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Computer Concepts

Jesus often used illustrations, analogies and "parables" (basically, stories) to speak to people. One result of using these methods, was that people really needed to ponder the things He was saying. Also, it helped to bring concepts "closer to home"; because these stories often involved everyday situations: such as kings and their subjects, shepherds and sheep, gardeners and trees, fields, vines, plants, etc. Those stories still speak deeply to many hearts (including my own), to this very day.

Recently, some events in my own life seem to have coincided in such a way that they "spoke" to my heart. Whether it was just my own mind, or actually the Holy Spirit helping me understand some confusing thoughts, I don't know for sure. Regardless, it certainly touched my heart, and I think the notions are worth sharing for any "kindred spirits" that might be equally blessed.

Now, this "story" is largely based on the understandings of this "closet computer geek" :) . If you know absolutely nothing about computers, you may want to explore some of the other meditations posted at this site. On the other hand, if you or a friend of yours IS a "techie", "nerd", "geek", "computer wiz", or however you want to put it (and I use all those terms quite affectionately, by the way :) ; you may want to check this out and/or share it with such a friend.


Where it all Started

Over the past several weeks and months, I have been very blessed to have been "in the right place at the right time", to minister God's love to a hurting "brother" in need. It has been obvious to me (and to this brother) that God has lovingly orchestrated our interactions to speak to him in a way that he was able to "hear". Through our discussions, God seemed to be reiterating His love and commitment to this brother, even though his circumstances had been leaving him feeling very "abandoned" at times.

In our most recent conversation, he told me that God has used our conversations to change his mindset, and that he'd "never be the same". He was saying how thankful he was for God sending me into his life, etc. I am equally grateful for all that God has done, yet I felt somewhat uneasy about this brother focusing his "thanks" at me. Not that I didn't do anything, because certainly, I did reach out to him. But I didn't truly "do" the thing for which he is most thankful. God did all that. He moved my heart to be at that particular place at that particular time. He moved my heart to speak the words that were changing this brother's heart. I felt almost like a grateful "cog in a wheel", so to speak ... So I pondered...

It brought to mind a scripture passage from Luke (17:7-10) in which Jesus says the following:

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

Mind you, I mean no "false humility" by quoting a verse that says we are "unworthy servants"... But in that culture, a servant really didn't have any expectation of his master "thanking" him, because he was just doing what his position in life expected of him ... doing his master's bidding. And in a lot of ways, our relationships with Jesus could be likened to that type of interaction.

Somehow, thinking about all that brought to mind something that had happened recently with our computer. Those who hang around here at Shining River will remember that we were having computer problems over the past couple of months. One of the many problems that we had addressed over those months, spoke very clearly to my heart, as I remembered the process. The "word picture" was very clear to me. The analogy is certainly not "perfect", so please don't take it too far. In general, though, it really helped me clarify why my "gut" was desiring to make very clear where the "thanks" should be directed.


Cable Connection

When our computer began "acting up", it was showing symptoms that the hard drive might be about to "die". In order to determine if it actually was dying or not, we had to run some troubleshooting tests to rule out other causes. After much "tinkering" inside the computer tower, our tests showed that it wasn't the hard drive at all that was the problem, but rather a bad cable that connected the hard drive to the motherboard, and also possibly a loose power connection to the motherboard. Because of these poor connections, the hard drive was working, but it was showing signs of dying and not being as effective as it should have been. We put in a new cable, and plugged in the power supply all the way, and everything began working as it should again.

As I thought about that scenario, it began to illustrate what was happening in my heart. I thought of the various computer components in the following ways:

God was represented in several ways (and although these are not completely accurate representations of Who He is, they give at least a small glimpse). 1. The Father, I saw as the "Computer Wiz", essentially. The One who sits above it all, and in some ways the One who might even cause all the other parts to come together, work out their connections, etc. 2. Jesus, I saw as the "CPU" (central processing unit), which is really the "brains", and the most essential component connected to the motherboard. Without that component, no computer can run. 3. The Spirit I saw as the "power supply", supplying the energy and power for the computer to function. 4. The Church I saw as the many interconnected components of the motherboard. Many parts, all aimed at accomplishing the task that the "Computer Wiz" had in mind.

And finally, my friend's life, I saw as the "hard drive". His (and ours) is the "blank slate" on which God would imprint His message of love. My own life, I saw as the "IDE cable" that connects the motherboard (and thus the CPU) to the hard drive.

My life was simply a connection, a conduit, a wire, or however you want to think of it; through which the love of God could flow, to make His ultimate impact on the "hard drive" of my friend's life.

At this point, the analogy would probably break down a little, because I also think of myself as a member of that "motherboard" of the "Church". And also, for anyone who considered themselves a "hard drive" who had been reached by the love of God, they would eventually end up as a component of the "motherboard" or as a cable as well. Last I checked, hard drives can't change into other computer components :) ... but you get the picture, I hope. In each others' lives, we can represent different components ranging from parts of the motherboard, cables or hard drives. But all of us are simply geared to fulfilling the purposes of the "Computer Wiz" (Father), through the wisdom and direction of the "CPU" (Jesus), and by the strength of His "Power Supply" (Spirit).

That word picture helped me understand why something felt a little "off" about having someone thank me for something so life changing. I was simply a component placed in the right place at the right time. It was the Father's love that reached out to put me there for that brother at that moment.

Surely, we all have people in our lives for whom we are eternally grateful, knowing that God has worked mightily through them to change us to the very core. I have several people in my life that would fit that description. I thank God for them all the time. And having such grateful hearts is a really good thing.

I was blessed to see the higher picture though, through that illustration. A simple everyday occurrence helped me see why it's not the components that deserve our eternal gratitude. It is rather the One Who sits above those components, and graciously uses them to write His message on the blank slates of our hearts; the One Who is the Head of the Church; the One Who empowers us to do His will ... The One to Whom we all owe an eternal debt of gratitude, respect, awe, honor, and love--for truly, He has done wonderful things.

Jesus put it this way in John 15:5:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Surely, His words are far more poetic and true than mine could ever be. A gardener would know exactly what He meant (and I am also an avid gardener, so those words speak much "life" to me too). For the computer geeks among us, I hope this word picture will provide a way to grasp some of what He meant when He said that...

So I ask you, where do you fit into the picture? Is your hard drive functioning poorly, and in need of His service? If so, I pray for Him to connect up just the perfect set of components to make His love known to you. Or perhaps He is desiring to place you into service as a component of that motherboard of the Church ... or maybe use you as a cable to connect up another person's life to the Source of all He is. I pray that He will have free access to your life to do all that He desires within your own heart, and the hearts of those that surround you this day.


March 18, 2004

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