Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stuck with Cockleburs

Remember the times that you have returned from hunting or from a walk in the woods, only to find cockleburs stuck to your clothes? Some people may wonder why God made such “nuisances.” Surely He had a purpose. What could it be?
As Tom Childers notes, life has its cockleburs. These may include a handicap, illness, unpleasant work environment, unhappy home life, financial difficulties, or the illness or loss of a loved one. The Bible says: “… we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed … Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9; 16-18). By faith we know that God can bring triumph out of tragedy. He can cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).
One curious man examined cockleburs more closely under a microscope. After considerable research, he developed a revolutionary product now used in space suits, surgical clothing, tennis shoes, and thousands of other items. In the 1950s, George de Mestral patented what became “Velcro.”  Today countless products stick together as a result, for our benefit.

There is a reason why cockleburs attach themselves to everything they touch. They are seeds, hitching a ride on our clothes in order to reproduce. In God’s amazing plan He uses you and me to carry them to other places so that they can take root there and multiply.
In the same way, because we are attached to Jesus Christ, we carry Him wherever we are, whether at home or at work, whether across the street or across the world.  The result is that the seed of the gospel of grace is planted in fertile ground. “The farmer went forth to sow …” (Mark 4:3) Acts 8:4 says, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” We must attach ourselves to people and build deep, genuine relationships in order to win them to Christ.
Second, people attached to Christ become attached to each other. As we become like Him, as we worship Him with joy and reverence, as we obey His unchanging, authoritative Word, and as we carry out His mission, we will find ourselves bound by a common goal. “ … make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:2) Hearts become “encouraged, knit together in love.” (Colossians 2:2)  That’s what’s happening among the Lord’s people. It’s special. It’s wonderful. It’s God’s doing. Thank you for getting stuck! Let’s stay that way.
-- Cory Collins

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