they are mocked for their desire to proceed on to the “Celestial City.” Faithful is executed here and proceeds to Heaven. Christian is remanded to prison but escapes and proceeds on his journey. For a good summary of this story click here and check out the fourth paragraph.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, as I meditate on the words I’ve read today about “the tears of the oppressed,” (4:1b) and seeing “the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness” (5:8a), I pray that the example of a Nelson Mandela would challenge me to change as he did during his 27 years of prison, then to do my best to change my world first, and then to help where I can to make change for the better in the world around me. I pray this in the Name of the One, who more than any other, changed everything…Jesus Christ! Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I believe I’ve picked up in my reading of Mandela that for his call to political change, he made a deliberate decision to be private in his expressions of his personal faith. He does put in his book, Conversations With Myself, the fact that he taught Sunday School at one time, and he reflects on his education in Wesleyan Methodist schools. He also takes considerable space in his book to tell the story of “The Trial of Christ by Pontius Pilate” (pages 223 – 227). Jesus obviously had a major impact on Mandela’s life. The state funeral may not reflect this, but I’m told that the private family service will be much more indicative of Mandela’s faith.
I’ve been asked to comment about Mandela on the 100 Huntley Street telecast today. The segment should be available to view online by this afternoon here. I want my life to be about “holding the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15, some translations), not as is repeated several times in today’s reading, “grasping for the wind.”
Yours for grasping God’s eternal truths and never letting go, holding and speaking the truth in love,
P.S. The name of one of the entities that make up the Crossroads Family of Ministries is “Tricord.” This name is from Ecclesiastes 4:12b, “A threefold chord is not easily broken.” Click here for information about Tricord (try clicking various items in the “Catalogue” at the top, such as “Documentaries”). Also, in Pilgrim’s Progress, “Evangelist” catches up with “Christian” and “Faithful” and shares the Gospel. I suggest that if you’ve not watched the latest TV special by Evangelist Billy Graham that you take time to (click here). Watch, and share this with others. This is Billy’s call to Christ this year on his birthday…the same age at which Mandella passed away, 95.