Take care of others – love your neighbour

I’d like to share a wise story that I read a few weeks ago that will encourage us to look out for the needs of others.

Once upon a time, there was a mouse who lived on a farm with a chicken, pig and cow. The mouse lived in a hole in the wall of the farm. One day, he looked through the crack in the wall and saw the farmer and his wife opening a package.

“I wonder what is in the package,” the mouse thought.

To his horror, the mouse saw the farmer take out a mousetrap from the wrapping paper.

The mouse ran to the chicken, crying, “It’s a disaster! There’s a mousetrap in the house! I’m going to be killed!”

The chicken clucked and said to the mouse, “I know you are very worried about the mousetrap but the mousetrap will not harm me. I can’t be bothered about your problem.”

The mouse turned to the pig and said, “It’s a disaster! You’ve got to help me! There’s a mousetrap in the house, can you help me get rid of the mousetrap?”

The pig snorted and said to the mouse. “I’m not bothered by the mousetrap. The mousetrap cannot harm me. Why should I help you?”

Desperate, the mouse turned to the remaining animal on the farm. “Dear Mr. Cow, the farmer has bought a mousetrap. I’m in danger of getting killed! Please help me.”

The cow mooed and said, “Why are you hassling me about the mousetrap? The mousetrap doesn’t affect me. Go bother someone else!”

The mouse returned to his home in the wall, feeling frightened and depressed. He turned to the only being who could save him – God. The mouse said a prayer, “Dear God, nobody seems to care about me. I’m scared that the mousetrap will lead to my death. Please rescue me, You are my only hope!”

It was late in the night when the mouse uttered his prayer. He heard a large “clack”! The mousetrap had caught something.

The farmer’s wife went out to see if the mousetrap had caught the mouse. It was dark and the farmer’s wife couldn’t see clearly what the mousetrap had caught. Unbeknownst to her, the mousetrap had snapped on the tail of a poisonous snake. The venomous snake bit the farmer’s wife.

The farmer quickly rushed his wife to the hospital. They treated her for the poisonous bite and she returned home. However, when she was home, she still had a fever. Thinking that some chicken soup would make her feel better, the farmer took his axe and killed the chicken to make some chicken soup.

However, the farmer’s wife didn’t get better. Her friends, relatives and neighbours came to visit her, to comfort her in her illness. The farmer had to feed this large crowd of people, so he took his knife and butchered the pig.

Sadly, the farmer’s wife did not get any better. She died. Many people came to attend her funeral. There were so many people that the farmer decided to slaughter the cow to feed the huge crowd that had come to attend the funeral.

The mouse looked at how the farmer had killed the chicken, pig and cow. The mouse was the only animal on the farm that survived after the farmer had bought the mousetrap.

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I like this story because it’s a good illustration about how we should not be selfish, looking only after our own interests, but we should show concern for the needs of others. Jesus tells us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Our needs are all inter-connected, and many times when we help others, we benefit. Also, the story shows that when we refuse to help those who come to us with their needs, we may suffer harm for that down the road.

Do not despise small beginnings

God has called us to dream big, to achieve big things for Him. But a lot of times we look at what we have, our abilities and resources, and we think we can’t do much for Him because what we have is so little.

But let me encourage you. Don’t be afraid to start pursuing your big dream because of your lack of resources. When God calls us to pursue our dreams, at the start of the journey, He works with what we have available and what we have is often small. Though we lack strength and ability, God tells us not to be discouraged, to not despise small beginnings.

As it says in the Bible – “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)

When we face the pursuit of a large goal, we often encounter fear. We’re afraid even to get started when we see how little we have. So we are tempted to settle where we are and to live mediocre lives. But God tells us to not be intimidated by our lack of resources. We need to take the step of faith and start on the journey of pursuing our dreams, trusting that God will multiply our resources.

The Bible is full of stories of how God transformed lives of believers who trusted Him with the little that they had.

Moses had only a staff, but God used that staff to help part the Red Sea.

David was just a shepherd boy, but God chose him from among his more qualified brothers to become the King of Israel. Later, God also helped David to slay the giant Goliath, with just a sling and some small stones.

