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BEARS…are viewed in so many ways. From cuddly Teddies to feared Grizzlies. Brown, black, white; no matter the color, they are still all bears. They have strange living habits, one being hibernation in the winter for some. But they all seem to like fish; plus other smaller animals and humans if you cross them. They walk and run on all four, plus stand on their hind legs. That’s when trouble can start. Their roars are spine tingling, and their claws are flesh blades. We all know that when you are being chased by a bear while with a friend, you don’t have to out run the bear, you only have to out run your friend.
I invite you to take a moment and click to view the short video my daughter took of her bear that visits them regularly up in the Berkshires. It even appeared at her back door recently. It loves their bird feeder. So do the squirrels. If you watch to the end you will see the extent it went to get all the goodies. Yes, bears do climb also. And they are not very tidy. ‘Just gimme the food’! Well, they don’t actually talk.
As I was watching this bear invade her property, eat someone else’s food, make a mess and walk away, I thought–isn’t that a lot like us? We do that to some extent from the time we are kids to even now as grown-ups. And it is really apparent in the way we relate to God and his kingdom. As fallen sinners, even redeemed ones, we tend to handle everything as if it is ours, or at least we have a right to it. “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine” attitude. These are the ‘bear facts‘. Before you think I’ve gone too far and are ready to stop reading, think for a moment. Could that really be me?
Gratefulness is the antidote to selfish behavior. How do we develop that in our lives when pride and greed are so prevalent in our minds and flesh? It all depends on our mindset. Them-ism vs. me-ism! Look at Jonah. “Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city (Nineveh). And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.” (That’s the key.) God was serving him, while he was brooding over the people of Nineveh possibly being spared and saved. Jonah was all into ‘me, myself and I.
Then God took the next step and sent a worm to destroy the plant. Then a violent east wind and the hot sun caused misery to Jonah’s head. He became angry and told God he wished he was dead. Jonah was happy to be grateful as long as it served him. But when trouble came, the pity party began. I’m sure none of us have ever acted like that.
Jesus spoke to this mindset and demonstrated the remedy in one Upper Room on the last night of his earthly life. The disciples were asked to secure the room and a meal would be prepared for everyone. When Jesus arrived, someone should have washed his feet. No one did. They relaxed at the table and Jesus did a strange thing. He took a towel, dipped it in water, washed the disciples feet, and told them what he had shown them.
‘When He had washed their feet, taking His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”‘ Later he said; “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Earlier, he had been very emphatic when two disciples were arguing over where they would sit in the kingdom. A little prideful and greedy don’t you think? Jesus said to them. “But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:26-28 NKJV). I imagine that cut to the quick. Ouch, do you feel it also?
We need to stop being ‘bearish’, climb down from our lofty tree, and start being grateful. When we consider others better than ourselves, our ‘bearish’ ways will disappear. The example is Christ, and him crucified, for you and me. Grace and mercy personified. Go out and demonstrate that toward others. And be grateful he has chosen you to serve as he demonstrated. Jesus basically said, ‘it will make all the difference in your life’. Evelyn, thanks for sharing your ‘bear friend’with us.
Copyright 2018
Bill C. Dotson

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