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A Life of Neglect

This is the story of the “Keeper of the Spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of water. The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer.” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

For several weeks, nothing changed.

By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A few days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

The Psalmist makes a foundational truth for each of us in our Christian walk. We need the Word of God. And we need to follow the instructions of the Word of God. You may say “How much of the Bible should I live out?” ALL OF IT!! You may think this impossible, but you are mistaken and the proof that we are capable of doing it is found in the Psalmists action to make it happen. He says (action) “I have hidden your word in my heart. (result) – That I might not sin against you.! As I have said before “I believe the Word of God.” ALL OF IT!!

The story of the keeper of the spring is a vivid illustration of what happens when we don’t value the little things and put them aside because they seem to cost too much. Cost too much time. Cost too much brain power. Cost too much life change. COST TOO MUCH!! As in the story above we can see that the old man’s presence in keeping spring well kept were very noticeable, but the people on the town council didn’t reaize it until he wasn’t there anymore and neglect began to show in the polluted result.

It all started with the spring not being able to flow freely in and freely out and before long the beautiful fresh water became dark and toxic without the water flowing out and allowing new fresh water to come in and refresh the pool. So another lesson from this great story is the lesson that when we do get in God’s Word it can well up inside of us and we have to let it out through our speech and through our life. Then new fresh truth comes in to take its place in our hearts and minds and this keeps us current and ready for God to make more changes in our lives. Changes that draw us closer and closer to who He wants us to be start to form new habits, new lifestyles, and new ways of thinking that are more in line with God.

This process is called sanctification and the process is a vibrant, powerful force in the life of all who follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit takes all of this truth and works it out in our daily lives and a huge part of this process is sharing our faiith so others can experience it. Another thing that happens is a life of purpose and direction and that purpose and direction is centered on Jesus and Him alone. In this process the natural man (your old self) takes a back seat and Jesus takes the wheel and boy what a ride He will take you on!! In John 10:10 Jesus calls it the abundant life. We become that healthy, well cared for spring and that is exactly what Jesus was telling the woman at the well about in John 4 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

There it is. Can you see the truth? The rest of Psalm 119 begins to make total sense. Look at the next verses and see where it hits you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

This great truth changes how we praise, how we speak, how we establish God’s teachings in our lives, how serious we are in studying God’s Word, and how much we care for that which God has put in each of us who call Jesus Lord. Remember, the Holy Spirit is in our soul and He is constantly calling us to Gods Word and we must not become so busy and self-centered in our own thinking to the point that we shut Him out. Neglect… That can never happen!! Verse 16 pretty much firms up the overall point of never living a life of neglect where it says

16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. That is the only way we can keep a fresh and powerful life of worship that impacts our life and the lives of all who meet us. Romans 12 says a lot 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

The Pilgrimage continues…..

David Warren

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