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The One Thing

February 15, 2013

I love old movies. Do you? Sometimes movies contain “life lessons”.  It is amazing how much movies influence our lives either for good or evil. Movies are so pervasive in our society that they have the ability to dictate how people think and live.

“City Slickers” is a movie released in 1991 starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) and two friends have midlife crises and sign up for a “trail ride” to help them find themselves. They travel west to a dude ranch and find that the aging owner has a herd  of cattle the guests must drive to market. The “top hand” on this drive is Curly Washburn (Jack Palance), a tough, mean, and crusty old cowboy.

On the trip, a crisis has just been hurdled and Curly and Mitch pause side by side on horseback. The crisis has made them friends.

Curly turns to Mitch  and says, “Do you know what the secret of life is”?

Mitch says, “No, what?”

Curly holds up his hand, index finger extended upward, and says , “This”!

Mitch is puzzled. “Your finger?”, he queries.

“One thing,” Curly insists. “Just one thing”.

Curious and wary, Mitch questions again, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing.”?

“That’s what you’ve got to figure out,” Curly cryptically responds.

Have you forgotten what your  One Thing  is?  Some persons set their hearts on the wrong thing: money, a lavish lifestyle, a hobby or diversion, worldly fame, pleasure, ease. They never considered that God offers them the most worthy goal: an eternal home in  heaven.   Others choose the kingdom of God as their goal, but follow a diversion and get on the wrong highway (Matthew 7:13-14).  Others find the real treasure of God (Matthew 13:44) and do everything to posses it. Still others never find out what is of true value in life.

However Jesus leaves us no doubt. Here’s the nitty gritty: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)  Succinct. Simple. Plain. Yet challenging!  Nevertheless, some  Christians get too comfortable, too complacent , weary, forgetful, neglectful, discouraged, or lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16).  They forget their first love (Revelation 2:2). Demas was one of these, a Christian who deserted for love of the world (II Timothy 4:10).

Do you think it can’t happen to you? Let’s pause to think of just a few warnings given to the Israelites.  In giving God’s law to Israel Moses warns them repeatedly not  to forget the words of God. In Deuteronomy 4:9  his first remarks are these, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently…”  In verse 15 he encourages,  “So watch yourselves carefully”.   Again, in verse 23 Moses insists, “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of your Lord your God which he made with you…”  Deuteronomy 8:11 urges,  “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes which I am commanding you today…”

Israel  forgot!  And where did they wind up? Suffering in captivity.

The last word is this: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13

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One Comment
  1. Nancy Giles permalink

    What a wonderful way to begin my day. It gives me a lift for the whole day.

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