Forgotten Wisdom: Aesop’s Fables

As I embrace Black History Month—my ancestors—people of color. . . I’m honored by their creativity, ingenuity and sheer perseverance. And while I orientated myself in place and time, Aesop’s Fables came to mind.

My brothers and I were often enchanted by stories that our mom told involving some ants and a grasshopper, a fox and some grapes. Coded meanings spoken by magical creatures that brought moral messages to those who would hear. Lions and wolves struck fear and courage in my heart long before I went to kindergarten.

But, imagine my delight, when I learned that a Black man had spoken those words centuries ago. How amazing it is that his words and identity survived to teach me. . .  to inspire me. . . to show me wisdom through moral and spiritual lessons.

For it’s generally accepted that Aesop, a slave and storyteller, lived in ancient Greece during the 6th century. He is believed to have been an African, possibly from Ethiopia. A Black man in ancient times, telling universal truths with words that even a child can understand reveals an image of a wise person. Take the story, The Lion & the Mouse, where the moral is that A kindness is never wasted, which was true in Aesop’s time, is true now, and will be true in the future.

I’ve always enjoyed reading Aesop’s Fables. Maybe it’s because my mom created an awareness for the nuances of learning through parables. Or maybe it’s the unique ability that the stories have to show a person’s beliefs, character and actions. . . and then masterfully show them consequences of such.

I picked up my cell phone. . .  called my daughter and shared my passion for the fables with her.  Then I asked if she’d read Aesop’s Fables in school. She told me that she didn’t think so. Guilt washed over me. I don’t remember sharing Aesop’s Fables with her when she was a child. Not in a real intentional way. . . like my mom did. . . Have we forgotten the wisdom found in Aesop’s Fables?

With a little persuasion from me, we read a few together and discussed the moral of each fable. It was an enjoyable experience. Which goes to show that the young and not so young can see the wisdom in Aesop’s Fables.

It’s my goal to re-read all the fables during the month of February and consider their relevance for living today. I invite you to join me in this quest.

God Bless. . . I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Who Are The Peacemakers?

Who are the peacemakers? Without conflict… there’d be no need for peacemakers. But, we’re unlikely to always avoid strife…  so there must be peacemakers. Ignoring problems or pretending everything is okay when in fact it’s not—doesn’t make one a peacemaker. Who does Jesus call the peacemakers?

Let’s look at the word peacemaker. It’s a compound word composed of two very common words… “peace” and “maker.” Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace. Often used as a greeting, such as “hello” or in departure much like “goodbye”. It’s a term associated with health, harmony, prosperity, and completeness. Shalom denotes perfect welfare, tranquility, fulfillment, free of trouble, and liberation from all that blocks contentment.

The term “make” comes from the Greek verb poieó—meaning— “to do” or “to make”. It’s a word of action, energy and initiative. It denotes that peace must be made. And that peace rarely happens by chance or accident after a conflict. It’s worth recalling that peace in the Bible is always based on justice and righteousness. For where justice prevails and righteousness rules…there also is peace.

Taken together, “peace” and “makers,” describe people who actively pursue peace. This includes a pursuit of more than the avoidance of strife… or merely seeking to appease those in disagreement. A peacemaker doesn’t try to accommodate wrong. But rather enforces the blessedness of God by producing a right solution in each situation.

According to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 KJV), peacemakers are those people who actively work to reconcile people to God and to one another. For peacemakers:

  • have integrity,
  • listen without taking sides,
  • love based on Jesus’ model of forgiveness,
  • pray for wisdom, guidance, understanding, and courage,
  • recognize deceit and honesty,
  • allow ethical principles to inform their decision-making, and are
  • fruitful by glorifying God with just and right results.

Matthew 5:9 (KJV) tells us that Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. May we be the peacemakers—this Holiday season—as we seek peace on earth and goodwill towards all.

 God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

A Thankful Heart

I once went to church with a lady, who during service would stand up and give thanks to God for allowing her to see another day. In my immature state of mind, I would think, “…that’s the same thing you said last week”. Now let me put this in context, other members were testifying about a prayer that was answered or a blessing that was received—something that was new news. But over 90% of the time—this member stood up—and told us to “taste and see that the Lord is sweet… and He’s allowed her to still be here”.

