Rev Andrew J Demotses
Several years ago, we lost a large, thirty-five year old maple tree in our front yard. At the recommendation of a friend, we hired a tree company to remove the tree and grind the stump. On the appointed day, the crew arrived with all its equipment and began to bring the tree down. As I watched them working , I was amazed by their skill and expertise. In short order, they
had removed the side branches, felled the trunk, cut it into pieces, and carted it away. Shortly thereafter, another two men arrived with a stump grinder, and in two hours the area where the tree once grew was ready to be
seeded with grass.
Less than a week later, I noticed a brief article in the newspaper about that same tree company. They were hired to remove an old diseased oak tree. They felled the tree all right, but it fell in the wrong direction and hitting a garage, collapsed its roof.
I assume that those workmen, perhaps the very ones who had worked at my house, had approached that job quite confidently. They had years of experience, after all, and had completed countless similar assignments with no difficulty. But this time was different. They demonstrated that even seasoned professionals are capable of making a mistake. Overconfidence
breeds carelessness, and oftentimes even the smallest miscalculation can cause unforeseen consequences.
The same is true in the Christian life. We have not been given any guarantee of immunity to the subtle snares of temptation. Complacency can lead us in the most subtle ways down a path that we would not have otherwise taken had we been more vigilant. More often than not, we slip away from the faithful life by inches rather than by miles, and so are entirely unaware of
how far we may have strayed.
Each of us needs to take a personal inventory with regularity and all earnestness if we want to maintain a close walk with God. We can count on Him to be faithful, but we too must do our part. This is precisely what St. Paul was warning about when he pointed out the dangers of overconfidence and self-righteousness. He wrote, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take care lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12). Let us always be mindful of that sage
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