A man who had been having problems with an unreasonable neighbor finally had to defend himself legally against unwarranted and dishonest actions. He commented, "I have tried to follow Romans 12:18, but in a case like this I thank the Lord for the 'escape clause' He put in this text. It does not say that we have to live peaceably with all men under every circumstance —for even the Lord recognizes that with some people this is not possible."
Why do people think they are getting away with something just because others are not aware of it? Do we forget that there is One who sees and hears all we do and say? If we don't want people to know, how is it that we are so unconcerned about the fact that God knows?
Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), the great preacher, asked the operator of a local livery stable for the best horse he had. Brooks explained, "I am taking a good friend for a ride and I want the very best for the occasion." As the livery man hitched up a horse to a buggy, he said, "This animal is about as perfect as a horse could be. It is kind, gentle, intelligent, well-trained, obedient, willing, responds instantly to your every command, never kicks, balks, or bites, and lives only to please its driver." Brooks then quietly said to the owner, "Do you suppose you could get that horse to join my church?"
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds cried out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Mt. 21:9). Later that same week, however, a mob called for His crucifixion (27:22). Few people recognized Him as the one Isaiah described as Wonderful (Isa. 9:6).
A man was repeatedly robbed by burglars who entered his house through a window while he was asleep. He finally solved his problem by using three things. He called them a twinkler, a tinkler, and a tattler. The twinkler was a candle that he kept burning in the window all night. The tinkler was a bell attached to the window. And the tattler was a small, noisy dog. Because of these, the burglars were kept away.
In a book written in 1696, I found these statements: "Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a soaking rain to the house. We know not there are such holes in the roof till the shower comes, and then we see it drop down here and there. Perhaps we did not know that there were such unmortified cuts in our soul till the storms of affliction came, then we found unbelief, impatience, and fear dropping down in many places."
At the close of a meeting where the topic was world evangelism, a young woman turned to an older believer and admitted, "I just can't get interested in missions!" "Well, dear," said the elderly woman, "it's just like getting interest in a bank. You have to put in a little something first or you'll never have any! The more you put in, the more you'll get out of it. Try it."