A few years back a couple moved out with their dog, letting it remain outside with no pen or fence installed, “so he can run free like animals are supposed to.” When farmers near them started losing livestock it couldn’t be that “my sweet Scruffy” had anything to do with it. They did not understand that dogs are pack animals and when they are left alone at night, “free to run,” they will join up with the strays and wreak havoc. They didn’t understand until a farmer called the sheriff and there lay three or four dogs shot dead, next to an equally dead calf, nearly torn to bits. Among the dead dogs was Scruffy, the calf’s blood smeared all over his mouth, throat, and chest. The farmer, of course, was not at fault—he was protecting his livestock from a pack of wild dogs. At least he only lost one calf that time.
On a less somber note, we have a neighbor now who would not listen when Keith told him he needed to ditch the edges of his dirt driveway. It may be the dry season now, but when the summer rains start, he will soon be looking for a friendly farmer with a tractor to pull him out of the muddy drive that has nowhere to drain.
We once had a neighbor who moved to the country “because there are so many more stars out here.” He wondered why he couldn’t see them after he moved in. Probably because of the street light he had installed outside his door. The reason the country seems so much starrier is the lack of light pollution. The more city people move out here, the fewer stars we can see because they are so scared of the dark. Far better to install a motion detector floodlight than a constant mercury lamp, one high enough to avoid the rambling coons and possums.
And then there is the garden. Thirty-five years ago I was a city slicker too. I thought having a garden from which you could pick what you wanted for supper every night was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. You don’t tell the garden what you want when you want it. It tells you what there is and when it is ready, and if you do not want it to go to waste, you take care of it then regardless of your schedule. If you wait, the produce will ruin. If you do not plan to tend it when it needs tending, pick when it needs picking, and put up when the crop comes in, don’t plant one. Do not spend a hundred dollars on supplies, then let a thousand dollars worth of groceries spoil.
I could go on and on, but this is not a treatise on country vs. city. Let’s take this lesson today. I recently heard someone say that Christians were people who had one foot in this world and one foot in the next, like that made them weird. Isn’t that the way we are supposed to act? In fact, maybe we should have a little more of the second foot in the next world too.
No, we do not act like ordinary people—at least we shouldn’t. As new Christians we have to learn a new way of living. Our citizenship is in Heaven. Our minds are set on spiritual things. The cares of this world do not upset us the same way they upset others, because they do not mean as much to us. We have far better things to think about.
City slickers may think country people are a little strange, but guess who knows how to get along out here the best? If the world thinks you are strange, don’t worry. You will manage far better than they. One day, they will call frantically and ask for your help. Hope and pray it is not because the trumpet just sounded, but because they have finally figured out that you knew more than they thought, and there is still time to do something about it.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God hears us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:4-6.
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