2017-08-10 / Opinions

When painting white lines on highways, remember to keep the paint can close


A state road employee was given the task of painting the white line down the middle of the highway. On the first day, he painted six miles. The next day, three miles. The third day, less than a mile.

When the foreman asked him why he was painting less each day, he responded: “I just can’t do any better. Each day I keep getting farther away from the paint can.”

That old joke came from Harold Wainscott in Long Ridge, Kentucky. He absolutely cracks me up with the zany tales he so kindly shares with me via email. I hope Harold and the rest of you know just how much I appreciate the jokes you send my way to use as illustrations in this devotional column.

The whole purpose of the column is give readers a smile, perhaps even a chuckle, and to offer at least a small dose of encouragement straight from the Bible, which is, after all, the best place to find encouragement in these difficult times.

I’ve been writing this column for several years now, and, just about the time I think I’m going to run out of funny tales, you all hit me with a fresh supply. What an encouragement to me, and what a help.

I truly couldn’t do this without you.

You know, as Moses led God’s people toward the Promised Land, he faced incredible opposition. After he overcame the Egyptian pharaoh and got God’s people through the Red Sea, his troubles weren’t over. Enemies would come out to try to block them. Yet, God was with them, and He made the way.

You may recall the time when God’s people faced a powerful army in battle. Moses stood on a hilltop with a view of the battlefield, and as long as he held up his hands, the people of God prevailed. But when his arms grew tied and he had to put them down, the enemy prevailed. Two good men, Aaron and Hur, got a big rock for Moses to sit on. Then, one got on one side of Moses and the other on the other side and they held his hands upright and steady until the battle was won.

God had arranged for some good people to help Moses at a time when it really counted.

I expect all of us have had someone step up in our moments of need. I know we certainly appreciate them when they do. And scripture tells us God appreciates them, too.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews: 6:10).

Right this minute, somewhere near you, there is someone feeling like he or she is getting farther and farther away from the paint can. Because of age or infirmity or overload, someone’s best efforts are falling short.

Someone needs your help.

(Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.)

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