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February 11, 2016

Text: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and to be with Christ for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Philippians 1:21-24

“f I had my druthers, I’d druther have my druthers Than anything else I know…” Johnny Mercer (Lyrics of a song for the musical “L’il Abner”.)

Johnny Mercer was a song writer, lyricist, singer and actor around the middle of the 20th century. He wrote lyrics for the stage, screen, and other singers. My list of the best song writers would include Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, and the brothers team George and Ira Gershwin. Mercer was a “son of the South” He was a native of Georgia. The word “druthers” is in the dictionary! It means “the power or opportunity to choose”; especially the choice of two life situations, one of which was more palatable to the speaker than the other. It was an alteration of “would rather”. I suspect that it was a Southern expression.

Lil Abner, the main character in the musical “Lil Abner”, sang the song “If I Had My Druthers” in the stage play. Abner is not an ambitious guy at all. He sings, “If I had my druthers, I’d druther have my druthers,Than work any wheres at all.” His choice of employment was as a mattress tester! If our druthers came true most all persons would druther be rich , have a beautiful mate, be respected, never be sick, “ad infinitum”.

But the trouble with our druthers is they seldom come true! Probably you have had such a thing for which you longed, but it never materialized. Have you ever desired to have some man or woman that you wanted to marry but he or she found someone else? Or some material thing that you craved, but you never obtained it. Perhaps there was a “dream house” that was purchased by someone else before you could gather the down payment. There is always uncertainty in getting the things that you want in life. Remember to keep your longings within the bounds of reality!

The apostle Paul felt that way about the probabilities before him in the future. In our text he sees two possibilities: he could continue preaching the gospel here, or he could go to his heavenly home. Paul saw that there were great satisfactions in either path. Going to meet Christ in heaven was more desirable, but fruitful accomplishments for the kingdom on earth would be a great gratification also. “Do not lay up for yourselves  treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and  steal. For where your treasure is, there  your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-20

Don’t utilize prayer for getting your own lavish desires.  God knows what you need, so rely upon his will and benevolence for your life.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3    You cannot pray thusly: “God, if I do this, you must do that”.  You cannot bargain with God!  Cease to attempt to wheedle God into giving you what you selfishly crave! Don’t let greed and selfishness destroy you from within.

Don’t be angry with God if you don’t get your druthers. God is not your personal genie to deliver your hankerings. Some of our druthers are not in God’s plans for us. Others have dire consequences attached and we would be better off without them. The Lord’s knowledge and actions are sometimes too wonderful for us to comprehend. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9  William Cowper wrote the following words for the hymn “God Moves In A Mysterious Way”  (stanzas four and five)

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Find contentment in what you have. Satisfaction and peace in the heart are invaluable in your life. Do not scramble for things that grieve your soul. Druther have peace and contentment than hatred, resentment and turmoil.   “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalms 34:14  Set your heart on “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…”  Philippians 4:7

Imitate the apostle Paul’s well learned lesson. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11







One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    This is a hard lesson to learn.

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