RELIGIOUS CHRONICLE: The night is coming | Columnists

Near my house there is a small shallow canal in a very rural area. Next to it is a dirt road that stretches for several kilometers through woods and farmland. Hawks, eagles, owls, coyotes and bobcats frequent the area. It is also one of those places where people get rid of stray animals and unwanted pets that have made themselves unwanted. I used to drive this dusty dirt road for solitude and quiet to find a place to sit, pray and study. It was not uncommon to see abandoned dogs and cats there. On one occasion while driving I came across, among all things, an old rooster standing in the road. Obviously used to people, he let me drive right beside him. I guess he had exhausted his welcome in someone’s backyard and had to start a new life somewhere else. “Now there’s a chicken that won’t spend the night here” I thought. He was in a pitiful state…all of his tail feathers had been completely pulled out, leaving a bloody stump covered in flies in the summer heat. “Sir” I said, “you won’t spend the night here in these woods…a coyote, bobcat, hawk or old owl are sure to have you for supper.” I found chickens to be rather lacking in the conversation department, and this particular rooster didn’t change my opinion. Nevertheless, thinking the least I could do was take him home, feed him, water him and put some balm on that hurt spot, I went out to pick him up, but with every step I took , he walked away. I took pity on the poor man and told him so. “Now listen Mr.”, I said, “you better come with me if you want to do another day, so stop fooling around and let’s go. It’s too hot for me to sit here debating with you.” Time and time again I tried to pick him up and each time he would balk and walk away. Every time I backed up to my vehicle he would come closer to me. It was like “he couldn’t make up his mind… go with me or take a chance. Finally, I decided, ‘OK, that’s enough wasted time’ and left. It may sound ridiculous, but when I left, I could have sworn he was watching me go. I felt sorry for this poor wretch and remembered that God had said, “I must do the works of him who sent me, while he is day: the night comes, where no one can work” [John 9:4] I hadn’t gotten far when the Lord spoke into my mind and spirit, saying ‘you know…many are like this rooster; they desperately need mercy and the forgiveness of sins in Christ. Without it, their situation is hopeless. Their day of judgment is approaching. But if, like so many countless millions before them, they are unwilling to take God’s hand, there is no other hand. Sometimes, just like this chicken, all you can do is drive off and leave them because they won’t submit. So preach and tell them about Jesus and let them make their decision. Let me worry about the results. Likewise, many “Christians” are also like this. They must submit to preaching, surrender their lives to the work of the Holy Spirit, and walk in the newness of life that changes everything. Once again, let us invite you to join us this week at Calvary “Independent” Baptist Church, where we study Isaiah and find the word of God fascinating and exciting! Call for directions and hours of service 903-729-5924.

Malcolm Harrison is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine. Find church services and columns online at calvarybdpalestine.com.

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