THE DIFFERENCE

by Matthew Coover

Today we are going for a tour of lifestyles. Hurry so we don't miss the plane. We have now boarded our first flight, and are headed towards a little town in northern Russia. O-K. The plane has just hit the runway. We are now leaving the plane, and we pile our luggage in the back of an old pickup truck, and climb in. We are traveling through thick forests. Finally we pop over a hill, emerge into a large clearing, and catch our first sight of a big old orphanage which is the site of our first tour.

This orphanage, made of fieldstone, has stood in this location for over a century. Behind the old walls where generations of children have been reared and sent on their way toward adulthood, there lives a little boy of six or so years old.

He has lived in this orphanage since the day he was less than a year old when both of his parents were suddenly taken from this earth. Since that fateful day the orphanage has clothed him, fed him, educated him, worked him, supervised him, and provided a shelter for him from the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter. The orphanage is his home.

Now we will leave the vicinity of the orphanage, catch a plane, and fly to a city some several hundred miles away. From there we will travel on to an old, rundown farmhouse, and here we will begin our second tour.

Generations upon generations of families have lived in this old house, and signs of wear have begun to show on the old, weathered boards, but disregarding the outside appearance, let us step inside. Each of the generations who have called this house "home" have left behind a handful of children when they passed on to the gloryland to love, care for, and live in the old homeplace. This old house is some sort of a family heirloom.

In this farmhouse there lives a little boy who, surprisingly, who is around the same age as the little orphan to whom we just bid goodbye. This little boy lives in the old farmhouse with his mother, father, and little brother. Mother and Father have taken care of him since the day he came into this world. They have fed him, clothed him, protected him, educated him, supervised him, and cared for him much in the same way as the matron cares for the six year old orphan boy several hundred miles away. The old farmhouse is the little boy's home.

Our trip has now ended. We have left the old farmhouse, and are traveling home. At a glance, our tour might seem very boring and uninteresting, but upon taking a closer look, we find that it is far from boring, and our little tour has a very important purpose. While we have the time, let us ponder on the two lifestyles we have just seen. What is the difference in the lifestyle of the two little children we have just visited? Thy are both well fed. They both have plenty of clothing to wear. They both are worked, educated, supervised, and protected, and as well, they both have a home.

What then is the difference? What does the orphan not know that the six year old boy who lives in the farmhouse has and knows? The orphan has a matron, and the other little guy has a mother. Speaking of basic needs, both have all they could ever want. Do they not?

But.......there is a difference. It may not be all so obvious, but it is most assuredly there. The matron takes care of the little orphan, but does she care for him as a parent would? She works him, but does he have one - on - one time with her as he would with a parent? The directors of the orphanage are his providers, but they do not love him as a parent would. They care for him because it is their job. In a sense, the poor little orphan is like a piece of property, in that he belongs to his overseers as does the orphanage in which he lives. It doesn't make for a very "homey" picture. Does it?

The little boy who we have become acquainted with several hundred miles away has all of his needs taken care of.......just like the orphan, but he has parents who not only take care of him, but parents who care for him. He has parents who he can spend one - on - one time with. He has parents who not only provide for him, and teach him because it is their job, but because he is their child and they love him. He belongs to his parents, but in a different way. He belongs to them in the fact that he is meant to be with them. He is not like a piece of property to them, as is the old farmhouse in which they live, but he is a special member of a family.....a family where he belongs.

How would you respond if I told you that there are many today who choose not to accept the wonderful privilege of a home, a family, and a sense of belonging? I'm afraid there are far to many out there in the world today who have done exactly that. They have rejected Yahshua as their personal savior, and chosen rather to live for self. They have rejected Yahweh as their father, and chosen, rather, to be a child of sin. They have rejected the family that could have been theirs, and they have rejected the gift of eternal life.

Is it not a wonderful privilege to have the advantage of the little child in the farmhouse; to have a parent to constantly watch over you and care for you; to be loved and to truly belong in a family? How strange it seems then that many have forsaken the security of their home. They have the best Father anyone could ever wish for, yet they leave him and go to seek the pleasures of this world. They do not appreciate the blessings that have been bestowed upon them by this wonderful father, and they bring extreme poverty upon themselves as the consequence.

You may have never realized it before, but you have a father who loves you with such intensity that He sent His dear son to the cross to die for you, that the price of your sins might be paid in full; that you might repent of your folly, and return to His fold. Afterwards He raised His dear son to life again, and in the same way He is waiting for you to give Him your heart that He may raise you to life once more, and that you may live for all eternity in the mansions He has prepared for you in glory. He is waiting for you to commit your life to Him that you may know Him as your Father, and that He may know you as His child.

Why not make the decision that could change your life today? Entrance into a family where you can truly belong is yours for the taking. Too many have discovered that life is fleeting, and that tomorrow was too late. Allow yourself to learn from their mistake, and accept his invitation today. The decision to accept him as your Father and Friend will make all the difference in the World.



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