I came across this story called both, “The Guest” and “The Stranger.” For today’s culture, I would replace TV with SmartPhone, but you get the idea. I believe it’s worth a read:
“A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller–he could weave the most fascinating adventures, mysteries and comedies. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.
He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies.
The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up–while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories–and go to her room and read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. My Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.
Profanity was not allowed in our house–not from us, our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted.
Dad didn’t permit alcohol in his home. But the stranger enlightened us to other ways of life. He often offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages. He made cigarettes look appealing & cigars manly.
He talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I believe it was only by the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed my parents’ values. Yet he was never asked to leave.
More than 30 years have passed since the stranger moved in. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad now, as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents’ home today, I would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him and watch him. His name? We always called him TV.” – Author unknown
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” – Gal. 5:6 (NIV)
When the Bible says something like “the only thing that counts is.. ” I tend to take notice.
“that counts” (“availeth any thing,” KJV) is isxýō = strength that “gets into the fray” (action), i.e. engaging the resistance. For the believer, it refers to the Lord strengthening them with combative, confrontive force to achieve all He gives faith for. That is, facing necessary resistance that brings what the Lord defines as success.
Wow. You may want to read that again. Slow down and REALLY read that.
Therefore, if you want to get into the mix and succeed: it takes FAITH revealed by LOVE.
Don’t forget that. It’s the only thing that counts.
Spurgeon called this one of the supreme sayings of Scripture. That it rises like an Alpine summit, above all ordinary heights of speech. That it pierces the clouds and glistens in the light of God. That it is one of the most sublime utterances of the human mind. He also called it a rare flower of rich almighty grace.
Can we join with Job in faithful confidence of the Most High as he said:
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” – Job 13:15.
Jesus says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). That “draws” in Greek is “helkó” and means: DRAGS. That seems more accurate, doesn’t it?! Sometimes a parent has to drag his or her kid away from the busy street because they don’t know how dangerous it is. Thank God for His divine dragging!