IS COMPASSION DEAD?

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MALCOLM BUTLER: The Undrafted Rookie!

They call him an undrafted rookie!  But, as an undrafted rookie, Malcolm Butler was prepared for the one moment that would catapult him into notoriety.  It didn’t matter that few knew his name or that he hailed from humble beginnings.  His was not a direct route to the NFL.  His promise was not obvious or noted.  But, Malcolm Butler was ready when opportunity was given him to come forth out of obscurity to contribute to the game and help his teammates on to victory.  His background didn’t matter, his size didn’t matter, his rookie status didn’t matter, and it didn’t matter that he was never drafted.

What mattered was that Malcolm Butler was there and he was ready!  His reaction to the initial reality of it all suggested that he was profoundly thankful that his ‘vision’ had become his reality.  Going in, he was not the expected game changer or potentially the most valued, the star, or the team’s branded name.  He only saw himself contributing to make a difference and was ready to play.  And his humble spirit is now the observation of proud family and friends from his home state of Mississippi, the University of West Alabama, Hinds Community College and countless others who’d never heard of him.  But, they know him now.  The masses know that Malcolm Butler caught the interception that sealed the game for the World Champion New England Patriots.

“Malcolm Butler’s Journey From ‘Good Employee’ at Popeye’s to Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX Hero” is the headline in the Washington Post.  Now that is notoriety!  But, reading the article, one will soon discover that it is also testimony.  A testimony of struggle, disappointment, fortitude, determination, endurance and hard work.  Simply stated, it is amazing.

Many of us may have a similar opportunity to make a difference somewhere in life, perhaps not with so much coverage by the news media outlets, but a significant contribution to an individual or even to the world longing for something good, authentic or life altering.  That one contribution can make things better at a key moment in time and have far reaching consequences.  The question for many of us is simple, will we be ready when the opportunity presents itself?

And what is readiness?  It is fitness and form for making significant contributions.  It is steadfastness when opportunity seems aloof and afar off.  It is focus upon a vision or calling that may not draw attention or labeling for the ‘first draft.’  It is humility within that appreciates small things that may prepare one for the possibility of greater things.  It is working hard at every task and giving your best to every attempt at making a difference.  And when the time comes, you’re in place prepared to do or achieve what others may never imagine.

This 24 year old has an amazing attitude toward the simple things of life that have grown and developed through struggle.  Things haven’t been ideal, they’re still not ideal!  But, Malcolm Butler’s name is indelibly marked upon NFL history and in our conversation because of his readiness for the big game.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”  I Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV

Be ye also ready!

A PUPPY’S TESTIMONY

At about 8 weeks old, Koatch, pictured here, has learned a lesson that many adults struggle with in this Christian journey, following the Master!

This little pup will not be left behind.  He has had an obstacle course of bushes, shrubs, grasses, steps and fast walks, and he still keeps up.  When necessary, he runs with all of his might, he will not be left behind!  He is tough!

His young life is more secure keeping close to his master.  He seems to take pride in crouching under his master and lying as close as possible with a moan as if to say that this is a place of security and comfort.  He cries when to left by himself.

Should it be this way in following Christ?  He says to us, ‘follow Me!’  Keeping up and not losing sight of Him is a secure place that offers new life and knowledge for the destiny that He leads us on.  Staying in focus upon the Master gives us confidence in a peaceful place in this journey . . . He knows where we’re heading!

The key is in learning how to follow.  Whatever you do, keep up and don’t lose sight of the Master!   Prayer, study and meditation in His Word, and obeying what He has said are sure ways to follow the Master.  Those are the elements of focus for this journey.  Hear Him when He speaks, ‘focus your eyes upon Him,’ obey Him in the things that He has said . . . that is how to follow and keep up.  Through every condition, circumstance and situation, following Him where He leads will keep us in the paths of righteousness and protected from snares or temptations of life.

That’s what Koatch does!  He runs with his eyes on the master’s feet.  He listens to every step and command, and tries to obey every command.

Every time he has to climb a steep or incline, he has the benefit of a master who waits on to make sure he makes it.  Every time he appears to lose sight of his master waits for him to regain sight and find his way.  Imagine, God has His eye on you too!

Rejoice in the hope offered us by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, power, and wisdom for this journey.  He keeps us close in the race to not only follow Jesus, but to also endure it until its end.  Make every effort to hear Him when He speaks, focus upon Him, and obey His every command.

That is what this 8 week old puppy has learned in order to survive with his own tender life!

MOVING ON UP TODAY

The daffodils are pushing up . . . hurriedly and with determination to blossom forth with their beauty and presence in God’s created fields.  It is deliberate with the slightest hint of warm weather!  These bulbs are pushing upward to bloom.

Nature’s progress is ever changing with the seasons that come and go annually like clockwork.  Sometimes each season may be extreme in its strength and influence upon the conditions of the atmosphere and land mass.  They may have interruptions of warmth during the cold season and cold in the warm season.  But other elements of nature respond to what they feel and their nature dictates during these interruptions.  For these daffodils, its nature says it is time to push forth with new life to blossom with rich color, aroma, and classic beauty.

There is something in each of us that moves upon us to stand to contribute with rich and powerful meaning what has been planted deep within our souls.  There is a time for us to step into our destiny, to realize our possibility on a higher plane than our job responsibilities, or a deeper level than financial obligations, or even beyond our interactions and connections with family and friends.  Something should engage us and move us to a place of purpose and meaning in life that will offer us our greatest feeling of fulfillment and joy.

This drive within comes from something bigger than we are and more noble than we can conceive within our own minds.  The motivation is stronger than the constraints of environment or the limitations of conditions and circumstance.  This strength reaches beyond the reservations of our own hearts or boundaries of our minds to overcome shortcomings, feelings of insufficiency, or inabilities.  In fact, this urgency to produce or to contribute is divine . . . and we cannot help ourselves.

The daffodils, at the slightest hint of warmth, are decidedly and anxiously moving with deliberate velocity to bloom in a new season.  It may be a bit early, but whose to say that they won’t survive.  This drive is divine and a part of their nature.

What is there driving you onward and upward?

“I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12b NKJV