When I was a teenager, our youth pastor and other people who talked to our youth group told us this: "Be careful where you go and what you do. You don't want to be embarrassed when Jesus returns."
The Bible tells us there is a wisdom that is foolish and a foolishness that is wise (1 Cor. 1:20-25). There is a gain that is loss and a loss that is gain (Phil. 3:7-9). And there is an exalted way that leads downward and a humble way that leads to exaltation (Phil. 2:5-11).
After 60 years and 6 million visitors, the zoo in Milan, Italy, was shut down. Animal-rights activists had protested that conditions in the zoo were unfit for the animals caged there. But when the animals moved out, homeless people moved in. Until city leaders intervened, hundreds of them began sneaking into the cages under the cover of darkness, looking for a night's rest.
While I was teaching at a Christian college, a talented young man pushed his way into my life. He needed one more course to graduate, so he decided that I should give him an independent study in writing. He would be everlastingly grateful if I would just do this—even though it required extra work on my part. The college dean agreed to the idea because of the young man's abilities.
Part of the training to be a US Secret Service agent includes learning to detect counterfeit money. Agents-in-training make a thorough study of the genuine bills—not the phonies—so that they can spot the fake currency immediately because of its contrast to the real thing.
The woman explained the rules to the Tempter. She and her husband could eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except for the special one in the middle. Just touching it, she said, would bring death.
Many years ago a magazine related the story of a young man by the name of Ben who had a habit of grumbling. He complained about the weather, found fault with his family and friends, and allowed the smallest things to upset him.
While I was leading a seminar, I passed around a loaf of unsliced bread and asked each person to respond to it. One squeezed it and said, "It's fresh." Another commented, "It smells delicious." Still another noted, "It looks nourishing."