Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when He said “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”? This admonition was originally given to His Disciples on the day He sent them out for the first time to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons in His name and power. In fact, the words in question are just half of a complete verse. (Matthew 10:16) In the first half, Jesus reminded them that He was sending them forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. We all know that snakes are not harmless and doves are definitely not wise, so it is obvious that Jesus meant that these characteristics should be combined. It should also be apparent that Christ’s words of caution apply to all who serve Him today as well. When we picture defenseless sheep in the midst of a pack of wolves, it seems a cruel and extremely daunting task but we must take into consideration, the fact that the hand of God would be upon Christ’s Disciples to lead, guide, and protect them. The truth is they came back from their mission rejoicing and amazed with the success they encountered.
I was thinking of that yesterday as I saw on my caller ID one of the countless toll-free-number phone calls we receive on a daily basis. Need I tell you that the majority of them are telemarketers and that they mostly target the elderly? Considering the type of messages they leave, to me they are wolves in search of defenseless, dim-witted sheep and the reason this practice does not stop is because of the success they’ve had in the past. Today’s seniors come from an era where people and businesses had honesty and integrity, so most of them think its still the same today. To be wise as serpents and harmless as doves means we should apply our common sense without being confrontational. Think about it. When a business really has urgent business to discuss with us and we continue to ignore their request to call back to a certain number, before too long they will get the message to us by way of certified mail. If they never do, it is obvious they were just looking for one more victim.
Of course, telemarketers are just one of the many dangers we face on a daily basis. A few years back, abuse of children and the elderly, identity thefts, and horrific and senseless crimes, were rare. Not today. Paul was right when he wrote: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1) Those days are here. Nevertheless, just like He did with His Disciples, the Lord will be with us too. Sheep are never defenseless because the Good Shepherd is always with them. In Him, we’re always protected.
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 18:10) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.