pc-usa 2018-02-13 - Tiny Washers

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Since Richard spent most of his professional career in the Air Traffic Control system, we are naturally interested in any factual television shows related to aircraft. One of our favorite shows is Air Disasters which shows the forensic investigations of air crashes around the world, many of which Richard remembers hearing about before he retired.

One recent episode focused on the near-disaster of a 747, a $70 million dollar jet that was carrying 165 people. Miraculously, no one was killed. But if they had been in the air, it could have been disastrous. Amazingly, the entire incident was caused by a tiny metal piece called a washer, less than an inch wide. Because a maintenance man forgot to put the tiny washer back on, a bolt came loose and punctured fuel tank, causing an inferno that destroyed the entire plane. Since they hadn’t yet taken off, all passengers and crew were able to evacuate safely.

This really struck me, what damage could be done by such a tiny piece of metal, seemingly insignificant to we.. non-mechanical types. It reminds me of a warning that was given to us in the Bible in James 3 (MSG):

1-2 Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.
3-5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything–or destroy it!
5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue–it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

Doesn’t this speak to all of us today? Does it mean that we should never say something that offends someone else? Of course not. If we are standing up for God’s principles, we will often offend people who don’t hold those same values; that is inevitable, but is sometimes a necessary part of witnessing or taking a stand. The key is to pray before we speak or write, and try to ensure that our words are from God. Christ wasn’t always sweet or soft-spoken - but He was always speaking for God.

Not only does it apply to hastily-spoken words, but it could also apply to and sin in our lives, that we might consider “nothing much.” Let’s say that we tell a small lie. That lie can entangle us into covering with another and another, not to mention causing separation between us and God, as well as the person(s) to whom we are lying. Just like small crimes rarely stop even with “mercy from the court,” likewise our so-called small sins usuually build on each other. It’s best to try, as someone has said, to “keep short accounts with God,” by praying through the day, confessing and asking for God’s forgiveness as soon as He reveals sin to us, and asking Him to guide our thoughts, actions and words. Even the “tiny washers” of our lives are important in our Christian life and relationships.

Comments or Questions?
[email jan] Janice P. Moser


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All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

CFD | February 2018 | Jan's Devotions | Yesterday's Devotion | Devotional Topics