Straddling the Fence


"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." And the people answered him not a word." 1 Kings 18:21 KJV

At 12 years of age, my grandfather learned about straddling the fence.

When my grandfather was only of middle school age, his father died. In a time period when women worked mostly at home and the man was the sole bread winner, this put the family in a precarious situation. Among three brothers, my grandfather was the only one who could take the reins.

With the help of his Uncle Ransom, my grandfather got down from the fence and went to work. Taking care of a mother and several female siblings at 12 years of age wasn't easy, but he knew what he had to do and did it. Quitting school in the sixth grade meant he'd never secure a job that would pay very much. And he didn't.

When he later quit farming, he took a job at the Paradise Ice Company in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he worked the remainder of his lifetime. Though his pay lacked a lot to be desired, again he knew what he had to do and did it.

Elijah wasn't a fence straddle either. He summoned 450 prophets of the pagan god Baal to the summit of Mount Carmel and challenged them to a contest to see which god was God. Before the contest began, he asked the people how long they would hesitate between two opinions…how long they were going to live with a divided mind.

Jesus once told people they couldn't serve God and mammon. Mammon could be money or material possessions. But I can take anything and insert it in the place of mammon. I can't choose God and Baal. Baal was a fertility god. Worshipping him allegedly brought prosperity and happiness. My Baal can be anything that proposes to do the same thing.

God presents us with the same question Elijah did to Baal's representatives: "How long will you live with a divided mind?" We must choose God as well as the things that represent His nature. We can't serve Him and other gods. Nor does He want half-hearted service from us after we choose to follow Him. He wants our undivided loyalty-not a divided mind.

Give God your all. He wants it-and deserves it. And when you choose to get off the fence, you'll experience life as you never have before.

Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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