2008-07-09 / Religion

'When the Wires Get Crossed'


(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

Gale and I might be a bit strange in our choices of television entertainment, but we really like the old comedies we used to watch when we were kids. Even though some of the ones that are now available on DVD are in black and white, we enjoy them. One of our favorites is Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. If you are not familiar with this crazy show from a few decades back, you can only fully appreciate what I have to say by finding an episode and watching it.

We watched an episode the other night in which a minor mistake by a receptionist on the military base resulted in a huge turn of events.

In this particular show, Gomer Pyle was feeling poorly and not up to what his drill instructor directed him to do. Thinking Private Pyle was faking, Sergeant Carter sent him to the doctor to get proof of his unfitness for duty. Pyle's check-up went fine, and as he expected, he only had a cold and was expected to be back to full strength in a couple of day. In the meantime, though, the doctor was called to check on an old horse on the base. As it turned out, the doctor found the horse to be in a terminal condition.

After examining both Private Pyle and the horse, two calls came in to the office- -one from Sergeant Carter to check on Pyle and the other from the owner of the horse. That was where the mix-up developed. As the doctor picked up the telephone which the receptionist said was the horse's owner, he commenced to give the person on the other end all the grim details of the poor prognosis, explaining that nothing could be done but to keep the patient comfortable by giving him complete rest, feeding him apples and keeping his hair brushed. This, of course, was not the horse's owner, but Sergeant Carter. Thinking his young Marine had some horrible and irreversible ailment, he transitioned from a grouchy sergeant into a top notch caregiver filled with tenderness and compassion as he refused nothing that Private Pyle wanted. It all changed, however, when Sergeant Carter realized what had happened. Everything returned to normal, and he was once again his grumpy old self.

This brings two things to mind. One is, for those receptionists who think you have little influence in the world, you might be more powerful than you realize! And secondly, even small mishaps in communications can result in tremendous mistakes.

While neither of these sound particularly spiritual, both should remind all of us who follow Jesus Christ that we have been given a responsibility that is far reaching and a clear message to communicate. If what we say and how we live do not match up, we might be communicating to sinners that the Christian way is inconsistent and no big deal. But it is a big deal of eternal magnitude. We cannot afford to cross the wires of communication in our Gospel proclamation. Souls are at risk, and we are responsible for conveying to them the one path to Heaven--faith in Jesus Christ. No matter what the popular opinion is or might become, Christ's statement regarding Himself remains steadfast: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"

John 14:6, NIV).

If you are a Christian, you have an eternally important job: communicating to the world you live in the authenticity of the way of Christ. So live a consistent life for Christ in order that there will be no miscommunication by you regarding the impact that the Gospel of Christ has on lives.

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