Faith and Family

Lynn Jones: What do you make

By Lynn Jones

It’s been said that all of us are manufacturers. We all make something. Some make trouble. We call them “troublemakers.”

“Troublemaking” is a very specialized field. Those who persistently engage in it have a strong sense of calling to their field. Making trouble relieves the tedium and boredom of life. It injects a certain kind of excitement. It also attracts huge attention to the troublemaker. One strong negative voice can always garner more attention than dozens of positive voices.

Troublemaking is not a new kind of manufacturing. I read about a church conference that was held in 1784. The minutes of that conference concluded with these words: “Conference concludes in the spirit of love, to the disappointment of many.” Evidently there was more than one manufacturer of trouble who attended the conference.

Lynn Jones

Others engage in a different kind of manufacturing. They make excuses. The manufacturers of excuses produce some ingenious products. I read of one woman who was ticketed for walking across a street when the traffic sign said, “Don’t walk.” When asked if she had not seen the sign, she responded, “Yes, I saw the sign, but I thought it was an ad for the bus company.”

One little boy may have spoken more truth than he intended when he tried to excuse himself from responsibility for a fight with a classmate. When asked who started the fight, he responded, “He started it when he hit me back.”

We smile at those who make such excuses, but others might smile when they hear the excuses we make to the Lord. We sometimes think that we can pull the wool over God’s eyes. When one man was asked why he was keeping a diary, he responded that he didn’t intend to publish it, but that he was recording the facts for God’s information. A friend said, “God knows all the facts.” The man responded, “He knows the facts, but not this version of the facts.” In truth, ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, He knows the facts and all the versions of the facts. Making excuses to Him is a pointless form of manufacturing.

One of the best forms of manufacturing is the kind in which people make good. That’s what Jesus did. Peter said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). That’s what we need to do. Those who make good often do so when it seems unlikely that good will come out of their circumstances. The ultimate secret to making good in bad circumstances is to cooperate with God because we know that “in all things God is at work for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28).

People engage in all kinds of manufacturing. Some make trouble, some make excuses, and some make good. Exactly what is it that you make?

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: