Monday, November 18, 2013


By David R. Ferguson

    When I was a child I used to love to walk to the pond that sat back in the woods about a half mile east of our house and watch the dragonflies hovering about in abundance during the long summer days. They really seemed to love that pond, as did the many bullfrogs who inhabited its shores, most likely drawn by the great number of dragonflies. And one of the things I really enjoyed to do in what to me at that time was assuredly a magical spot, was to pick up a small rock or pebble and throw it into the middle of the pond when the water was completely still, mirroring the azure blue sky above, and watch as the ripples from where the rock broke the calm, smooth surface of the water expanded and slowly moved outward in an ever-increasingly wider circle all the way to the surrounding shoreline. It was not uncommon for those dragonflies to change the course of their flight as the ripples neared them, or cause a bullfrog to leap into the water who had hitherto been content to stay where he was – until the rippling water disturbed him. I was too young to put it into words at that time, but what I was learning from nature itself about those ripples was the lesson of cause and effect. It was that rock I had thrown into the water which caused those ripples to flow outward, affecting things far from where that rock initially hit, even the behavior of dragonflies and bullfrogs.
    I know why it was today that thoughts of that pond and those rocks, dragonflies and bullfrogs came so vividly into my remembrance, for this morning I attended the funeral of a man who was 93 years old when he passed away. If one continued walking another half mile or so east from that little pond, one would come to the house where this man lived with his family. Although it is quite an achievement for a man to live this long, there is nothing particularly unusual about a man living to be 93 years old. But what makes this man noteworthy is the fact that he was even alive at all. You see, this man was born prematurely. He was not expected to survive, let alone thrive. His birth certificate is incomplete because the doctors were so convinced he would not make it they did not bother to complete the form. He was so tiny when he was born he was kept in a shoebox in the oven during the day to keep him warm and in a drawer in that shoebox next to his mother at night.
    That baby refused to die, and he grew up to live until he reached the ripe old age of 93. Along the way he went to school. He served in the military during WWII in the Pacific, retrieving water daily for his fellow soldiers in his unit as his jeep was splayed with bullet holes from Japanese pilots. He worked as a hired hand for area farmers and he was a self-taught mechanic. He then met and fell in love with a young woman. And with this love of his life at his side until she passed away two years ago, this man fathered 13 children, who in turn produced 30 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren. All of these people, and everyone else who came into contact with him during his time here on Earth, are the ripples left behind from the life of this man. One of them serves today as a gospel preacher, leading countless other souls to salvation in Jesus Christ.
    I am sure many people wondered why it was that God through His grace chose to spare the life of that premature baby all those long 93 years ago. But He did so with a lesson to teach us, and it is this: No man is an island, and what we do in this life matters. It affects countless others. Therefore, do the work for the Lord now “as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4 [NAS]).

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

No comments:

Post a Comment