In early March of 1981, I parachuted into Fort Wainwright, Alaska with the 2nd Ranger Battalion for Arctic training. It was a frigid 45 degrees below zero the day we dropped into knee deep snow. We spent the next month camping and bivouacking in the boondocks, honing winter skills like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and eating frozen C-rations. A few weeks into our training a friend and I, his name was Ernie, decided to go camping during one of our weekends off. I guess we hadn’t gotten our fill of camping yet. We cross-country skied a few miles out of town following the rail road tracks. At a small siding we found the perfect campsite. It provided us with a pile of firewood, a firepit, logs to sit on, and an open boxcar with some strewn hay in it—a sweet setup. After an evening around the campfire, we tossed our gear into the box car, layed our sleeping bags out on top of beds of hay, stripped down to our long underwear, and climbed into our cozy beds for the night.
In the middle of the night we were awakened by a loud CRASH and a unnerving JOLT. What was that? We heard a locomotive powering up. NO!!! The boxcar started rolling down the tracks—towards Anchorage. Feverishly, we flew out of our bags and starting tossing our gear out the open door into the snow…sleeping bags, packs, clothes, boots, cross-country skiis. By the time we jumped out, we were several hundred yards down the track and the train was moving around ten miles an hour. The next few minutes were both pathetic and hilarious as two guys in their longjohns and socks ran along the tracks trying to gather up their clothes and gear. Nothing like running through the snow in your socks in below zero weather trying to find your boots, which are buried in the snow. Ultimately, we found all of our gear, built a fire, dried our socks, boots, and clothes, and had a good laugh. But there is a moral to this story. The boxcar had appeared to us to be very convenient. And it was. But it was also unwise, even dangerous. We could have ended up AWOL, or injured, or even dead.
Likewise, in our spiritual life we are often presented with opportunities or relationships that appear to be convenient. But we need to consult with biblical principle, not with convenience. Is this opportunity or relationship completely above board, or are there questionable elements about it? Is it honoring to God? Is it uplifting and edifying? Will I shine Jesus in it, or will it tarnish my devotion to Him? No Christian intentionally takes a train away from Jesus. But a few convenient choices can put you in a place where … all of a sudden … you wake up and find yourself on a train … rolling away from Jesus. Then panic and pandemonium set in. How much better to make wise choices instead of convenient choices so that you don’t find yourself in a train-bailing situation.
Eccles. 10:1, “As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly tarnishes a man’s reputation for wisdom and honor.” — A few poor choices can mess up your life and trash your testimony.
May you all have an amazing week following our amazing Savior in an amazing cause that leads to an amazing reward.
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard