Sunday, December 9, 2018

Parable of Two Christmas Trees


Syndicated columnist Mike Royko once wrote about a poor couple shopping for a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve they went to a tree lot that was about to close. They couldn’t afford a nice tree so they asked if the owner would sell them two of the worst looking trees for $3. He agreed to the nominal price for the sad pair of sparse spruce.

On Christmas Day the tree lot owner walked by the couple's apartment and saw a beautifully decorated tree through the window. Overcome by curiosity, he knocked on the door to find out what happened, and then learned “the secret.” The couple explained how they took the two trees and tied them together with wire. Each had one very bare side, but when merged together they created a full tree.

Reflecting on his wife who had died six years earlier, Royko finished the column with these words: “So that’s the secret. You take two trees that aren’t perfect, that have flaws…that maybe nobody else would want. But if you put them together just right, you can come up with something really beautiful. Like two people, I guess.” (One More Time, Mike Royko, 2000, p.185).

This is a picture of God’s intent for marriage where “the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Two flawed people can make a better couple, not by arguing about their differences but by combining the best qualities of both people. Kind of like two Christmas trees, I guess.
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Taking a Big Chance


In 1991, a Cuban pilot named Orestes Perez defected to the United States in a Soviet-made MiG jet. He told his wife, “Remember, even if it takes years, I will come back for you and my children.” He went to the news media, the United Nations, President Bush, and even Mikhail Gorbachev for help to bring his family to U.S., but got none.

Finally, he took matters into his own hands in December 1992. Perez borrowed a twin-engine Cessna 310 and flew out of a Miami airport to Cuba. He knew he could get shot down by flying into Cuban airspace, so he flew low to avoid radar. He landed the plane in Cuba on a two-lane highway in the middle of traffic where his family was waiting for him. A lady had traveled to Cuba with a hand-written note of instructions for his family to be walking down the road in orange shirts. When he landed his wife and two small sons ran to the plane, jumped inside, and flew back to Miami.

Fidel Castro branded Perez as a traitor and condemned him to death. But Perez said, “It was one chance in a million to sneak into Cuba and land on a busy road between cars. The possibility of being captured or gunned down was a high risk. But I was dying every day without my family.”

Sometimes you must be willing to take a big risk to do what is right. You must put your life on the line to do what God calls you to do. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). Take the risk to follow Jesus. It’s worth it. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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