Elijah met a widow who only had bowl of flour and a jar of oil during a great famine in the land. The widow was down to her last portion of food, but Elijah promised that the flour and oil will not run until the famine was over. Sure enough, God miraculously supplied Elijah and the widow through their small offering of oil and flour and kept replenishing the food, helping Elijah and the widow survive the famine.

Another great example of God working with our small beginnings is with the account of the feeding of the 5000 by Jesus. Our Lord was faced with a massive hungry crowd of 5000 people. He asked his disciples to feed them. The disciples, instead of saying outright that it was impossible, simply in faith offered what they had. They offered him just five loaves and two fishes. But Jesus was able to multiply their resources and feed the huge crowd with just the small amount of loaves and fishes. In the same way, though we have little resources, God can still use what little we have to achieve great things.

So don’t be discouraged if you have to start small. In the Bible it says – “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be”! (Job 8:7 NIV)

A lot of times God works through those who start small in order to show that the success from the venture comes from Him and not from human strength. It says in the Bible – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit”, says the Lord (Zech. 4:6)

In 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Paul writes about how God uses weak people like you and I to achieve His great purposes –

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Finally, one of the most powerful examples of small beginnings comes through the image of the mustard seed. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says – “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The mustard seed is an incredibly tiny seed, just a dot in your hand. Yet Jesus that as long as you have faith in God, He can use even your tiniest resources and enable you to work miracles.

So don’t be discouraged if you look at your resources and only see lack. Step forth in faith and let God multiply what you have and grant you the victory over your obstacles!

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God will give you another chance

Do you feel that you’ll never be happy again because you’ve made too many mistakes in life? Do you live in regret, feeling bad about missed opportunities and crushing failures? Maybe because of sin, you feel that God won’t ever bless you. You feel that you are too far gone, nobody can save you now.

Well, I have good news for you.

God’s mercy is more amazing than you can imagine. God’s mercy can erase all the harm of your mistakes. Even when the trouble we experience is due to our fault, God will still accept us if we come to him. When we repent and receive God’s forgiveness, we can be free from condemnation. God wants us to live in victory and will change us so our failed lives will become triumphant lives. As it says in Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Samson is a good example on how God wants your life to end on a victorious note. Samson was one of the great warriors in the Bible, whose birth was prophesized by an angel. He had a special gift – he was a Nazarite, a man dedicated to God, so as long as he didn’t cut his hair, he would have supernatural strength. Over his illustrious career, he killed lions and fought many Philistines. But He had one weakness – beautiful women. He fell in love with a Philistine woman called Delilah, who pleaded with him to reveal his secret. At first Samson lied to her about the source of his strength, but over time she wore him down and Samson told her his secret – “If you cut my hair, my strength will be gone”. Delilah told the Philistines Samson’s secret and cut his hair. When they burst into the room to capture him, to his horror, Samson felt that all his strength had left him and his enemies captured him. The Philistines made Samson a slave and sent him to grind at the mill. They even gouged out his eyes, making him blind.

Now you might that this would be the end of Samson’s story. He made a mistake and now his life was doomed. He had his chance but he blew it. But that’s not the way God works. God always gives us another chance.

One day, the Philistines were in their temple celebrating a festival of their god Dagon. They brought out Samson to entertain them. Now by this time Samson had been in prison for a while and his hair had started to grow, so he got his supernatural strength back. Samson asked the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”

Now there were many people at the temple, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women.

Samson prayed – “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

Samson placed himself between the two central pillars of the temple. With his right hand on one pillar and left on the other, Samson shouted – “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

At the end of his life, Samson experienced greater victory than what he did early on his life, despite all his mistakes. God wants the same for you, He wants the later part of your life to be more triumphant than the early part, even if you might have taken a few mis-steps. Proverbs 14:16 says – “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” Don’t ever think that you’ve done so much wrong that God can’t redeem you. Don’t give up on life because you’ve failed so many times. Get up once again and feel God renew your strength like he did for Samson. You can’t change the past but you can do something about the future. Run to God to receive his love, acceptance and redemption. He will always give you another chance!

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If you enjoyed reading the above post, please do visit this blog again. I usually update the blog once a week, on Wednesdays.

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