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When the Crystal Palace Exhibition opened in 1851, people flocked to London’s Hyde Park to see all the marvels current technology provided. One of the greatest marvels then was steam. There were steam plows displayed, along with steam locomotives, steam looms, steam organs, and even a steam cannon. Of all the great exhibits that year, the first prize winner was a steam invention with 7,000 parts. When it was turned on, its pulleys, whistles, bells, and gears made a lot of noise, but ironically, the contraption didn’t do a thing! 7,000 moving parts making a lot of commotion…but having no real practical use.
With the technology-filled era we live in, it’s easy to confuse activity with accomplishment, to be fooled into thinking that the sound of gears and pulleys is the sound of something important being done. Is that true of your life? Are there hundreds, even thousands, of parts spinning, turning, and making a lot of noise in your life, but accomplishing very little in return? To a very busy, yet distracted Martha, Jesus counseled, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). That good part was taking time for Christ and His Word, to penetrate and motivate who she was, and how she should live.
The “contraptions” of our lives may look impressive to others, but what of its substance? God is the final judge, and what you think has substance may dissipate before His searching eyes like steam. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12-13).
Robert Johnson is a minister in Longview, Texas, where he has been a preacher for over 40 years. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Biblical Languages, and a Masters is in Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma. He loves sharing the gospel with others and ministering to people’s needs.