Benjamin Franklin, printer, publisher, author, inventor, scientist and diplomat, published Poor Richard's Almanack in which he coined numerous proverbs praising prudence, industry and honesty. He wrote: "When confronted with two courses of action, I jot down on a piece of paper all the arguments in favor of each one. Then, by weighing the arguments pro and con and canceling them out one against the other, I take the course indicated by what remains." There are legitimate gray areas of life when it is a good idea to do this. It's choosing the better of two goods, when two options are equally honorable.
There's a story about a cow and a pig. The pig was complaining because he was so disliked. He told the cow that people were always talking about how gentle and kind the cow was. The pig admitted that the cow was quite generous with her milk and cream, but he told the cow that actually the pigs gave much more. The cow thought a while and then said, "Maybe it's because I give while I'm still living." Proverbs 11:25 KJV says, "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." It's a good idea to open hand and heart while living; one of the rewards is both their happiness and ours.
We should read Psalm 8 on days when we wonder if God cares about His creation. "... What is man that you are mindful of him...You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor" (Vss.4,5). The responsibilities and possibilities are awesome when one does consider what man is. Hebrews 2:9 tells us, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death..." The greatest favor and honor to man was the incarnation and resurrection of the Son of Man. In this lies our value.
A father gave prudent advice to his son who had just graduated from college and was about to go into his profession. "My boy," he said, "remember there are three bones, and you will never have any trouble." "How will three bones keep me out of trouble?" the boy asked, puzzled. "There is a wishbone, a jawbone, and a backbone," the father explained. "The wishbone keeps you going after goals. The jawbone helps you find out how to go after them if you are in doubt, and the backbone keeps you at it until you get there." Lord, we pray for one more bone, a firebone of love from the Holy Spirit, that we may glorify You.
Richter defined time as the chrysalis of eternity. What an unusual and exquisite concept this is. The dictionary defines chrysalis as the third stage in the development of an insect, the pupal stage; also, anything still in the process of development. It is during pupation that larval structures of insects break down and adult structures form: wings appear for the first time. The adult emerges from the cocoon; the caterpillar is transformed into the butterfly. God is giving us this chrysalis to develop our wings. May we use our time wisely that we may have it for eternity.
Ecclesiastes 1:9c tells us there is nothing new under the sun. But whatever the current population is, that is how many newnesses there are. Martin Buber said: "Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique...There has never been anyone like him in the world, for if there had been someone like him, there would have been no need for him to be in the world. Every man is a new thing in the world and is called upon to fulfill his particularity in this world." So let us not doubt that God has His good reasons for our being.