How to eat an elephant

Have any of you heard this question before? It is similar to the statement about the elephant in the boardroom, meaning that both situations seem overwhelming. Eating an elephant and having one in your boardroom? Impossible, right?

Not impossible. Not when you understand the meanings. The elephant in the boardroom is a figure of speech alluding to a major issue that no one really wants to face, and eating an elephant is a major issue that no one wants to undertake.

In relation to today’s message, the elephant in our boardroom that we all need to eat is sin. We all are sinful, both in action and in nature. That is why God had to provide a Messiah, one anointed to lead us into communion with the Almighty Father, but first charged with bringing us back from sinfulness to righteousness. Yeshua (Jesus) was that Messiah, and He still is; having saved us all by providing the pathway back to God through His sacrificial death.

I call our sin an elephant in the boardroom because even though we all are willing to admit we are sinful, too often we don’t really “feel” it. Even those people who have no fear of the Lord and don’t care about Him at all, are open to the fact that they do things some sections of society and the “religious people” think are wrong. They are just used to rationalizing their actions, so they don’t even see the elephant.

But for Believers, the elephant is the sin we don’t want to “own”- it’s one thing to say, “Yes, we are all sinners and Jesus died for our sins”, but if the underlying feeling when you repeat that (often from rote) is that you don’t really want to “own up” to your own sin, then don’t look now, but there’s an elephant in the room! No one really wants to be “bad”, so we thank Jesus for all He has done and say we are saved. Hallelujah!

But being saved isn’t enough: too many times being saved is thought to be the end of the trail, the 19th hole, the No More Worries Inn. Sorry- that’s not how it works. Being saved is just the beginning, and the trip isn’t easy. Calling on the name of the Lord is how you start, but following the pathway of righteousness is how you travel, and eating that elephant is what you survive on.

Eating the elephant called sin, in truth, is no different than eating one in real life. The answer to the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” is: one bite at a time.

And that is the way we turn from sinfulness to travel the path of righteousness: one bite (step) at a time. We walk a white line throughout our lives, with sin on the one side and righteousness on the other; we are constantly stepping on one side or the other. There are other lines running alongside the white line we first follow, paths that veer off to different directions. When we step too often on the side of sin, we tend to get farther and farther away from the line leading to God, and we end up on a pathway leading to damnation. But, when we walk on the side of righteousness, we find roads that all lead to salvation. What I am saying is that the way we walk becomes easier as we walk it, so if we start our trip in the right direction and keep our eyes on the goal, we find the trip easier.

Just like eating the elephant: one bite at a time, one step at a time, keeping our eyes on the elephant on the serving platter but concentrating mostly just on what is on our plate, today. Before you know it, the serving platter will not have so much on it anymore.

Maybe that’s why Yeshua said to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…”, meaning one bite at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time.

Have you heard this expression: “Slow and steady wins the race.”? It means when you constantly do the right thing the right way, you will achieve what you are trying to do.

So face up to that elephant, sit down at the table with your napkin on your lap and your knife and fork in your hands, and get to work.

Be hungry for righteousness.

(No elephants or other large mammals were hurt in the construction of this message)

The Most Trustworthy Compass Around

Once more into the dreaded world of Dear Abby we find someone who was asking the most basic and simple question about what to do. The topic isn’t even important, but the fact that a person is writing to a stranger and exposing to the public his or her unbelievable ignorance about the most basic social skills and etiquette just shows, again, how totally lost people are in this world.

How do I talk to people? What do I do if someone says something mean to me? I am in another bad relationship, why does this keep happening to me?

When you walk into a forest, and it is thick with thorn bushes, nasty little reptiles and arachnids, and all sorts of ways to get lost, you need to have a way to maintain your direction through that maze of misdirecting pathways. And, before you even enter the forest, you should have some idea of where you want to go.

Many, many people don’t. They seem to be lost before they even start to walk. That’s why we need a compass. Not GPS, because that is technology and technology fails. A compass is analog, it is a piece of metal that will always be a piece of metal, and it works on magnetic fields, which will always be here. It is dependable, it is something you can always have with you, and it is not all that hard to work with. Determine which direction you want to go (it’s called an Azimuth, and is measured in degrees. East is 90, west is 270, etc.), set the azimuth needle to that azimuth on the bezel ring (that’s the outer ring that turns, and has 360 serrations on the edge, each representing one degree of a circle); hold the directional needle in front of you so that it is pointing straight ahead,  and then turn your body until the main needle points North. So long as you keep that main needle on “N”, you are walking in the direction you want to go.

The compass we use in the military helps us stay on track and get to our final destination, but in life there is no piece of equipment that can do that. However, we still have a dependable compass to get us through our lives, and keep us on track. It is the Word of God. We need to keep it always in front of us, always watch our steps to make sure we are pointing in the right direction, and study the Word, every day.

What do I do when someone says something mean to me? Check the compass- it says the way to go is to forgive them, and keep walking.

Why am I always getting involved in bad relationships? Check the compass- you are walking in the wrong direction. Your azimuth is pointing to your selfish desires, to wrongful ways to act instead of pointing to God’s pathway. And you are trusting people instead of trusting God. You look to people to set your azimuth instead of God, and they are just as lost as you are. Yeshua tells us that when the blind lead the blind they both fall into a hole. Don’t let a blind person be your leader.

Why don’t I feel loved and happy? It’s because you don’t know where you are going, and you haven’t decided on a path to take. Even walking in the wrong direction, if you ask God to lead you back, you will find the way you need to go. People only love themselves, but God loves each of us. Know His love first, then you will know how to love others. Stop looking for someone to love you and be loving to others. When you know what real love is (because you know God’s love- gentle, honest but not doting or enabling) then you will be able to recognize dependable love in your life, and God’s compass will lead you to a fulfilling and meaningful relationship.

Let God’s Word, which is who God is and what He wants from us, be your compass through life. It’s a tough walk, and often you do end up going off the straight and narrow road, sometimes just to avoid a major obstacle. But when you know where you need to be, and you have that compass right there in front of you, you can always get back to the right pathway. Some people walk one road, some another, but so long as the road points to God then you are all going in the direction you need to go. Don’t judge someone else because they are on a different path- you never know when you may find yourself climbing a steep hill, or on a rocky road, or stuck knee-deep in mud!

So just walk your path, keep the compass in front of you and watch your step.  I guarantee if you do this, you will find peace and comfort during your walk, and your needle will point you to salvation.