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Is God Trying To Get Your Attention?
Andy Bustanoby
(C) August 13, 2005

     In the old days when mules were used for plowing, a farmer, who gave
     up farming, didn't know what to do with his unemployed mule.  He had
     grown very attached to the beast.  Finally, he decided to put it out
     to pasture.

     The farmer's neighbor, who needed a mule, noticed the idle mule in
     the pasture and asked if he could buy it.  The owner said, "I've had
     this mule for many years and am quite attached to it.  I'll sell it
     to you if you promise to take very good care of it.  I don't want
     you mistreating it." The neighbor agreed.

     Several days later the new owner went back to the previous owner
     complaining that the mule was stubborn and would do no work.  So the
     previous owner went to see what was going on.

     "Let me see what you're doing," the former owner asked.  So the new
     owner got behind the mule and plow, shook the reins, and yelled, "Ye
     Ha!" to get the mule to start plowing.

     Nothing!  The mule just stood there. Several times the farmer
     yelled, "Ye Ha," but still nothing.

     The former owner said, "You're doing everything right, except for
     one thing."  He got behind the plow, took the reins in one hand, and
     with several feet of slack rein in the other hand, he smacked the
     mule twice on the rear end, and yelled, "Ye Ha!"  The mule
     obediently began plowing.

     The new owner was amazed.  When he found his tongue, he said, "Wait
     a minute.  You told me to take very good care of this mule and not
     mistreat it, and here you go and smack it with the reins."

     "That's right," the former owner said.  "But if you're going to get
     him to do what he's supposed to do, you have to get his attention

     I thought of this story when I was reading Hebrews 12 on
     chastening.  "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
     nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  for whom the Lord loveth he
     chasteneth . . ." (Heb. 12:5b-6).  In Scripture, instruction and
     chastening are inseparable.

     The Hebrew word musar is used twenty-four times in the Book of
     Proverbs where instruction and chastisment are almost synonymous.
     It is a truism of education that if we are to be instructed, the
     instructor must first have our attention!

     Perhaps that sharp pain you're feeling on your gluteus maximus is a
     message from The Instructor that He wants your attention.

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