My parents made sure I was surrounded with learning. From reading, writing, nature, God, stories and books on record, I have very fond memories of my early childhood.
One of those stories on record was The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It was well done, with all the right sound-effects and it really made an impact on me. I guess, for all my life. You know the story, right?
A boy is tasked with watching the family’s sheep. Every morning he takes them up the hill, and every evening he brings them down the hill. He wis bored. All he did was watch the sheep eat grass. He wanted to have some fun.
The boy knew the sheep’s biggest enemy was the wolf. He had been taught what to do if he ever spotted a wolf while tending to his sheep; he was to yell as loud as he could.
One day, while lazing on the hillside with the sheep, bored out of his mind, he decided to play a joke.
He stood, and with a hand on each side of his mouth to accentuate the sound, he yelled with all his might, “WOLF! WOLF!”
The people in the town heard the boy and they came running to help.
Women with cast iron skillets and rolling pins, men with brooms and shovels, kids with loud voices and sticks, all came running to scare the wolf away. But when they got to the top of the hill, they were met with something quite different. There was the boy, rolling on the ground, laughing.
“Where is the wolf??” they demanded. The boy laughed and said, “there is no wolf. I was only joking.”
The town’s people had a stern talking with him. “That was not funny! Do not do that again!”
When he got home that evening his mother also told him it was a bad idea to joke like that because if a wolf really did appear, no one would believe him.
The next day while lounging on the hillside with his sheep, he had the irresistible urge to do it again. Standing quickly to his feet and cupping his mouth with his hands, he yelled, “WOLF!! WOLF!!”
Once again, the town’s people came running and once again, they were met with a laughing boy. Once again, they warned him not to yell “wolf” when there was no wolf. And once again his mother told him how people would stop believing him if he continued to play this game.
The next day, while tending his sheep, the boy heard a howl and then he saw the biggest wolf of his life. As the wolf sprang from the tree line and headed for the sheep, the boy cried, “WOLF! WOLF!” No one came.
He screamed again, “WOLF!!!! WOLF!!!!” No one came.
You see, they did not believe him and now in his time of need, there was no one. They had heard the false alarm too many times and decided to do nothing. It did not end well for the boy, or the sheep.
Yesterday I wrote about the Johnstown Flood and how the warning had gone unheeded. The story caused me to think about the boy who cried wolf and how important it is to become complacent.
It was the hack heard round the world, all perpetrated by a simple case of spear phishing made possible by complacency. Hackers sent an email to members of the committee that looked like it had been sent by Google and requested them to click a link to reset their passwords due to malicious activity on their accounts. Several members took the bait, and with the new credentials in hand, hackers subsequently breached (and later published) more than 150,000 emails stolen from the Gmail accounts of committee members.
People become complacent.
According to cambridge.org, complacent is feeling so satisfied with your own abilities that you feel you do not need to try any harder.
dictionary.com put it this way, pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, often without awareness of some potential danger or defect.
And, according to Merriam-Webster the word describes a person who is self-satisfied, especially when this person is unaware of their own deficiencies or dangers.
God does not want us to become complacent either. Jesus said, “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17 ESV
He wants us to see our need; our need of Him. We think rich and prosperous; He sees wretched and naked.
“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” Revelation 3:15-17 - The Message
We are told to run race marked for us. To run and not give up. To run, with our eyes on the Prize.
Galatians 5:7 asks, “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?” The Message
Do not let people or situations cause you to become complacent with our Lord.
“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
Consider Him. Think about Him. Do not grow weary. Do not lose heart.
by Jeanette Stark – Thursday, December 1, 2022