I Should’ve Done It Right the First Time

Bill Brinkworth

The strong winds of a rainstorm pushed over a large 10’ by 10’ entrance-way to my garden.  On it hung the foliage of two seedless grape plants. The growth was massive totaling at least 300 pounds.  There it lay, after the storm, a tangled mess of plant and split oak posts.

When I built it, I knew I was using the wrong materials. I knew that termites would appear out of nowhere and gobble the structure, but I just did not want to spend the money at the time to buy the right timber and build it right. The future of the plants was not important at the time. The little creatures did find a meal, and it took a wind to emphasize the damage they had done.

As I looked at the jumbled mess, I thought, “I should have done it right the first time.  I ended up spending the money anyway.” People go through life making similar discoveries.  They learn the biblical way to live when they are younger.  They hear testimony after testimony of how people learn about life the hard way, making bad decisions that make their life not come out the way they wanted it.  When hearing the testimonies, the young listeners vow to not mess up their lives the same way.  They purpose to be a good Christian, follow God’s commandments as closely as they can, and stay far away from sin. 

Often when they go through the teenage years, they too fall for similar distractions in life and soon find their lives in a tangled mess. With multiple marriages in their past, a habit of smoking, broken relations with families, legal problems, wrong decisions after wrong decisions, or other damage done by involvement in sin, they one day come to the realization that they should have done their lives right the first time. They should have lived the way God commanded in His Word, because any other way does not work!

After purchasing pressure-treated lumber and rebuilding the arbor correctly, my next task was sorting out the mangled vines to salvage as much developing fruit as possible.  Patiently, I went through each strand, and to my surprise learned something else.  I learned that the plants were mostly vine and little fruit.  I cut away much of the unproductive vines, disturbing one little toad, and one by one cut away what did not have any fruit and put what was left on its new support. What now remained was at least one third of what originally had been growing.

After getting to a point that one wants to start all over again with his life and live the way God says to in His Word, he too, may learn a similar lesson.  He will learn what he did before living God’s way was also unproductive.   The things that were dumped for scriptural living are often later seen as not very important and hardly worth the priority we gave them.  That new car we just had to have, and the second job we needed to pay for it, were not worth the time we missed in seeing our children grow up.  A fine house was a “must”, and it forced both parents to work, forcing the children to be raised by someone else with standards that were not the parents.  The church services that could have helped us were missed because of sports games that we placed at a higher value.  Now we cannot even remember who played who, or where the games were.  All those things and other vain activities are now seen as a waste of the time we had, and in the long run, did not satisfy or help us at all.

Learn the lesson I learned from my collapsed grape arbor.  We only have one life, and it needs to be lived the right way as we live it.  The world has no clue what is the right way.  They try to fill their spiritual emptiness with activity and things.  Those things are a temporary cover-up of our real needs.  We are created to serve God, and His leadership is the only way we will ever have joy and fulfillment.  Live your life in accordance with the way His Word guides.  God has raised billions of children, and when they do it His way, they have done it the right way the first time around.

“Don’t pray to give God instructions — just report for duty!”  

This article was featured in The Bible View #309.

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