Experience is the Best Teacher
By Chris Rathbone
One of my professors from years ago was a man who could say more in a one-liner than most people could if they were to write a book! He was a seasoned Christian, pastor, and teacher. One of the reasons we loved to sit under his teaching was the years of experience that he shared with us, young preachers. Even in his late 70s, he showed up faithfully every week to teach his classes. His knowledge of the scriptures, and the way he used all those years of pastoring, preaching, and ministry to bring to light the real-life issues that Christians will most likely face in this life taught me things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Dr. Thad Dowdle told us a particular story about his life that has always stuck with me.
As an only child, he was born later in life to his parents. Because of this, his mother was quite protective of her son. Matter of fact, he would say that his father saved him from “smotherhood”. If I’m remembering correctly, his dad raised and trained teams of workhorses. That’s the way work was done for the most part in those days. Most working poor folk didn’t have the money for modern equipment, even what little existed in those days. When Thad was old enough, his dad began to teach him how to work the horses with a sled. Certain commands were given to let a trained team know which way to turn when to stop or go, speed up or slow down, etc. As Thad was working a team one day under the close supervision of his dad, he gave a command to the horses. They turned like they were supposed to, however, the sled turned over and Thad was trapped underneath. His dad quickly jumped into action and got Thad from under the sled. Apart from a few scratches and bruises, and a little hurt pride, Thad was ok.
After the dust settled, Thad’s father looked at him and said, “Son I knew you were gonna turn that sled over. You had the horses going too fast, even after I told you to slow down.” Thad said, “If you knew it would turn over, why didn’t you tell me?” His reply, “I figured you would learn better if you experienced it.”
Unfortunately, for the most part, that’s the way so many of us seem to be. No matter if it is an individual, a group, or even a nation, we have a tendency to ignore the warnings and refuse instruction from those who know by experience. Some trials and tribulations will come to us in this life that we will have no control over. However, there are many that we go through that we bring on ourselves. We will ignore the warnings, refuse instruction, turn up our nose to a Godly preacher or Christian trying to point us in the right direction. Many will shout, “You’re not supposed to judge me!” No matter the pleas, they keep heading in that same direction until the consequences set in, consequences that could have been avoided all along.
It looks like that as a nation, we are going to have to experience a lesson because our leaders will not listen. No matter what history teaches them, what is common sense, or even what is morally or Biblically correct, they won’t listen. They promote and glorify sexual perversion and the taking of innocent lives in the womb. They lie and then lie to cover up lies. Corruption is rampant, no one is brought to justice even when they are caught. The system is set up so they can stay in power. A biblical work ethic is shunned in favor of socialism. They steal from the poor through taxes while they grow richer and richer through payouts from special interest groups. As a nation, we spend and spend what we don’t have even though the Bible teaches that the borrower is a servant to the lender. Biblical Christianity is disdained, those who believe the Bible are vilified, and if you speak out against unrighteousness they will shout you down and accuse you of hate for just simply believing what is right according to the Bible. No matter how many times they are warned about what the consequences will be, they just simply ignore the warnings like judgment will never come. I could continue but there’s not enough room in this paper to hold it all!
Eventually, the sled is gonna turn over because no one wants to listen. The question is, will we change before we have to experience it, or will we even learn when we are trapped underneath it? Experience is the best teacher……but it isn’t always the most pleasant way to learn the lesson.
Praying for our nation,
Psalm 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exaleth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.
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