No. 1255



One time I heard a story about a little boy who crawled under a big tent, thinking he was getting into the circus free, but when he got inside it turned out to be a revival meeting. Life is filled with surprises and disappointments of various kinds, but this is one facet of life which makes it so interesting. When you think about it, I believe you will agree that much of the drama of life would be destroyed if this were not the case.
From my perspective, it would be wonderful if there was always something good, exciting and worthwhile waiting just around the next bend in the road or in the next days’ mail or the next phone call, but we know this is not reality. Life is made up of good days and bad days, happiness and sorrow, and success and failure. Life is just this way.
We can, however, make personal choices to insure that the law of averages will work to our advantage to have more good days than bad days, more happiness than sorrow, and more success than failure. In other words, it’s not what life does to us, it’s what we do to life that counts. The reason this is true is because of the natural law that controls everything in the universe, called “cause and effect.” If we take care of the causes, in most cases the effects will take care of themselves.
We read in the Bible in Galatians 6:7, “Be ye not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Most of us believe this and know it’s true, but unfortunately we do not always base our actions on this great truth. Rather, we permit other factors to influence our decisions and, for the time being, forget that sooner or later we will reap the consequences of our actions.
Since most of our important values and habits are established when we are young, I felt the following story might be worth thinking about. It seems a farmer had a rebellious son. This youngster was forever getting into trouble. Not serious trouble, just things that were out of character for the way he was raised. Finally, one day the father suggested to his son: “Son, every time you do something that you know is not right, I want you to take a hammer and drive a nail in the front door of our barn.
Every so often during the next few weeks, the father would hear the tat-tat-tat of the hammer, as the son was driving nails in the barn door. This went on for several months, until the barn door was almost completely covered with nails. At this time, the farmer made another suggestion. He said, “Son, now every time you do something that you know is right, I want you to pull a nail back out of the door.”
At this point, the son took his father’s suggestion and, little by little, the nails began to come back out of the door. However, they didn’t come back out nearly as fast as they went in. Finally, one day when the nails were all out, the son said to his father, “Father, I see what you mean. I thought I would be happy when I got all the nails out, but I didn’t realize all the scars that would be left on the door.”
I hope you can see the point of this story, because while outside influences can help us change our values, attitudes and habits, in most cases the consequences of our actions will still be there. Everything we do in life has a consequence, and there’s always a price that must be paid. If you really want to do something that will make a difference in the lives of some young people, why not sit down and explain this principle to them. It could make a world of difference down the road.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)