THE SLIDE RULE
A father took his two sons, ages seven and five to the playground. The seven-year-old was very proud as he was able to read the sign with all the rules to his brother. “Do not jump on the merry-go-round when in motion.” “Go down the slide while sitting only.” “Only one child on a swing at a time.” There were about twenty rules and the boys promised to obey them all, if the father would trust them and let them play without standing by. They said that they were too old to be watched and their friends would tease them calling them babies if Dad stayed. He made them promise to be good and obey the rules, and left them.
When it was time to get the children, the father decided to watch them at a distance for a while to see how reliable they were in following his instructions. He found that they obeyed most of the printed instructions. That is, all but one. They would get on the tall semicircular slide and go down head first or backward. Angrily, he picked up the children and took them over to the posted regulations and made his seven-year-old read them aloud again. Then he asked them what they had to say for themselves. The five-year-old answered immediately:
“Don’t be silly Dad, you’re the one who told us there’s no use for a slide rule anymore.”
Some of you younger readers will be asking, “What’s a slide rule?” I’m old enough to admit that I often used one in college rather than a calculator. Of course, I also typed my term papers on a portable typewriter, and was thrilled when “Pong” was invented! (you younger readers may need to talk to your parents to fully understand today’s message). Every year, more and more items become obsolete (or close to it). The current list of vanishing items includes dial-up Internet, photographs that you get developed, maps, landline phones, VCRs, and phone books.
Things have changed. There isn’t much use for a slide rule anymore, any more than we need an abacus to count. Some things don’t change, though. Numbers are the same, whether they are calculated on a slide rule or a scientific calculator.
It’s much the same way in religion. Our methods of teaching people may change. We may use television or radio (or e-mail!), methods that were unheard of 100 years ago. But the message cannot change. It must be God’s Word.
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.’ ” (I Peter 1:22-25a)
Have a great day!
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Romans 13:9
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary — the evil it does is permanent.
– Mahatma Gandhi
In many parts of the world the people are searching for a solution which would link the two basic values: peace and justice. The two are like bread and salt for mankind.
– Lech Walesa
from his Nobel Lecture
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