Monday, July 15, 2013

"Pooh Gets into a Tight Place" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 331
“Pooh Gets Into a Tight Place”
By Greg Smith

            A.A. Milne’s 1926 classic children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh has become a favorite not just of children, but of young and old alike.  In chapter two, “In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets into a Tight Place,” the silly old bear visits Rabbit in his hole.  Eating too much honey, he gets stuck trying to crawl out of the hole.  Finally, they decide that the only thing for it for Pooh to wait a week or so and think thin thoughts.  Christopher Robin joins them, keeping Pooh company the whole time.  When the big day comes, all of Rabbit’s friends and relations gather together and pull on Pooh until he pops out, like a cork coming out of a bottle.

            Pooh had many friends in the Hundred Aker Wood.  Among characters like Kanga, Piglet, Eeyore, and Owl, Pooh should have had a friend named Ezekiel.  In Ezekiel 33:7 (ESV), God says, “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel.  Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.”  God tells the prophet to warn his people whenever he sees them about to fall into sin.  If Ezekiel warns them and they listen, wonderful!  If he warns them and they don’t listen, then their destruction is their own fault.  But if Ezekiel refuses to warn them and they are destroyed, then their blood is upon Ezekiel’s head.

            Like Ezekiel, every Christian is appointed as a watchman for their brothers and sisters.  But too often we are like Pooh’s friend Rabbit.  “’It all comes,’ said Rabbit sternly, ‘of eating too much. I thought at the time,’ said Rabbit, ‘only I didn't like to say anything,’ said Rabbit, ‘that one of us has eating too much,’ said Rabbit, ‘and I knew it wasn't me,’ he said.”  Like Rabbit, we are afraid to say anything when we see another person’s sin creating problems for them.  We don’t want people to call us the “morality police,” or say that we’re being judgmental.  So we prefer to say nothing.

            But we are called to keep watch over God’s people.  This means that when you see them in trouble it is your duty to warn them by speaking the truth in love.  You’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I love this person more, or do I love their company more?”  Then, you’ve got to be willing to tell the truth, even if they reject you when they hear the truth.

            Of course, they might not listen, and they might get stuck anyway.  Then, if you want to be opportunistic and use your friends who are in a tight spot, then you can choose to be like Rabbit, who used Pooh’s back legs as a towel rack for a week.  Or, if you want to be like Christopher Robin then you’ll stand by that person and keep them company while they wait on the Holy Spirit to move.  Like the boy who read the Sustaining Book to Pooh, you can share God’s word with those in need.  You can be a Christopher (a name that literally means “Christ-bearer”) to them.  And, like the woodland creatures who pulled and pulled until Pooh came free, you can join with other believers to lend a hand.

            Do you know someone who’s gotten themselves into a tight place?  God wants to pop them out of their sticky situation, like a cork coming out of a bottle.  But He wants you to help.  If you can prevent their dilemma, then do your best to lovingly warn them before the trouble comes.  But if they don’t listen and they find themselves in bind, you should be there to pull them out.  God has made you a watchman, a Christ-bearer, a Christopher, for all the silly old bears in the world.

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