This ancient proverb has been on my mind since early Friday, after hearing the story of a leader in his fifties. He fortunately had heeded cautions offered to him early on in life. The reference is to what can occur when one let’s down their spiritual guard. I find it applies both individually and corporately.
This sage advice is a reinterpretation of the ancient caution offered to Cain in Genesis 4:7; ironically the text of my reading this morning. When one’s heart is not attentive to the Spirit, distracted perhaps by unconquered temptations, “if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (NIV).
Unlike the gentleman who shared with us, I know what it is like to share life with a camel. It usually begins when we sense the nuzzling of the beast around our tent. Annoying perhaps, but occasionally we pat its warm moist nose as it nudges the underneath our spirit; always in strategic places, where life has made us vulnerable. That stubbornly intrusive nose once petted is only encouraged, and the beast then pushes a little further into our camp. Eventually unless conquered, one finds the camel inside their “living quarters” and from there on, life becomes about managing the camel for the sake of the tent.
Perhaps the experience with my own camel, has made me more sensitive to the odor of the beast?
I truly find it interesting that God would speak to my spirit as often as it seems. Could that be God’s way of working evil (my sin) for the good? I know I will get push back from the more righteous and even offers for needed deliverance, but I will take that risk.
“In 2007, there were 227 million adults in the United States, and a little more than 78% of them – or roughly 178 million – identified as Christians. Between 2007 and 2014, the overall size of the U.S. adult population grew by about 18 million people, to nearly 245 million.7 But the share of adults who identify as Christians fell to just under 71%, or approximately 173 million Americans, a net decline of about 5 million.”1
Those of you who have been reading long enough may know that my mornings are an intense use of time from scripture reading, social media, emails and of course the local newspaper. That then transcends to what I might pray about before re-entering the community to which I am called. This morning as I read the statistic cited above, just on the heels of my current scripture read in Genesis, the title still resonating from Friday, I could not help but go to my workstation and “think out loud,” the nature of my blog.
I had also had read an editorial by a local teacher, Stuart Egan, proudly from my own community:
“One in five children in North Carolina lives in poverty and many more have other pressing needs that affect the ability to learn. Some students come to school just to be safe and have a meal. But imagine if students came to school physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to learn.”2
Stuart’s passionate plea for help in the classroom was starkly on point per my thoughts and given another report on Executive salaries. 3 Some total compensation ranging above one million per month, though only a portion of that received as cash, perhaps for tax purposes.
My objective is not to throw stones at those who have learned how to make capitalism work, but to simply pose a question for my readers. The church is in decline while our national security is on high alert (ISIS now regularly in the headlines). Our schools are struggling with a bourgeoning population of young lives, full of potential but grossly underfunded or the model broken. Meanwhile, the economic gap between the haves and the have-nots widens.
America, is there a camel in our tent?