Rattlesnakes

Written by cycleguy on March 17th, 2013

In 1993 our family took a trip out west.  It was our oldest daughter’s year of high school graduation and we knew family vacations were going to be in short supply from that point on.  One of our stops was at the Custer Memorial, as you might guess, the scene of Custer’s last stand.  While there I was on the walking path and looked down to see a sign:

PLEASE STAY ON THE PATH.  SNAKE DANGER.

(or something like that).  Yeah, like they had to tell me twice!   In fact, as I recall, I spent very little time on that path at all.  :)

The late evangelist, Billy Sunday, a predecessor to Billy Graham’s type of evangelism, once stated “too may Christians treat sin like cream puffs instead of the rattlesnake which it is.”  That reminded me of that stopover at Custer’s Last Stand.  It also led to some reading on rattlesnakes. Did you know the baby rattlesnake is actually deadlier than the adult rattlesnake?  (They are both deadly obviously, but hear me out).  They say it is because the baby rattler gets so nervous and excited that it strikes and releases more venom at one time, whereas the adult rattler has better control.   Well…that’s always nice to know.  I reckon I won’t think a baby rattler is so cute and reach down to pet it or pick it up.  :)   How about I just never run into one and call life “pleasant” as a result?

My point is this:  Don’t be fooled by what appears to be small misdeeds.  Good things don’t always come in small packages.  Dynamite.  Poison.  Diapers.   All kidding aside, and in total seriousness, yielding to small things often leads to bigger things.  If not right away, it begins to lay conditions  for smaller sins to become bigger ones.

We often use the phrase “faithful in little, faithful in much” when referring to being accountable with God’s blessings.  Perhaps we can use that phrase when referring to sin as well.  If we learn to turn away from the “little” snakes that come into our path, perhaps it will be easier to say “No” to the bigger ones that block our way.   Or maybe we can take the view this man had.   Me?  Ain’t no way I am going to get close to them.  Not a bad idea for the snake of sin either.

Any thoughts to share today?  As I write this, Jo and I have briefly mentioned leaving town for the night and not take any iPad, books,  or computer with us.  If that happens, I will not approve or respond to messages right away.  I’m sure you understand.  :D

 

30 Comments so far ↓

  1. the Old Adam says:

    Great post!

    ‘Sin’ would actually be the “baby rattlesnake”…and sins (plural) would be the adult rattler.

    Most Christians focus on sin(s). They treat them like so much doggie-stuff to either step into…or avoid. Truth is…we might be able to avoid some…but sure enough, others will take their place.

    ‘Sin’ is the real problem, and we are bound to it. We don’t stop sinning because we don’t really want to stop. We’d much rather put our own wants and desires ahead of what the Living God has in mind for us.

    Because Jesus has already defeated ‘sin’, ‘death’, and the ‘devil’…on that cross. Even as we are dogged by sins our entire life.

    Thanks, Bill. Great topic.

  2. Having actually stared down at a rattler, if we treated sin that way, we would find ourselves sinning less. We do think sin is too “cute” to harm us until we find ourselves bitten.

    • cycleguy says:

      Staring down a rattler? Yikes! But I think I heard once that was the best thing to do. Stand still and don’t move. Do agree with your “too cute” comment.

  3. Daniel says:

    I like the picture of cooing over a baby snake. Picking it up and petting it. You made me laugh. Hope you do get a chance to get away without technology getting in the way. Blessings.

  4. Susan says:

    Nice clip, Bill. :D

    I live in Florida. We have several species of rattle snakes, water moccasins, coral snakes, copperheads, cotton mouth and a host of non-venomous snakes some of which look similar to some venomous ones.

    I am not afraid of snakes, but I do accord them their due respect. None of our snakes are aggressive (in contrast with Australia where you may find aggressive venomous creatures). Our snakes have, in general, a great desire to get away from humans. As in now you see me now you don’t.

    I don’t go looking for them nor do I get cozy with them-not even with the non-venomous snakes. When I recognize sin slithering nearby, I use the same reasoning.

    • cycleguy says:

      I am okay with all of the snakes slithering away. :) Not getting cozy with sin is so important. Thanks Susan. Oh, glad you liked the clip.

