A poverty-stricken mother will deprive herself of food to feed her children. A dedicated student will go without sleep to acquire knowledge. And a patriotic soldier will give up home and safety to defend his country. But who for no sensible reason would deprive himself of the most important thing in life? Yet that is precisely what a non-Christian is doing by ignoring his spiritual welfare. He is robbing himself of the joy that only Jesus can give.
What would you think of a baseball player who played seven seasons without hitting the ball in fair territory? One of the best players of all time, Mickey Mantle, did the equivalent of that. His walks and strikeouts add up to more than 3,400 trips to the plate—seven seasons' worth.
The religion editor of a newspaper said that to know God's will on current issues we should "try to get into the mind of Jesus." He suggested that we should set aside differences in beliefs about His deity, His atonement, and His resurrection, and think of Him instead as a kind and good man.
Philip Melancthon, the great Reformation theologian, once said to his friend Martin Luther, "This day you and I will discuss the governance of the universe." What Luther said in response was unexpected: "This day you and I will go fishing and leave the governance of the universe to God."
Benjamin West was just trying to be a good babysitter for his little sister Sally. While his mother was out, Benjamin found some bottles of colored ink and proceeded to paint Sally's portrait. But by the time Mrs. West returned, ink blots stained the table, chairs, and floor. Benjamin's mother surveyed the mess without a word until she saw the picture. Picking it up she exclaimed, "Why, it's Sally!" And she bent down and kissed her young son.
Hearing our name spoken makes an impression on us one way or another. Whenever my mother asked in an authoritative voice, "Haddon William Robinson, what are you doing?" I knew she wasn't seeking information. But hearing "Haddon William Robinson" read in stately tones as I strode across the platform at graduation had a very different feel.
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed debating with people who represented religious cults. When they said that Jesus is not God or that another book has equal authority with the Bible, I had them read Scripture passages that proved them wrong. I felt a bit smug when I saw them eager to end the conversation. But I never led any of them to the Savior.
If there's anything we tend to despise, it's weakness. Strength, on the other hand, is regarded as praiseworthy. But the apostle Paul made a puzzling statement: "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
The faith and prayers of mothers can have a profound impact on the lives of their children. First Samuel 1 records Hannah's plea and God's answer in the birth of her son Samuel. And in a letter to Timothy, Paul referred to the faith of Timothy's mother, which I'm sure was often expressed in earnest prayer on his behalf. No wonder he was used of God in the early church.