Few actors have achieved a level of success and awards as Tom Hanks. He is the every man. Each character he portrays is so believable and spot on. From the first frame, you instantly believe he is the person in the movie. One of my favorites is the movie “Castaway”. The scene where his character, Chuck, finds himself a plane crash survivor and stranded on a deserted island is pretty much exactly what we would all be like. Chuck is alone, afraid, no skills for survival, unsure what to do, etc. Through each act though, Chuck begins to learn and adapt. He learns how to crack a coconut, build a shelter, and make fire.
The fire scene is so joyful. Chuck tries and tries to start a fire but is unable. After raw and bloodied hands from rubbing sticks together, he finally figures out that the bamboo in which his kindling sits, needs airflow. The spark ignites and the fire blazes. Chuck is so happy and joyful, because now he can cook food, stay warm at night, and actually be civilized in this uncivilized world.
2 Timothy 1:6 - For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…
Many times in life, through our family, our jobs, misfortunate circumstances, life’s ups and downs, and even life’s shipwrecks, we find ourselves like Chuck - deserted and a castaway. We wonder - What’s going on? How did I get to this place? How did I get out? We feel abandoned and alone. We’re fearful. Maybe we’ve lost that fire. What is the fire? The fire is the spark of God, the calling and touch of God, the voice of God. How do we get that fire back? Fan the flame.
Just like Chuck, fan that spark. Blow life into that flame. Go back to the last thing you know God spoke to you and live there. Listen to His voice. Know His calling. Rest in the provision and warmth of His Words. Be happy and joyful because of that Word and grace which gives life!
Where is the real standard of intelligence? What is the plumb line of understanding? Some would say definitively, standardized tests. Some would say something a little more broad like IQ tests. But does a perfect ACT or the highest IQ ever recorded of 228 make you definitively intelligent? Sure it does, but there’s more.
Information isn’t always the marker for knowledge or wisdom. I like science fiction shows and movies. Robots evolved in entertainment from the one in the 60’s TV series, Lost in Space, that shouted, “Danger Will Robinson”, to the ones who were more human. Typically, these robots or androids speak thousands of languages, have any data you would ever need, but also lack emotions. They haven’t quite yet grasped empathy, sympathy, or understand the passions and drive of man.
1 Corinthians 1:19 - For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Many times, we think because we have met certain requirements of standardized tests, because we have tapped into the psyche and inner workings of man and understand reason and passions - that surely we can fix ourselves. We know what we need and we work to change things for the better. And then God says, “Nope”.
Christ and the cross are foolishness. It’s surely stupidity because a man that gave up His life wasn’t strong enough to save Himself - how could He ever save us? It’s moronic to think that we have to go beneath ourselves in humility and surrender to what doesn’t make sense to our standardized informational minds. But in this truth is the power of God. If we could step away from our own intelligence and submit to the All Knowing God, we would see true wisdom and understanding.
I pretty much know my physical limits. There’s an understanding that I have with my back and legs, with my arms and hands, not to go too far beyond a certain line. I know instantly when I’ve crossed it. I can pick up something pretty heavy, subjectively for my body frame, and move it. Do it a second time in a row? Maybe. A third time? Forget it. Go sit down.
We all have those thresholds. We are only human. Even the strongest man alive has limits, The World’s Strongest Man Competition includes races like the Carry & Drag. This is an anvil and chain carry and drag race, with weight right under one thousand pounds. These are crazy strong men, but they have limits to which their bodies scream like mine, “Forget it. Go sit down.”
1 John 5:3 - This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.
Spiritually speaking, sometime we feel that being the person God wants to be is too hard. We read the Bible or we hear messages about what we should do and what we should say and how we’re supposed to live and we think, “Forget it. Go sit down.”
But we shouldn’t think of it like a strong man competition. We’re not following commands or picking up loads that we’ll never be able to carry and drag. God, who created us, says that His ways for us are not burdensome. They are not too much. They are not over the limits for us spiritually. HIs ways for us are not forceful or oppressive.
We all have limits physically and spiritually. God wants to stretch those limits in the light of His ways. We’ll find that when we follow Him, our strength we’ll have no limits, because He has no limits.