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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Importance of Being Earnest (not about the play) (08/04/11)

TITLE: A 'Possessed' Garbage Can?!
By Helen Curtis
08/11/11


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Some years ago I attended a Christian retreat. Starting each morning with a personal prayer time I opened my bible and started to worship.

"Abba, Father!"

Scritch.

"I kneel before you today..."

Scritchity-scritch.

"I GIVE YOU ALL THE GLORY LORD AND..."

Scritchy-scritchy scratchy scratch!

It was no good, I could not focus on God knowing there was something behind me. But where, and what? My curiosity now well and truly piqued, I looked around. Aha! A few metres away sat a round, metal garbage can.

Scritchity-scritch.

Bravely I ventured over to the possessed trash can; it was empty, save for a small, frightened mouse.

My heart ached for this little prisoner; as I watched him run around in frantic circles, trying to find a way out of his filthy prison I knew he had to be set free. But how? After (very quickly!) dismissing the thought of reaching into his icky surroundings or picking him up, I had a flash of genius - turn the bin over on its side!

I tentatively grasped the grotty sides of the garbage bin and pushed the cavernous dungeon over. I waited, hoping Squeaky (yes, I had named him by this stage) would do the rest. Finally, a tiny pink nose stuck out over the edge of the bin, followed by two beady eyes blinking to adjust to the brightness of being on the outside. "Yes! Off you go Squeaky, you're safe now!" Smiling with relief, and a not-too-small amount of pride, I set the bin back on its flat bottom and headed off for the first Bible Study session for the day.

I hadn't walked very far when something else caught my attention.

Swoosh. Swoooosh. SWOOOSH!

Turning around to identify the source of this strange new sound, my heart sank. Overhead, just a few feet away, lurked a huge, black crow. His eyes were focused on just one thing, and I watched in horror as he dropped to the ground, thrust out his talons and latched on to his prey - Squeaky!

I was gutted. In my eagerness to see the little mouse set free, and my elation over his liberation, I had failed to see the rescue through right to the end. I had released Squeaky into an open patch of dry grass, a 'no-man's land' of sorts, leaving him unprotected and vulnerable. I was so sure I'd helped him, when in actual fact I'd turned my back on him when he was at his most vulnerable.

Had I been seriously committed to his rescue, I would have considered the bigger picture and asked myself, was this a safe place to release him? and, what other dangers could Squeaky possibly be up against?. It wouldn't have been convenient, but I would have stayed with him until he'd reached the safety and protection of the nearby shrubs.

Now I'm sure you can probably see the funny side of this anecdote, but God revealed a very important lesson to me that day.

As Christians, we are called to set captives free from the prison of sin. But it is imperative that we do more than just come along and turn their world upside down - we must see them safely into the kindgdom of God, into the protection and security of God our Father. We must zealously guard our newly-saved brothers and sisters from the lure of the enemy, through continued prayer, or we will be leaving them in their own no-man's-land, vulnerable and open to the enemy's attack.

For when people are imprisoned by sin they are of little interest to the enemy; they are not in the kingdom of God, so all he needs to do is maintain their oblivion. But, the very second they are released into the Kingdom of God and their eyes are opened to the truth, they gain the enemy's full attention. Now it gets personal, and his mission switches from blinding their minds to total annihilation.

No, half-hearted prayers and a casual "hi" on a Sunday are not enough to keep new Christians from the lure of the enemy. We need to be completely, 100 percent sold out to keeping them in the Kingdom of God, staying focused on the job at hand and fighting for them. Will this be convenient? Probably not! But in doing this, we'll be imitating Jesus himself, who prayed to his Father, "not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." John 17:15 NIV


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This article has been read 436 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick08/11/11
I really like your comparisons and the lesson taught in this piece. Alot of truth here. Lord help us to be willing to take the time to not just get people saved but walk with them and be there along the way, to encourage and help in this life. Thank you for writing this. It's a very good reminder and thought provoking. I just feel sorry for Squeaker.:(
Camille (C D) Swanson 08/12/11
Very salient point about the "newly saved" having to watch and guide them to the safety of the Lord. I felt so bad for the little guy, other than that, I enjoyed it. God Bless~
Linda Goergen08/12/11
What a wonderful comparison and message here, wonderfully presented in a powerful visual for sure…because even though I detest mice, I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for the little mouse devoured by his enemy! Excellent job on this!
Noel Mitaxa 08/12/11
You've 'lifted the lid' on an important issue of discipling, yet we need to avoid totally removing people from their potential mission field - so others in their circle of influence may be exposed to the freshness of their testimony. Just like Jesus urged the Gadarene demoniac (who wanted to cross to Galilee to be with the disciples) to go back and share what God had done for him.
I loved the positive challenge here.
Carol Penhorwood 08/16/11
Very well done! You have made a truly valid point with your analogy.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/16/11
Wow great story about poor Squeaky. Then you connected it to a great message without sounding preachy. Nicely done.
Margaret Kearley 08/16/11
Wow - this is really good. What an important lesson - I shall not forget your 'parable picture' so clearly and descriptively written. Thankyou
Camille (C D) Swanson 08/18/11
A well deserved first place win! Beautiful message, I loved it! God bless~
Rachel Phelps08/18/11
I love the story, really excellent hook. Congratulations on your EC!
Amica Joy08/19/11
Poor little mouse! Ridicilous really that a mouse would get my full sympathy and some people who really need it don't. Your story holds a mirror up to me... Actually, it flings the mirror right into my face ... and makes me feel ashamed of my insufficient support, in some instances. This story is so very powerful because it points to our shortcomings as fellow Christians but doesn't let us stand accused. The garbage can is a great symbol in itself. Escaping the 'garbage' just isn't the whole gospel ... This story would be very useful for discussing on the scope of evangelism and what an 'evangelistic strategy' should include! Definitely not only the Four Spiritual laws (see link: ttp://www.4laws.com/laws/languages.html), although it is always good to know the basics well, too. :-)
Bonnie Bowden 08/26/11
Hi Helen,

I always enjoy reading your stories. You make an wonderful comparison between the mouse and the Christian.

My mother also learned about not releasing an animal into an unprotected environment. She released a baby mouse out into the field during the fall. It died of cold and malnurishment.