“That Banana Might Be Loaded”
Vol: 52 Issue: 21 Saturday, January 21, 2006
This weekend, we decided to take the camper for a ‘shakedown’ cruise. We’d long since learned that one can spend weeks preparing a camper for use. But the first day out, the list of things you forgot is longer than the list of things you remembered.
I’ve already learned that my pickup needed stronger leaf springs to support the camper — $225.00. And that my transmission needs a ‘shift kit’ in order to pull the camper without downshifting to passing gear the whole way — $275.00.
But realizing this morning that we forgot to pack one toothbrush. . . priceless!
We knew that this first trip would be an adventure. The pickup’s factory mirrors aren’t quite wide enough. I can see to pass, but not well enough to back the camper.
(THAT was fun. . . add extended mirrors to the list.)
It has always been our custom when hitting the road to make sure we have a fresh thermos of coffee and a couple of travel mugs. But this time, we were pulling our home behind us! Who needs a mug of lukewarm coffee when you can stop at a rest area and make a fresh cup? We did.
It wasn’t until we stopped at that first rest area that we realized the camper needs an extension cord to run a coffee pot. (Add an inverter to the list.)
We brought healthy snacks, like granola bars, bags of assorted sticks and treebark with unidentifiable nuts, some high-fiber snack called ‘breakfast cookies’, etc. We were ready for a nice relaxing trip.
Except we packed them all in the camper, which, after closing the extension, were inaccessible until we stopped for the night. (But it didn’t matter. Didn’t have any coffee to wash them down with.)
We never begin a trip without putting the entire operation in the Lord’s Hands. We pray for good weather, traffic mercies, drivers using hands-free cellphones, and for protection from pretty much every road hazard imaginable.
We once had to make a cross-country drive in a rented moving truck that coincided with a huge storm system that promised to be with us all the way. High winds, torrential rains, thunderstorms and tornadoes were forecast from the Rockies to the Appalachians.
I’ll never forget that trip. We prayed for the Lord’s protection. For 2700 miles, we saw the storm — everywhere but where we were. All the way, it had either just rained, or was about to, but always behind us. At one point, it was raining on the other side of the interstate. But I never put my wipers on the entire trip.
Since then, I don’t move my vehicle without at least a silent prayer.
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” asks the Apostle Paul. At the same time, the Lord Jesus told a story of a man planning his future.
“And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”
But Jesus made a point of saying out loud what most of us tend to think only in a whisper;
“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:18-20)
A 73 year old Slovenian woman died recently. Ordinarily, the death of an elderly woman from Slovenia would not be international news. What made it news was the circumstances:
Ivanka Perko survived the Nazis. After the Nazis left, the Soviets came. She survived both regimes. She overcame the worst the world could throw at her, before being sent to meet the Lord — by a falling banana!
Mrs. Perko had been ill for several months with a condition that made her skin delicate and fine. The falling banana scraped her leg and she died a few days later of complications from the injury.
When Jesus called the rich man ‘a fool’, it wasn’t because he didn’t deserve the fruits of his labors. It was because he put too much faith in them.
As He subsequently explained; “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (v. 21)
Note that Jesus statement is conditional; He is speaking to the man who puts his treasure on earth, AND, as a consequence, is ‘not rich toward God.’
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)
When your number’ s up, it’s up. We all know of Sir Francis Bacon from history. In 1625, Bacon had a brainstorm. He theorized that stuffing a dead chicken with snow might preserve meat much the way salt did.
Determined to find out, he purchased a chicken from a nearby village, killed it, and then, standing outside in the snow, attempted to stuff the chicken full of snow to freeze it.
The chicken never froze, but Bacon did.
Jim Fixx was the author of a best-seller called “The Complete Book of Running” that is credited with starting the jogging craze in the mid-70’s. Fixx became a fixture on TV talk shows, extolling the cardiovascular virtues of running.
While visiting Greensboro, Vt, in 1984, Fixx set out for a jog. He hadn’t gone very far before he pitched over mid-stride, dead of a heart attack at age 52.
Jerome Irving Rodale died on the “Dick Cavett Show” in 1971 while discussing the benefits of organic foods.
I love being alone with the Lord on these road trips. I never learn more than when there is nobody else around. It amuses me to hear skeptics doubt His omnipresence or His concern about the petty details of our individual lives.
I can sit alone with the Lord and no other input and come away with knowledge I didn’t have when I sat down. I learned during the trip so far how woefully unprepared we were for it, even though we thought we’d covered all our bases.
Despite our ill-preparedness, we’ve managed so far, plus we’ve learned valuable lessons for the future. Our goal is to be ready to answer His leading and take the message ‘on the road’ — so to speak — as I am convicted that time is rapidly running out to do so before His return.
But on an individual basis, time is even shorter. Every person we meet, the grocery clerk, the cop writing you a ticket, the kid that delivers your newspaper; each of them has an eternal destiny.
Either they will spend it in eternal joy in the Presence of God, or in the unspeakable agony of a Christless eternity. According to Bible prophecy, the Lord will soon return for His Church. We all want to do our best to reach as many of the lost as we can in the time left before the trumpet blows and the harvest is completed.
But we can’t count on waiting until tomorrow.
For each of us, eternity is only as far away as the next falling banana.