Thinking Right in a Gone-Wrong World
September 26, 2020
While walking through the forest one day, a man found a young eagle that had fallen out of his nest. He took it home and put it in his barnyard, where it soon learned to eat and behave like the chickens. One day a naturalist passed by the farm and asked why it was that the king of all birds should be confined to live in the barnyard with the chickens. The farmer replied that since he had given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken, it had never learned to fly. Since it now behaved as the chickens, it was no longer an eagle.
“Still it has the heart of an eagle,” replied the naturalist, “and can surely be taught to fly.” He lifted the eagle toward the sky and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again.
The naturalist took the bird to the roof of the house and urged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” But the eagle was afraid and jumped down once more for the chicken food.
Finally the naturalist took the eagle out of the barnyard, to a high mountain. There he held the king of the birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. You belong to the sky. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” The eagle looked around, back toward the barnyard and up to the sky. Then the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun, and the eagle began to tremble. Slowly he stretched his wings, and, with a triumphant cry, soared away into the heavens.
It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia. It may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken.—Theology News and Notes, October 1976, quoted in Multnomah Message, Spring 1993, p. 1.
» What do you think might be the parallels between the experience of the eaglet that learned how to fly and our experience as agents of God’s kingdom on this earth? How can you apply to your life in a spiritual sense the words of the naturalist: “You belong to the sky and not to the earth”? What Bible passages help you discover who you are and, most important, Whose you are?
Memory Text: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 19, The Law of God: “The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 48-50
Read Psalm 19:7-10.
Whether you go to a government school or a private school think about how you would answer this question in class if your teacher said: “OK, class. Today for a writing exercise we are going to write out a declaration of our beliefs to read to the class. That’s right. I want to know what you believe (for example: Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going?—and this doesn’t mean where you were born and where you have lived). I’m not interested in what you think or hope to be true, I want to know what you know to be true. Here is the catch: you need to say it in about 75 words. That’s about five to eight sentences. And try to convince me! Go!”
So what would you say? What would you do? What are some things you should be careful of as you write or respond publicly? What should you be bold about?
Read Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:36-40; John 14:15.
The Ten Commandments given on Sinai were to help us know how to honor God and live with one another in peace, harmony, and love. Jesus taught that the essence of the Ten Commandments is love for God and love for one another. We show our love and faithfulness to God when we obey and love Him and reflect His love to others just as Jesus did when He was here on earth.
Can you explain how the Ten Commandments are reflected in the two main commandments that Jesus used to summarize the whole law, in Matthew 22:36-40?
Using the words in the word bank, complete the Bible verses below. Hint: some words are used more than once. The texts are from NKJV.
faith patience know Revelation love saints keep John burdensome commandments
“Now by this we know that we Him, if we His” (1 2:3).
“For this is the of God, that we His. And His are not” (1 5:3). “Here is the of the; here are those who the of God and the of Jesus” ( 14:12).
Read Daniel 3:16-18.
What is so exciting about our world today is that people are hungry for a faith that calls for a full commitment. A lot of people today are looking for what is powerful. Don’t you think most people want to believe in something more than just a religion that calls them to be nice? The power of God’s timeless truth is that it has an answer for injustice—God will make it right. The Scriptures will equip believers with unexplainable joy along with the love of God, so they can stand up boldly for Him.
Look around your world and see if we couldn’t use a few people like Joseph, Esther, Daniel, and Elijah to stand up to the compromising leaders of this world. These are the people who put their trust in God and followed His timeless principles of truth. You can be sure that they relied on God’s love and perfect standard of truth as they ventured into the unknown. What about you? Think about God’s timeless truths and take a stand to live by them to honor God.
Match the verse with the phrase that has been extracted from the verse, using Biblegateway.com. All verses have been taken from the New International Version of the Bible.
A. Philippians 2:14-16
B. Romans 1:18-20
C. John 18:33-39
D. Psalm 19:7-10
E. Daniel 3:16-18
F. 2 Timothy 1:12
G. Proverbs 14:12
H. Matthew 7:13, 14
I. John 14:6
“The law of the Lord is perfect . . .”
“No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“We will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life . . .”
“Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed . . .”
“There is a way that appears to be right . . .”
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven . . .”
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing . . .”
Read John 14:6.
Review the memory text.
It has been noted that God’s law was not invented at Mount Sinai but was written in the hearts of His people with four letters: LOVE. If we truly followed the principle of “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself,” we would see a different world than what we see today. It was only after sin made its way into our world that we ever realized that there was a law. And now we know what it is like to live in a world that puts a defiant hand up to God, saying, “No, thank You!”
Timeless truths are what make following Jesus worthwhile. He was there before the world began and will be there after all is said and done. Jesus said, “I am the beginning and the end” (see Rev. 21:6) in a world that wonders how it all began and fearfully approaches how it all will end. As we approach Jesus every day He also puts His hand up, not to say “No, thank you,” but to show you His most enduring, timeless quality in His nail-scarred hand. Enough said.
“Where the rubber meets the road” is a common saying about what is practical and doable. When a car drives normally the friction from the road causes heat and some of the rubber is left on the road. When the friction is abrupt and forceful (stopping or starting abruptly) the skid marks are clearly seen. As it relates to your beliefs, do you tend to leave an unseen residue on the road or giant skid marks? When the rubber of your beliefs hits the road of the world, does it leave a mark? Is it evident which kingdom you belong to? Another way to say it would be: In your world, what do those around you really know about what you believe?
In the spaces below write either a belief that you demonstrate in your life already, or one you would like to demonstrate this week. Leave some rubber on the road!