That’s not what boards are for.

March 26, 2011

There once was a man, we’ll call him Bill, walking down the road and he saw another, Joe sitting in his mule-drawn buggy, in the middle of the road, not moving.  He was yelling, swearing and beating the poor creature, trying to motivate him down the road.   Bill said, “You will never get that poor mule to do you bidding by being mean to it.  You need to treat all creatures with love, kindness and gentleness.”

Joe responded, “Well then, see if you can get him to move.”  Bill walked up to the beast, stroked its sweat-flecked neck, whispered something  loving into its ear, then moved back toward the buggy seat.  Before climbing in, he noticed a two-by-four lying in the back of the buggy.  He took it out, walked to the front of the buggy and with a vicious swing, struck the mule right on the nose.

Well, Joe hollered, “What do you think you’re doing?  You said to treat him with love, kindness and gentleness!!!”

Bill put the board back in the buggy, climbed into the seat and calmly replied, “First, you have to get their attention.”

One thing I’ve noticed in life, God doesn’t use the two-by-four until he has tried love, kindness and gentleness for a long, long time.  Yes sometimes we feel like we have been hit with a two-by-four, but that is, as often as not, one of our friends.

As my friend Sue (she doesn’t have a two-by-four) pointed out, when training a puppy, you need to get its undivide attention.  God want’s ours.  Pretty simple, really.  But God is gentle, loving and kind when trying to reach us.  The calamities and hardships that come our way are rarely God’s attention-getting device.  Goof-ball preachers will give God a bad name by claiming God’s judgment for every natural disaster that happens.  I wonder how those guys raise their own children. God has told us pretty specifically how and when His judgment on the evil will take place.  It’s not a tsunami or a tsuicide bomber.

Like a trainer teaching a puppy, or a parent teaching their child to walk, loving-kindness is God’s preferred method.

Hosea 11:3-5 (NIrV)

3 I taught Israel to walk.  I took them up in my arms.   But they did not realize I was the one who took care of them.   I led them with kindness and love.  I did not lead them with ropes. I lifted the heavy loads from their shoulders.  I bent down and fed them.

Luke 1:77-79 (NIrV)

You will tell his people how they can be saved.  You will tell them that their sins can be forgiven.  All of that will happen because our God is tender and caring.
His kindness will bring the rising sun to us from heaven.  It will shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.  It will guide our feet on the path of peace.”

Romans 2:4 (NIrV)

4 Do you make fun of God’s great kindness and favor? Do you make fun of God when he is patient with you? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is meant to turn you away from your sins?


So, there are two thoughts I like to leave you with this morning.  (remember His mercies are new every morning)

1.  You can look for God in your calamities, but in all likelihood, he did not cause it. He can use it, and will, if necessary, but with all the resources of heaven at his disposal, why would he use a two-by-four?

2.  If you are trying to train up a child in the way they should go, if you are trying to redirect a brother or sister who is wandering, or if you have a puppy, the smack on the head is not the first method to try.  Use the fruits of the Spirit first.  Second.  Third.  Fourth…..

I think you get the picture.


One Response to “That’s not what boards are for.”

  1. Sue said

    Awesome Post! My puppy pays best attention to calm, assertive leadership and of course, it doesn’t hurt to have his favorite treats in my pocket!

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