Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

Busy schedules that revolve around multi-tasking, cell phones, pagers, PDA’s, GPS’s, the world wide web, blackberries, droids, googles, electronic books with your face on ‘em, or whatever your particular ball-and-chain might be, have created multiple problems. I noticed with interest the other day where a nearby city council passed an ordinance banning texting while driving on the streets of their fair city. That might be a good idea. But that’s not for me to decide. I’m looking at a much bigger problem out there on the information highway.

This is just me, and you have the right to agree or disagree with me, but I believe this Wireless Electronic Age has caused the extinction of something akin to the demise of dinosaurs from the earth. I call it the Death of Day-Dreamin’. When was the last time you let day-dreamin’ carry you to a far-away land. Now, I’m not talkin’ about the kind of day-dreamin’ that certain classmates of mine regularly got caught up in during Senior English at ol’ SHS while Miss Barron was conjugatin’ a verb. Or when Miss Beatty was teachin’ future doctors how to write prescriptions in Latin. The names have been omitted to protect the guilty. But if I strung ‘em all together, it would sound like a New York law firm.

No, the kind of day-dreamin’ I’m talking about inspired you to reach beyond yourself and achieve greatness. Do I have an example? Thanks for asking! Back home on the farm at Route 4, Seneca, South Carolina, a country boy of ten could lean on his hoe handle in the middle of the garden and imagine himself strapped into the pilot’s seat of that jet airplane leavin’ its vapor trail across the blue horizon.

But you had to be careful who you told your day dreams to. Because a big brother who’s havin’ to chop the weeds and crab grass that you missed might not be so impressed by your lofty ambitions. His response would range anywhere from “get off your hoe handle and get back to work,” to “Yeah, when pigs fly.” Well, if you’ve spent any time at all around a farm, you know that pigs don’t fly.

And another thing. If you’ve ever had the ‘privilege’ of workin’ the garden with a stubborn mule, you know that the devil can get in your mouth and make you say words that aren’t in your Sunday School lesson. Daddy used to say that you just have to get a mule’s attention. And he did. With a 2-by-4 across the mule’s nose. I shudder to think what that mule would say if he could talk.

But we know that pigs don’t fly and mules don’t talk. Or do they? If God wanted them to, they could. He’s God. He can do anything He wants to do. And there just might be a lesson in there somewhere for us folks caught up in a world where hoein’ gardens, feedin’ pigs, and plowin’ mules is as common as seein’ Tyrannosaur Rex joggin’ around our cul-de-sac.

There’s at least one time in the Bible that God had to make a donkey talk to save a man’s life. It’s found in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 22. I’m not goin’ to steal your joy by tellin’ you the whole story. You’ll be fascinated and blessed if you read it for yourself. But let me hit just a couple of highlights.

An ol’ scaredy-cat king wanted this guy to put a curse on the Israelites, God’s chosen people. But God told him not to ‘mess with the blessed,’ so to speak. And Balaam listened. But then the ol’ king made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. So he saddled up his donkey and away he went. Pedal to the metal on the wrong dirt road! That made God very unhappy. So He sent the Angel of Death to stand in the middle of the road with a sword in his hand.

But this day-dreamin’ country boy couldn’t see his nose in front of his face. But his donkey did. In fact, the donkey saw the angel three times. And tried to run off the road all three times to save Balaam’s life. But Balaam just beat the donkey every time. Even one time when his foot was crushed between the donkey and a rock wall. Finally, the donkey had enough. Or rather, God had enough. So He made the donkey talk.

Balaam got so mad that he wanted to kill the donkey. But through the talking donkey, God opened Balaam’s eyes. That’s when he saw the angel with the sword. And it scared him silly! He fell to the ground on his face. If it hadn’t been for the talking donkey, the angel would have already killed Balaam. I don’t know about you, but I believe I would’ve been huggin’ that donkey’s neck! I’m tellin’ you, that was one smart donkey!

He offered to turn around and go back, but now that God had Balaam’s attention, he told him to go ahead, but not to open his mouth to speak unless the angel told him to. You just gotta read the whole story!

Does God have to make a donkey talk (or a pig fly!) before we obey Him? As a world, a nation, a state, or an individual person, we would do well to learn from this story. After all, we’re God’s children. And children have to learn to obey. Even if it takes a 2-by-4 across the nose to wake us up, shake us up, and make us see the light.

And that ain’t no day-dream!