by David Sisler

Former director of admissions at the University of Alabama Medical School Henry H. Hoffman, shared a letter of reference for a prospective freshman. Mr. Hoffman said the letter, which was from an old miner in a small town, was one of the best he'd ever received. It read: "Knowed this kid from the day he was born. He played with my kids, mowed my yard. I don't know if he has sense enough to make it in medical school, but I do know he'll be the kind of man I'd like to come here to take care of me and my folks."

How intimately do you know another person? Your wife? Your husband? A close friend? What kind of a recommendation could you make? How intimately do you know yourself? How closely do you dare to look?

Would it surprise you to learn that the first of the developed sciences was astronomy? The first thing man intensively studied was that which was the farthest away from him - the sun, the moon, and the stars. Knowing that fact, maybe it's easy to realize why astrologers mistakenly thought - and still do think - stars influenced all of life.

Next man turned to geology, much closer, but still impersonal. Then biology - other living beings, but not ourselves. Then sociology - the way we live on the outside, not on the inside.

And only lastly, psychology.

Why did it take so long for us to look intimately at ourselves? Because it's easier to deal with the distant than to act on the adjacent. Up close gets too personal.

David was king of Israel, that nation's greatest political ruler. One day when he was faced with a difficult decision he called together his top advisors and laid the problem out before them. Next he called the nation together and shared what he and his leaders had discussed. Finally there was agreement on the proper course of action.

It was at this point David wrote Psalm 139. One of the interesting aspects of the Psalm is that after getting the advice of his military and political leaders and then of all his people, he asked God to take a close look at David.

"Search me, O God," David wrote, "and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (139:23-24).

"Dig inside of me, penetrate the layers I've built up to hide from myself and from you," David asked. "Uncover anything in me that is against you." The Living Bible paraphrases, "Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad."

"Try me," David said. "Put my life to the same intense testing a jeweler would use to determine the worth of a precious metal. If I'm gold, I want to know. If I've rusted, I want to know that, too."

That's a dangerous prayer to pray. Because once God has answered it, you can never be the same.

You will be like the prodigal son. When he came to himself, when he took a very honest look at his life, he knew he had only two choices - to stay in the pig pen or to return to his father's house.

You will be like Peter when Jesus asked him, three times, "Do you love me?" You will know that Jesus loves you enough to forgive the reason for those questions and to give you a fresh start. You will, like Peter, have only two choices - to go back to fishing, or to give up your own life in order to receive His new life.

Like the letter Henry Hoffman received from the miner, what kind of a recommendation could you make for yourself? How intimately do you know yourself? If you don't like your answer, why don't you ask Jesus for a recommendation? There is nothing about you He does not know, and still He promises, "If you publicly acknowledge loyalty to me, I will personally acknowledge you before God." That's the greatest recommendation of all!


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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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