A Picture from Among the Talking Class of America: Straining at a Gnat and Swallowing a Camel

A Picture from Among the Talking Class of America: Straining at a Gnat and Swallowing a Camel


Chain sawyer

My uncle from Arkansas sent me a picture to illustrate his most recent accomplishment—passing a national safety certification test with the highest and perfect score. Although running a medium sized farm for 30 years with no major safety violations or events, my uncle’s record was not enough to “grandfather him in” for a safety certification. He was told he must pass a current national safety test, because his old methods were likely outdated and even misinformed.

Most of the test was identifying what was wrong with the picture. He recounted to me as follows:   “I know, I saw it right away too…. No safety glasses or hearing protection.   And I caught something else that is really important: he has no gloves on.   I might be up in age but I am still sharp as a tack.” He disclosed what gave him the winning edge. “Sticking out of the guy’s left back pocket was the biggest violation of all … A power bar high in transfats. Nobody else got that one.”

My freedom loving uncle was really trying to impress me how up-to-date he is with the latest safety and health precautions.   He explained:   “Freedom is the major key to our heralded national anthem, but there must be a few limitations for freedom’s sake.   The rules are there for our protection. But unlike when I was young, there are now ‘free expression zones’ which must be celebrated and are off limits to criticism. Had I criticized a ‘free expression zone,’ I would have automatically failed the test.”

In our world, wisdom often looks foolish and foolishness often sounds wise.

In Jesus’ terms, sometimes a nation’s proudest moral crusades are “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel” (Matthew 23:24). Many national level nit-picking crusades are really overcompensations for ignoring bigger issues.   Christians will be hated no less for remaining silent.   Lord let us not give in to the temptation to deny what we know through your gracious revelation, what we see in the vision of your Kingdom, or who we know as our great King and Savior. LH


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