Ministry Resources

Coffee Stains: Bottom Feeders

Author: David Porter

Once I was watching the weather on the evening news when I got bothered. Our friendly weatherman had just informed us that through four or five months of the year, we were two inches ahead of the normal rainfall.

That was good news because we’d been in a drought. He couldn’t let it lie though adding something like, ‘Let’s hope that old summer heat and dryness doesn’t stop the rain.’ ‘You turkey!’ I said to the television screen. ‘Bottom feeder!’ I muttered to myself. Why is it that we can’t stand prosperity? Each evening, the news reports treat us to all the worst things that happen in our area and if something good happens they try to make us fear that the something bad is lurking out there to steal it’s place. It’s not enough that it’s hot. We’ve got to have a heat index to make it seem hotter. Who can chill when he knows the chill factor?

‘Yes, Jim. There’s a car in the ditch off of I-20. Traffic is backed up for a quarter of a mile. Better avoid that area.’ ‘Yes, it’s a terrible story, this mother ”blah, blah, blah.” ‘We’ll be right back in a moment with the video you can’t miss. A SUV clips a police car and is caught on video. Stay right there!’ (‘But I gotta go to the baaathroom!’)

There’s a little bit of vulture roosting in human nature, else they would never feed us such a steady diet of negativism. It’s not news when something goes right, when a movie star stays married, or when everyone is happy with the president, his congressman, and his wife. Give your wife flowers and she’s the only one who knows it. Shoot her and it’s national news (that’s not a suggestion).

And it’s even that way in church. I heard a group singing in a service one time and in the dead spot between songs the lady lamented what a cold winter we were having. ‘And they say this is going to be one of the hottest summers ever,’ she mourned. I think there must have been some spiritual significance in there somewhere.

What if we expected good instead of bad? What if we thought about what is going right instead of what is going wrong? Our papers are full of twisted preachers, cheating corporation owners, ambulance-chasing lawyers, and politicians on the take. But not everyone is like that, not even the majority. But we begin to get the impression that everyone is like that.

David told us how he kept away from discouragement.

‘I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.’ (Ps. 101:3-7, NIV)

David decided that gossip, sensationalism and ugliness weren’t on the menu at his house. He kept his eyes on people who were doing right and not the crooks. Maybe that was part of the reason that he was Israel’s greatest king.

A steady diet of negativism, gossip, and ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do’, will assassinate anyone’s faith. Let’s be careful about what goes into us because that helps decide what kind of people we will be.

Have a great week in the Lord,


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