Week of September 10

Todd JonesMy Dear Friends,

One of my favorite things to do in our wonderful city is to hike the Warner Woods Loop in Percy Warner Park. Recently, in the interest of erosion control, the course of this two-and-a-half-mile trail has been altered. In digging a new path for the trail in two places, they unwittingly uncovered two active bumble bee nests. So in two places along the new trail, you are greeted by signs that say,

BUMBLE BEE NEST AHEAD.
PASS BY QUICKLY.
LEASH ALL DOGS.

These homemade signs make me smile each time I pass them, and the more I read them, the more wisdom I find. There is always wisdom in taking into account what lies ahead on the road of life. All of us do well to factor in what the future might hold and to anticipate how that future might influence your actions today. Some things take us by surprise, but there are others that telegraph themselves. We should learn to think ahead.
Additionally, there is a world of wisdom in anticipating potential trouble spots and avoiding those which can easily be sidestepped. At the end of his life, Paul wrote to young Timothy and said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” There are indeed “good fights” that must be joined if we are to live well and keep faith with both God and ourselves. The fight for justice is one that God would always have us join. The fight against hunger and homelessness is a constant Biblical call. The fight for what you believe in most deeply is one that people of faith have always joined. The fight for freedom and for human rights summon many to enter in “the good fight.” But not every fight qualifies as a “good fight.” Some fights are not worth our trouble, and sometimes we join fights out of ignorance or foolishness or just plain fear. Jesus said once, “Be wise as serpents, be harmless as doves.” I want to suggest that passing by quickly a potential bee’s hive, whether literal or figurative, can be what Jesus called wisdom.
Things can be said to you to elicit a response, and wisdom often is found in not taking the bait. There are words that are better left unsaid and fights that are wisely avoided, because they are not worth waging. I recall times when I wish I could take back the words that tumbled out of my mouth. They were not things I needed to say at all, and they caused both hurt and anger. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” In the French, the word for peacemaker can also be translated “artisan of peace.” How blessed are those who know the craft of bringing peace into this world! Part of this art is found in knowing when to avoid an unnecessary fight, a fight that is finally not at all what Paul called “the good fight.”

BUMBLE BEE NEST AHEAD.
PASS BY QUICKLY.
LEASH ALL DOGS.

Let those who have ears to hear, listen!

With Love and Prayers,

Todd Jones

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