The Story of Flash E. McManus and Sted E. Eddie
Last week we had a Kids Crusade. It was based on a Nascar theme and the highlight of each night was a race between Flash E. McManus and Sted E. Eddie. Flash thought he was all that. He thought he could take it easy and enjoy the adoration of his pit crew and fans. After all, he had earned the title Flash–not only for his speed, but for his style as well.
However, in the other lane was Sted E. Eddie. He wasn’t as flighty as Flash. He didn’t have a record of fast finishes but he had something that Flash didn’t have–sticktoitness. He took race car driving seriously. Even when the fans clapped and cheered, Eddie waved back to them, maintaining his solemn race day face.
The two competitors stepped into their cars. Their hands gripped the steering wheels. The crowd and engines roared. Their cars vibrated in their respective lanes. The starting flag signaled and they were off. Around and around they sped. After a couple of laps Flash thought he’d relax and sit a while. You see, he was Flash and he’d always won his races by a long shot. It wouldn’t hurt to get a drink, wave to the fans and share some laughs with his crew. “I’ve got it made,” he muttered.
Meanwhile, Sted E. Eddie stayed true to his name and continued the race. Just when Flash thought he could cinch another win, he jumped into his car, stomped on the gas and sped away to catch Eddie. But this time his clutch jammin’, foot slammin’ skills didn’t work. Sted E. Eddie was leading and Flash was in trouble. Sted E. Eddie saw his fellow racer lagging behind. He let Flash catch up to him and shouted, “Come on Flash, let’s cross the finish line together!” And they did.
Isn’t that what life’s race is all about?
Helping each other to the finish line?
He that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22b
Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NIV
Before the use of machinery, farmers used oxen or horses to pull a plow. If a plowman plows half-heartedly his rows will be shallow and crooked. His peers will scoff at his plowing skills. The soil will not be broken up and prepared as well as it could be to hold the seed. If seed is sown on poor ground–the result will be a poor crop. Therefore, a plowman must focus on the ground ahead of him and keep both hands on the plow to adjust the blade as it cuts through roots and clods of dirt. A plowman knows that once he starts, quitting is not an option because good soil will often reward him with a plentiful harvest.
Jesus compared a life of following him to that of a plowman. Just as a plowman can’t plow a deep, straight row while looking backwards, I can’t prepare the soil of my heart to receive the seed of His word if I’m looking back and hankering for the life I left behind. Also, quitting in the middle of plowing my heart, isn’t an option either. Oh, I may stop to rest. Catch my breath. I may even fall–but when I do I know I must get up again and . . . get back to plowing.
In Judges chapter 7 the Midianites, Amalekites and the eastern people were enemies of God’s chosen people, Israel. While encamped in a valley the bible describes them as a multitude thick as grasshoppers and their camels were like the sand on the seashore–too numerous to number. In spite of their vast number, it appears that an army of 32,000 Israelites could defeat any opposition. However, Gideon their leader, followed God’s command and told every soldier who was afraid to leave Mount Gilead. Get this– 22,000 men left, leaving Gideon with 10,000 (Judges 7:3). An army of 10,000 sounds like a lot but God said, “No, I want only those that pass the water test,” (Mary’s paraphrase–Judges 7:5,6). It’s hard to believe it, but 9,700 men failed the water test leaving Gideon with 300 chosen men to defeat a multitude. Gideon’s 300 men equipped themselves with a trumpet, a pitcher and a lamp. What? No armour? No swords? No arrows? For a mass of ruthless, idol-serving warriors? No. None of that.
So Gideon’s army took their positions, blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers and shouted “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” The startled enemy screamed. They ran. Amid the confusion they turned on each other–killing one another with their swords. Gideon called for back up and eventually Gideon’s forces captured & decapitated two Midianite leaders. He continued fighting until there was peace in the land and Israel enjoyed peace throughout Gideon’s lifetime because he yielded to God’s unconventional ways.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9 NIV