April 2014
From Pastor to Pasture

Like a Straddled Squirrel

There is just something unique about the movements of a panicked squirrel and the look on its face just as you watch it disappear under your front bumper. It comes running out onto the highway like a streak of lightning and just as it gets about half way across your lane it just freezes, turns toward your truck and, with a look of complete terror and confusion, it begins to dart to the left and then to the right, back and forth, back and forth, but never seems able to make a decision to go one way or the other until it is too late.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this scenario played out. Sometimes the outcome is better than others, but there is just something about a squirrel’s makeup that gives them the tendency to be indecisive when it is absolutely critical they make a decision. They have plenty of time to make up their mind which way they will go to escape the danger, but their decision not to make a decision, their failure to commit to one direction or the other, leaves them in this helpless predicament. The outcome of the squirrel’s indecisiveness is usually just as catastrophic as making the wrong decision.

Their decision to not make a decision sometimes has consequences beyond the welfare of the squirrel itself. My daddy instilled in me when I was learning how to drive that I should never swerve to avoid hitting an animal. I had better not run over any animal intentionally (unless it was a snake), but I also had better not wreck or cause someone else to wreck just to avoid hitting an animal. I personally know people who have had tragic accidents that caused severe damage and could have killed them or others just because they tried to dodge an indecisive squirrel. The squirrel did not plan to cause an accident that would hurt someone else - it was just jumping around trying to make a decision as to which way to go, but never committed one way or the other. The squirrel’s indecisiveness was not only catastrophic to itself, but caused a chain reaction impacting others and could have caused them great harm.

At some point in our life, we are all just like the squirrel. Death and destruction are surely coming and they are coming fast. We have time now to make a decision, but if we tarry too long it will be too late. Unlike the squirrel, those of us who have been blessed to hear the Good News of what Jesus Christ has done for us have the opportunity and the obligation to make an informed decision as to whether we will choose life or choose death. But, like the squirrel, failure to make a decision is the same as making the wrong one. Frankly, refusing to decide what we will do with Jesus is the exact same as rejecting Him. And like the squirrel, not only does our decision affect our wellbeing and eternal destiny, but it will also affect the decisions of others whether or not it is our intention to do so.

Jesus tells us that He is THE way, THE truth and THE life and that nobody comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) There is absolutely no other way we can be saved. We cannot buy salvation, we cannot earn it and we cannot live good enough that we deserve it! Only when we repent (turn away from our sin and follow Jesus) and put our faith in what He did for us in His substitutionary death and resurrection can we be saved and have eternal life.

He promised that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) There is no sin He will not forgive and no sinner He will not take back, wash clean with His blood and receive as His own, except the sin of rejecting Him. Remember, that failure to make a decision to follow Him is the same as making a decision to reject Him!

Jesus tells us that whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in Him stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18) He tells us, before we make a decision to believe in His saving grace and turn from our sin and follow Him, we are already hell bound and condemned to eternal death. When we make the decision to really believe in Him, we are born again and we are delivered and cleansed from our sin; our hearts, minds and actions are transformed; our condemnation is replaced with forgiveness; and our eternal destiny is changed from Hell to Heaven.

I cannot say it enough - indecisiveness, the failure to totally commit to His Lordship is the exact same as making the decision to reject Him. I think the Rev. Billy Graham explained it best when he said to "believe" in Jesus is to "commit" to Jesus. Belief is not just intellectually acknowledging the facts about Jesus as true, but the turning of our lives over to Him. Jesus has paid the price for our sin debt and He invites us to turn from our sin and follow Him so we can be forgiven, be reconciled to the Holy Father and be filled with the power and the peace of the Holy Spirit, but He always leaves the choice up to us if we will follow Him or reject Him.

Jesus goes on to tell us that He had rather us be either hot or cold because if we are lukewarm, He will vomit us out of His mouth. (Revelation 3:15-17) Just sitting in the middle of the road jumping a little bit this way and a little bit the other way but never making a sold-out decision to completely follow or reject Jesus will surely result in us being road kill! Just going to church, being baptized or confirmed, being spiritual or religious, praying when we have a need and putting something in the offering plate without turning our life completely over to Him and following Him is to be just lukewarm!

Jesus tells us that TODAY is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2) What do you do when you find yourself like the straddled squirrel and know you are not where you need to be and you have to make a decision? Do not tarry too long. You have to make a decision and whatever you decide will have life or death consequences - not only for you but also for others. Someone is watching you, especially those who are the closest to you and who look up to you for direction for their lives. The very ones you love the most are likely to follow you wherever you lead them!

Get out of the middle of the road while you have time! Choose life, choose Jesus. Tell all the other "straddled squirrels" you know how they can do the same.

Glenn Crumpler is is president of Cattle for Christ International, Inc. He can be contacted at 334-393-4700 (home), 333-4400 (mobile) or www.CattleforChrist.com.