14 May, 2012

Sail Boat or Windmill?

This morning James Cossey, the Church of God Administrative Bishop for the State of Michigan posted the following on Facebook. I contacted him and asked for permission to use his post here. The first section is a devotion from "Our Daily Bread" followed by Brother Cossey's writing. 
Excellent thoughts Brother Cossey! Thanks again for allowing me to pass this on.

A man who grew up on a ranch in West Texas tells about a rickety, old windmill that stood alongside his family’s barn and pumped water to their place. It was the only source of water for miles.

In a strong wind the windmill worked well, but in a light breeze it wouldn’t turn. It required manually turning the vane until the fan faced directly into the wind. Only when properly positioned did the windmill supply water to the ranch.

I think of that story when I meet with pastors from small churches in remote areas. Many feel isolated and unsupported—caregivers for whom no one seems to care. As a consequence, they grow weary and struggle to bring life-giving water to their flock. I like to tell them about the old windmill and our need to daily reposition ourselves—to intentionally turn toward the Lord and His Word and to drink deeply from Him who is the source of living water.

What’s true for pastors is true for all. Service for God flows from within, outward. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). It’s when God speaks to our depths that we are able to touch the lives of others. To refresh others, let’s return to the Source of life regularly.

When our hearts grow weary,
When our spirits dim,
He will go before us,
Leave it all to Him. —Anon.
When you’re weary in life’s struggles, find strength in the Lord.


Let me expand on it a bit and compare a WINDMILL to a SAIL. Many of us as believers want to be like SAILS. We want to "get somewhere," to "go somewhere," and to "keep moving." To do so, we try to catch the latest wind and see if it will move us along. A "fresh word," a "prophetic word," or a "fresh touch" is what we thrive on. This is why some people bounce from revival to revival and become professional church hoppers! Problem is, sails have no rooting. They are attached to boats that skim along on the surface of the water, and they are often victims of the wind as surely as being blessed by the wind. Sails are great recreational vehicles. "Christian sails" are usually just recreational Christians!

A windmill, on the other hand, doesn't "go anywhere," doesn't "move along," and doesn't appear nearly as attractive as a moving sail. But it is attached to a structure with deep foundations, usually reinforced with concrete. And while the sail moves along at the wishes of the wind, the windmill stands firm and harnesses the wind for productive purposes.

The windmill braces itself and takes the brunt force of the wind head-on, for it is only as the wind hits the windmill head-on that the windmill can be productive and perform its assigned task of pumping water or creating energy. The windmill doesn't run away from the pressures that it faces, it turns itself toward the pressure it faces. Indeed, when the pressure of the wind changes directions, the windmill's vain must be adjusted so as to again face the pressure head-on. It is only the force of pressure from the wind that makes the windmill productive. A Windmill Christian is like the Psalm 1 man that David wrote about, "Planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit..."

Next time you and I face the pressures of life--work, family, ministry--remember that instead of turning away from the pressure or praying for it to be relieved, we should perhaps double check to see that our vane is adjusted so that we are facing the brunt of the pressure. Only then can we be productive. Unless, you just want to "sail along" with no productivity. -- James Edwin Cossey

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