Government officials in Delhi, India, were concerned about
the deadly Cobras in the area, so they came up with a simple solution: they put
a bounty on them. Citizens could turn in dead snakes for money.
Initially, that’s exactly what happened, but before long,
some people saw an opportunity. They began to breed cobras to turn in for the
bounty! The government was frustrated by this turn of events, so they cancelled
Now that the program was over, cobra breeders were out of
business. What did they do? They released their inventory into the wild. By the
time the program was over, there were more Cobras than ever!
What’s the moral of the story? There’s no problem that
government can’t make worse? Maybe!
Many times when I try to solve a problem, I make it worse.
Do you remember Abram and Sarai? They had a problem. God had
promised them children, but they didn’t have any. So they decided to solve the
problem themselves. Abram had a child by Sarai’s servant, Hagar. Not only did
this not solve the problem—God had told Abram and Sarai that they together
would have a son—but it made it worse. Now there is a woman scorned, a boy
raised in a broken home, and ultimately a new conflict that lasts throughout
the duration of history.
David’s sin with Bathsheba was bad enough, but it got even
worse when he tried to solve it at the expense of Uriah’s life.
Here’s some simple advice: when you mess up, do whatever you can not to make things worse!
This is the weekend set aside to honor the work of Dr. King.
Let’s honor his legacy by reflecting on a few of his challenging words.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do
that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
The time is always right to do what is right.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about
things that matter.
In the end, we will not remember the words of our
enemies, but the silence of our friends.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in
moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge
When he would preach about the parable of the Good Samaritan
in Luke 10, Dr. King suggested that the priest and the Levite might have passed
by the injured man because of fear. They were afraid of what they would miss
out on if they stopped. They were afraid of what might happen to them if they
stopped. Dr. King said the difference between them and the good Samaritan boiled
down to a question. The religious leaders asked, “What will happen to me if I
help?” The good Samaritan asked, “What will happen to him if I don’t?”
Life is precious. Man is made in God’s image, after his
likeness (Genesis 1:26). We are formed by God’s hand and inspired with God’s
very breath (Genesis 2:6-7).
You can even see this in the holiness codes in Leviticus.
Unclean animals, generally, are the ones that scavenge on the dead. People are made
ceremonially unclean when they come into contact with death or even things that
represent new life not beginning.
In this week’s daily Bible reading, a line in Genesis 9
stood out to me. God warned humanity that he would require an accounting
whenever blood was shed. That didn’t surprise me; I remembered when Abel was
murdered that his blood cried out from the ground (4:10). Of course humans are
accountable when they take life!
What surprised me was that God said “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man” (9:5).
Evidently, human life is so sacred that God will even call into judgment the wild animals that take it.
There’s even a law in Exodus 21:28 that calls for the
execution of an ox that gores a person to death. If its owner was grossly
negligent, the owner might meet the same fate.
Life is incredibly special, a gift to be cherished. Let’s
make sure that we treat every human life the way God intends for us to.