Years later, I now believe that church member had a thankful heart. She knew God for more than a gift giver of things. She knew Him as the keeper of her mind, body and soul. Psalm 9:1, tells us to give thanks and tell of the Lord’s wonderful deeds. And the most wondrous deed of all is that we’re still here. Because from here… we can move forward.  We can grow in the grace and favor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wrapped up in the cares of life, it’s not always easy to nature a thankful heart. Yet, this is the very thing we’re required to do in order to see God’s will accomplished in our lives. So, let us:

  • Counts our blessings (Psalm 103: 2-5) 
  • Celebrate the mighty deeds of God (Psalm 9:1; Psalm 107:8; 1 Samuel 2:1-2)
  • Appreciate our uniqueness… not comparing ourselves to others (I Samuel 18:8;Galatians 6:4)
  • Constantly avoid complaining(Philippians 2:14-15;Exodus 16:8)
  • Cultivate a heart of contentment (Psalm 50:23)
  • Demonstrate a generous heart towards others (2 Corinthians 9:11-12)
  • Value our resources  (Mark 8:1-10; Luke 22:17-19)
  • Give praise for the good times, happy times, and sad times—we can learn from them all (Hebrews 13:15; Psalms 100:4; Psalm 138:4-5; Psalm 138:6-7)
  • Praise God for His love (Psalm 138:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Know that being thankful can change circumstances (Acts 16:25;Psalm 138:3)

Having a thankful heart fills us with an attitude of gratitude. We no longer, think that we deserve to have everything. Or that all things should go the way we want them to go. We lose that feeling of entitlement and gain the wisdom of thankfulness. With a thankful heart, we see the good and positiveness in life and focus on that. We quickly turn away negative thoughts that come into our mind… because we now see who keeps our mind, body and spirit.

We celebrate God, life and others. As the lady who stood up in church—we too—recognize the power of a thankful heart. It leads to overflowing joy because we delight in the Lord of lords!

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

 

In His Presence

There are days, when regardless of the circumstances of life, you feel God’s loving embrace. You snuggle up in fellowship with reverence, thankful for forgiveness and hopefulness—praising Him for what isn’t as though it was. In Acts 13:22, we’re told that David was a man after God’s own heart. You wonder, “Is this how David felt?”  You consider… “What is this that the sovereign God should be mindful of little O’ me?”

Then you remember… Matthew 10:29-31 tells us that we’re in our Father’s care. He is so mindful of us that He knows the very number of hairs on our heads. And we need not be afraid because we’re precious to Him. We’re God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2: 10).

So, you revel in God’s grace and mercy. Gazing up at a beautiful blue sky…  you desire to be like David… Knowing that David was:

  • Kind—2 Samuel 9:3
  • Humble—Psalm 62:9
  • Reverent—Psalm 18:3
  • Respectful—Psalm 31:9
  • Trusting—Psalm 27:1
  • Loving—Psalm 18:1
  • Devoted—Psalm 4:7
  • Grateful—Psalm 9:1
  • Faithful—Psalm 23:6
  • Obedient—Psalm 119:34
  • Repentant—Psalm 25:11
  • Promise Keeper—1 Samuel 18:7
  • Gracious—2 Samuel 9:7

As God swath’s you in His presence… you realize that you don’t have to feel God to know He’s there. You’re aware that you must live by faith (Romans 1:17), because it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). However, you leap for joy within your spirit because you feel the presence of God.

You take a deep breath, and be still (Psalms 46:10). Then you call His name… Jesus… Bless this day for the calmness of my soul (Acts 4:12).

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

The Echoes of Our Actions

We’ve often been told—think before you speak—and it’s not always a good idea to speak all that you think. We’re complex individuals… grappling with complicated situations that can distort our view of right and wrong. When that happens, we need to know where our help comes from (Psalm 121:2) and be willing to call upon Jesus(Acts 2:21). For our thoughts can travel to God and return with a reply faster than a flash of lightning can dance across the sky. So, whether we need to act quickly or have time to wait… there is enough time to consult with God.

Therefore, we should check our attitudes, consider our motives, and guard our actions to avoid undesirable results. We don’t have to believe that God wants us to choose the lesser of two wrongs. It’s not taught in Scripture that we face situations of impossible ethical conflict—where every choice—we can make is the wrong choice! Not readily knowing the right choice doesn’t makes it okay to pick one that we know is wrong. Just because our minds can’t conceive the right thing to do in the moment—doesn’t mean that a right answer don’t exist.

It is not wise of us to run ahead of God and try to exert our will above His will. Nowhere in Scripture are we told to do wrong—in order to achieve right. Nowhere in Scripture do we find men and women of faith compromising their integrity in an attempt to get their blessings from an ungodly source.

This way of thinking… this way of speaking… and this way of acting… contradicts the message of Jesus Christ, according to Hebrew 4:15. And goes against the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which tells us that God will always provide a way of escape. We must be careful with our thoughts and intentions… as they will become actions that echo louder than who we say we are.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.