  5. floyd says:

    Living in Arizona I’ve had my share of run ins with rattle snakes. I like that analogy of baby rattlers and sin. They are deadly… How easy we forget that satan prowls around like a lion seeking to devour us… I’m gonna remember this analogy… Very good chance I’ll be seeing some rattlesnakes again this year… Good reminder.

    • cycleguy says:

      I forget there are people who see snakes on a daily basis because of where they live. if we see one it is a garden variety version. Glad I could be a reminder.

  6. tcavey says:

    I think you should definitely get away, it’s a blessing to disconnect and be with your loved one!

    Your post is timely. I was reading the book of Daniel last week and God really honed in for me that had Daniel not been faithful in the beginning with the diet, he wouldn’t have been prepared to be used by God for bigger things. The things we face today prepare us for tomorrow’s challenges, they help us learn to rely on God. The words “building blocks” come to mind.

    • cycleguy says:

      Good point about Daniel. Compromise starts with something little and moves on from there. Being faithful in the little yields big rewards later. Thanks TC.

  7. Betty Draper says:

    I have seen my share of snakes in every country we have lived in. From the big ones that eat a whole chicken or small child at once in PNG to the little ones they call two step snakes in Bolivia. After bitten you only have two steps to live. Of course in California there is the rattler snake which means you better watch where you hike.

    Good anology, baby snakes being more posin. Every big sin has baby steps…glad you are taking a break.

    • cycleguy says:

      Baby sin has baby steps. I don’t anyone starts out thinking, “I’m going to sin a big whopper of one.” Interesting comment about the snake in Bolivia.

  8. Everything reproduces after its kind. Compromise leads to more compromise. Sin leads to more sin–unless we deal with it. Best way to get something to stop reproducing is to kill it. Very effective. :) Thanks Bill.

  9. Lyn says:

    Nice post! The little sins are just as dangerous as the big ones. Different consequences but they cost the same – Jesus’ life. When I don’t see immediate consequences, it can feel as if there weren’t any, but the truth is, every sin hinders my prayers and limits the flow of God in my life. Those are definitely consequences I don’t want!
    Thanks for those good words.

    • cycleguy says:

      So important to remember Lyn. “When I don’t see immediate consequences…flow of God in my life.” That is so true! And we wonder why God seems to be a million miles away! Thanks for the comment.

  10. When we explain the Gospel to someone, we explain that, in God’s eyes, sin is sin with no levels of good and bad and worse. While His blood washes us clean of sin, the whole point of sin separating us from God still plays in there, right? I mean, we do ourselves a disservice even with “small sins” in that the act itself draws us away from that hoped-for intimacy with God. Writing off sins as small means we miss the understanding of what sin is…I think. :)

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right MS. I am not trying minimize or say one sin is smaller than another. Sin is sin. But we often begin with “small” ones-a little lie here, a little paperclip there- and it blows up in our face. We do need to see all sin has its consequence. Thanks for an insightful comment.

  11. Ed says:

    I’ve run over a rattlesnake in the Arizona desert, just not into one…

    When we take on the small things it prepares us for the big things, and when the big things come we sometimes actually find that they are actually not as big as we thought they were.

    Of course, that’s just a thought. :)

    • cycleguy says:

      I would rather run over one than run into one. :) I think your thought has some merit. We learn to win often by defeating the small things.

  12. Debbie says:

    I really like this and think the analogy is so good. Praying to see sin for what it is, no matter how harmless it looks at the outset. God bless you and Jo, and your night out!

  13. cycleguy says:

    Thanks to all who commented on this post even though i was unable to get to it. When I did get back into town, I had a meeting to prepare for and things to catch up on. See my post for a commentary on the night away.

  14. Mike says:

    Love the analogy of snakes and sin. It is so easy to become complacent in our every day life. We need to be vigilant every day. The only way I can thing to do that is by always working on our relationship with God. If we regularly communicate with Him, we will be vigilant, if we become complacent, we will not communicate and let ourselves back slide. Next thing you know we’re petting cute little rattle snakes. :)

  15. I have such a fear of snakes – it might even be a straight up phobia. I would have turned around right then and walked back.
    My wife and I used to walk in a woodland path some evenings. Until we saw a snake. That was the last time :)

  16. I’m just now reading this post, Bill. I learned this about baby snakes the hard way when my son was bitten by one. That’s a story for another time. Such wisdom in this post. People have quit fearing the “little” sins. I’m sure I do it, too, though I know better!