There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…A time to keep and a time to throw away. - Ecclesiastes 3:1,6
Most people think of hippopotami as fat, lumbering, slow, inoffensive creatures. But they can actually be very fast and very dangerous. They can become a serious problem when humans and hippos try to share the same space.
Many years ago in the country of Chad, a hippo had been kicked out of its territory by other hippos. It decided to take up residence in an area of the river where the villagers swam, washed clothes, and bathed. Several people had died as a result and the villagers were unsuccessful in killing the rogue animal. They sent for a missionary lady who had a high powered rifle and asked for her help. She quickly realized the problem. Hippos can stay underwater for a long time and this one would rarely surface and then only for a quick breath. It realized it was in danger and was using this strategy to remain alive. She watched the hippo all afternoon and most of the night. She finally realized that there was a pattern to where the hippo would surface. Once she knew what the pattern was, she simply set up a tripod at the next point, waited with her rifle and when the hippo surfaced…BOOM! The village had hippo steaks for a week!
The hippo had fallen into the trap of using an outdated strategy on a new problem. Its strategy had been perfectly adequate as long as it was facing villagers with bows and spears. But when circumstances changed, it failed to change with them and died.
The Bible says that there is a season for everything. That means that things that were perfectly all right at one time, may now no longer be appropriate. This includes human ideas and ways of doing things. What may have worked for you in the past may no longer work in the present. What may be bringing you success now may be your undoing in the future.
Christians must realize that there are new threats today and if we fail to identify them and modify our approach to life appropriately, we will fail in our mission. Our churches may die. Our families may founder. We must recognize the ongoing dissolution of the family unit and react. We must recognize that our children will face issues and dangers that we have never even dreamed of! The church must not be satisfied with the status quo. We must be constantly searching for new, better ways of preaching the old Gospel message. Our doctrine will not change. Our message will not change. Our love will not change. But if our “technique” does not change with the times, then we will be rightfully relegated to the trash heap of history for being obsolete and irrelevant.
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