McDowell Technical Community College

By Rick and Cindy Mercer
Morganton Seventh-Day Adventists Church
Burke County

We are told that one day there will be no more tears, sorrow or sadness.  I long for that day.  If you have ever had the carpet pulled out from under your feet, or maybe even stood by helplessly as you watched a friend or family member struggle…you too probably understand the desire for a fresh new start or just a better world to live in.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of distractions in this world that can “de-rail” any of us at any given moment.  And what if one of those “distractions” cripple us to the point that we lose interest in our job, our family or even life itself.  We have become all too familiar with another word for these distractions…or addictions as it is referred too often.

Addictions are present in a multitude of categories.  We could even name hundreds of addictions in this given article.  But rather than inundate ourselves with “the list”…it seems more appropriate to steer our thinking to the overcoming of the addictions.

Allow me to illustrate through a story I heard some time ago.

There was on old traveling preacher that was going from one mountain town to the next.  He would diligently march forward to eagerly do his part in sharing the gospel with as many people as possible before the winter set in.  Unfortunately, he got caught in a bad winter storm and lost his way.

The pastor now lay in the bitter cold snow, struggling for his life.  Then thankfully, along came Mountain Bob.  He was running his traps and discovered the almost frozen to death preacher.  He threw him over his shoulder and carried him to his warm cabin.  Mountain Bob began to nurse the preacher’s wounds, doing everything he could to save his life.

The good news is that the traveling preacher was getting stronger and stronger each day. He could hardly contain his excitement as he prepared to leave Mountain Bob’s cabin and return to the task he originally set out to do.

But the bad news is they were snowed in for the winter.  It simply was not safe for the preacher to set out on foot to travel to the next mountain town.  His only choice was to stay.  As time passed, the preacher and Mountain Bob became very good friends.

As a matter of fact, everything was going great until Mountain Bob got robbed.  Yes, robbed by little critters called rats.  You see Mountain Bob liked to smoke…a lot.  He would take his tobacco and roll his cigarettes in the thin little paper.  But the rats got into his rolling paper and left it in tiny shreds!  This left Bob with no way to smoke.  Unfortunately, Bob was highly addicted to the tobacco. The more he thought about, the worse it got.  It was driving him crazy not being able to smoke!

It was then that he noticed the preacher quietly reading his Bible and realized that the pages of the preacher’s Bible would work perfectly to roll his tobacco.  Bob walked over and asked the preacher if he could have a sheet from his Bible.  Of course the preacher said, “No way…I cannot let you do that!”  “I can’t believe that you would even ask such a thing!”

It was then that Bob quickly reminded the preacher that he saved his life and that he should be very grateful and oblige him with his request.  In no uncertain terms, Mountain Bob indicated he might have to take the very life that he had saved.  The preacher told Bob that he would just have to do that because there was no way he would even consider this ludicrous request.

Bob paced and paced. He just couldn’t take it anymore.  So, Bob grabbed his gun and walked out to end his life.  The preacher instantly followed him and demanded him to stop the craziness.  So reluctantly the preacher made a deal with Mountain Bob.

The preacher agreed to give him a page from his Bible under one condition.  He told Mountain Bob that he would have to read every word on the page before he used it to roll his tobacco.  Bob was very excited and willing to comply with the preacher.

So, Mountain Bob read and he smoked.  Then he read and read and smoked.  He read, and read and read and he smoked.  He read and he read and he read and he read and he smoked.  Well, you get the idea!  Mountain Bob got to the point that he would rather read than smoke.

As Bob filled his life with the words of Jesus and fixed his thoughts upon Him, his life was transformed moment by moment!

You see, you can’t stomp sin out of your life…but you can crowd it out by putting in more of Jesus.  It is the same way with overcoming any sin in our life.  It doesn’t matter what it is…you simply fill your life with more of Jesus and before you know it the sin is crowded out.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB

We can then joyfully say and sing, “Give me Jesus…give me more and more of Jesus!”