LESSONS LEARNED FROM...

A few weeks ago, in the early part of the morning, Ron and I were on the back porch, drinking coffee, and enjoying the stillness that only morning can bring. However, the quiet was interrupted by a very loud and persistent cry. Following the sound, we found a tiny, newborn kitten. Not wanting to mess up nature, we stayed clear for several hours. Realizing Mama Cat would not be returning, we took a trip to Feeder’s Supply where we purchased a bottle and 2 cans of Kitten Milk Replacement. Every three hours for a total of ten days, we bottle-fed this sweet kitty cat. We would wrap her in a washcloth, put the bottle in her mouth, and she would drink vigorously. While at times tedious, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. After the first five days, I realized the kitten was not growing. It wasn’t gaining any weight or getting any stronger. I called my vet, whom I affectionately refer to as “Speed Dial Vet” since she takes care of our entire menagerie of animals. She gave me pointers on how to try and help the kitty, but warned me how difficult it is for a baby animal to survive without its mama.

In the tenth day of the process, it was evident the baby cat was fading. It went to sleep and never woke again. Ron and I had come to love this baby kitten and even the dogs loved…, well, had resigned themselves to the fact that there was yet another animal in our gang. We knew we were going to miss this itty-bitty ball of fur. Even though it didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, it was a beautiful experience, and I gained a wealth of information – not only about the care of kittens (yes, you really do have to burp them after their bottle), but I was reminded of some important life lessons.

1.     EVENTUALLY WE MUST MOVE FROM MILK TO SOLID FOOD.  

I loved bottle feeding Baby Kitten, but eventually it wasn’t sustaining her. And to be honest, it became exhausting. I knew in order for her to live, she needed to learn to eat on her own. The same is true in our Christian walk. We must move from the basic fundamentals that are easily digested to the difficult truths.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. - 1st Corinthians 3:2

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. - Hebrews 5:13-14

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds[a] and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. – Hebrews 6:1-3

2.     TIME SPENT HELPING SOMEONE IS NEVER WASTED.

This is a lesson I am constantly reminded of – just because the end result isn’t what I hoped for, doesn’t mean the journey was a waste of time.  I’ve spent countless hours studying with specific individuals, praying for that person to surrender their life to Christ, yet to this day they have yet to do so. Ron and I have mentored various young adults trying to get on a straighter path. Unfortunately, it always hasn’t worked out the way we hoped or prayed. However, we were still blessed by the opportunity. We have come away from every situation having grown ourselves.  Besides, I’m only accountable for my actions, not for the actions of anyone else. Ezekiel 33:3-6 makes this perfectly clear:

When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die.  They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives.  But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.

Did you catch that? The watchman won’t be responsible for the people’s death if he warned them. Yet if the watchman doesn’t do his part, then God will hold him accountable.

3.     WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THE ONE WHO GAVE US LIFE.

Ron and I, under the direction of our vet, did all we could to save this kitten, but ultimately we didn’t compare to its real mother. Studies show that baby kittens need their mother for a minimum of 4 weeks. Within that time, the kitten receives the nutrients it needs and is taught how to care for itself. 

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.– John 6:35

We don’t need Jesus for just a minimum of time. We need Jesus forever. He is the only One capable of saving us.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:17

4.     THERE ARE UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP.

The day after we said goodbye to the kitty, my vet since me a text informing me of a 4 month old kitten who needed to be re-homed. “Would you?” she asked, already knowing the answer. Less than 24 hours we welcome a new member into our family.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone… - Galatians 6:9-10

Each day we are presented with opportunities to show Christ to others. I pray we accept that responsibility and do it to the best of our ability – whether it be caring for the elderly, studying with a non-believer, helping a single mom, or even taking care of a cat. Whatever the case, God will be pleased and we will be blessed.