Beware the little foxes

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS | Special to the Reporter

Note: This is an opinion column.

After a “dry run” at our current tax forms, my wife found an interest statement she’d overlooked from the U.S. government. She cashed an old savings bond last year and made about $10 in interest. This slight amount will only make a difference of about $1 in our tax calculations– hardly worth the trouble of refiguring all my draft forms–but we all must find ourselves in obedience to our Uncle Sam!

This experience reminded me of King Solomon’s well-known word in Song of Solomon 2:15: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

The little foxes caused big trouble for the vineyard owner, and it’s often the little things that cause big trouble in our lives.

Sometimes we find ourselves speaking sharp words in thoughtlessness or in anger, and these words can injure the receiver. Many relationships have been jeopardized by words spoken in haste. Perhaps it was a single word, or a few sentences, but these small utterances can create great harm. King David prayed, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). We all need God to guard our mouths.

A lady once explained to me how her life was ruined professionally. She handled cash and found it easy to scrape a little off the desktop when no one was looking. She grew bold and began to take larger amounts. An audit revealed irregularities and soon she was dismissed and facing legal charges. It all began with a small assault to personal integrity, but these small steps made a big difference.

The same Lord we ask to guard our lips should be invited to guard our hearts, too.

I met a pastor in another state who was dismissed from his church for moral reasons. He came upon internet pornography and developed a fascination with it. He grew bold enough to use his church’s Wi-Fi; accordingly, he was discovered. I’m not sure what kind of mental image I had of someone caught in a web like this, but he was a sharp young man who spoke well and had a winning personality. But he fell into what Luke Skywalker called “the dark side.”

Scripture warns us about the “little” things that make a big difference in our lives.

Many of us grow overconfident without coming to terms with our susceptibility to bad choices. We’re all broken and sinful, and we need God’s kindness when we seek his forgiveness. We gratefully acknowledge he is a God of mercy. He’s invited his church, likewise, to share in the ministry of mercy. We need restoration and affirmation from Christian brothers and sisters as well. -30-

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.