10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
Today, we finally spent some much needed time at home. There is so much to catch up on here on the farm having spent most of the summer on the road or away from home. One of the first things that was past due was clearing some of the fence rows. I know there is more than I could do in a day, so we started with the one closest to the house. Knowing that most of my 2-cycle engine tools are in need of a small engine mechanic, I forewent the option of using a motorized blade for the good old fashioned “Sling Blade”. For those of you unfamiliar with a “Sling Blade”, it consists of a straight axe handle connected on one end to a blade that is about six inches in width and two feet in length. The blade is straight for about a foot, then curves in an arc at the end, providing a slicing side and a hook side. When sharpened and handled properly, one swing of this ominous tool can slice through a wrist size sapling in one fell swoop.
Back when we first bought the land that our farm now sits on, I cleared much of the tract from the home site to the pond with the Sling Blade, a stretch of about three hundred yards long and a hundred yards wide. Needless to say, I became very proficient with this weapon. Today, as I slung my blade at the weeds and thick brush that had grown up over a very abundant summer of rain, I found my technique still intact but the muscles that were needed to maintain this level of efficiency had long ago vanished. Nearing the end of the fence row we were working, I had to rest more and more until it was apparent, this would be all I could do for the day. Thankfully, I had two very useful helpers on hand, my son and daughter, each helping to carry the debris to the burn pile we were building. Back in the day, I use to haul all my own brush after cutting it. Today, I would have accomplished much less had I not had them with me. As time marches on, what we give up in strength and ability, we sometimes accumulate in blessings like children who eventually make up the difference in what we once were and who we are now.
As we travel around the country spreading our faith and gospel, we tell the story and words of Jesus through song and the written word hoping to reach those who need to hear this story or be reminded of their walk with faith. As we grow in our faith, we hope the path we have chosen helps our children to see how they too can become stronger and greater in their faith. As with each swing of the Sling Blade, the body becomes stronger and more proficient; thus it is with the Word, each time it is visited or spoken, we also become stronger and more proficient at telling others. As with time, we eventually leave our children’s side and allow them to discover life on their own, whether it is in school or out in community. When they are away, we can rest in knowing that we have laid the foundation for them to build upon. However, when we hear of them coming home from someplace we had thought to have been a safe haven having experienced an influence we might have considered very undesirable, we have to sit up and take notice. The fact that they report to us, their parents, of this event having felt uncomfortable, for example, hearing the teacher’s poor choice of educational experience, we in some degree take comfort knowing we have in part done our job. We have given them the tool to use in life to understand what is acceptable in our beliefs and what is not. They have slung their blade and felt it hit its mark. Yet, as much as we try to witness to others and evangelize the Word of God, it brings me sadness to know that behind our backs, the ones we thought to be on our side, have been influenced by either the media or through other avenues to the point, the felt the educational tool they chose to show was okay in their opinion. In this manner, it tells me we have so far to go in what we do in order to spread Christianity.
Christians are under attack every day, not only from the world, but even from those within our own circles who have apparently been misguided by whatever influences. We cannot afford to stand still and assume every person who claims to be a Christian is fully understanding of the Word and has truly accepted Christ; it is these people whom can be as dangerous as the one who are out to end your faith or even worse, your life. Satan doesn’t stop at the door, if allowed, he will come on in and make himself at home, waiting for any opportunity to enter into your life and bring you down.
As time goes by, what we begin to lose, we must replace with those whom will someday take our place; our children. We cannot simply assume that they will learn to swing their blades of righteousness on their own but rather we must show them, teach them and pass along what it is to fulfill the path that God has given us through his only son, Jesus Christ, so that we may be forgiven for our sins, and be saved through his Grace, for it is by this Grace alone that we will get to Heaven and it is by Grace that we must live our lives.
Do you have a fence row in your life to clear and will you get your children to help?
Tomorrow is a new day, don’t let it pass without giving someone the opportunity to hear the Word of God and to know life eternal; it is our job.
Sling that blade.