The Destruction of Random

One of the humorous stories that came out of World War II concerned a bombing mission carried out by the German air force on the city of London. The following morning the English broadcast commented on the raid and mentioned that the damage was superficial. To further play down the effect of the raid, they said that most of the bombs fell at “random.” When the report reached the German press, it is said the account came to the public under screaming headlines saying: “HEAVY DAMAGE INFLICTED ON RANDOM.” According to the German version, Random was virtually bombed off the map and its destruction was hailed as a major victory. Perhaps this is only a story that emerged from the conflict, but it does serve a purpose.

Perhaps Random is a bigger place than any of us would like to admit. If all the people who live their lives at Random were assembled together it would probably be the most populous city in the world. Random is a place without a plan or a purpose. Its main streets lead nowhere in particular and its dwellings are “topsy-turvey”. Its main business is “Do-as-you-please,” and it is carried out under the popular slogan: “I-couldn’t-care-less.” Random is grossly over-populated and tragically under-planned. Its main intersection is the corner of Flotsam and Jetsam Streets. Crowded conditions exist on Driftwood Avenue and lots are at a premium on Deadend Street. The heart of the city is called Riff-raff Square. Yes, many people live at Random! It is easy to get lost living at Random.

The church built at Random is in keeping with its surroundings. Its pastor came because there was no other opening for his services. He didn’t receive any Divine call. His messages are dictated by policy rather than principles. He is merciless on the “Philistines” and a few hypothetical “straw men,” but he has little help for the eager faces in the pews, who live with real problems. Preaching at random will not solve their problems or minister to their real needs. It will not alleviate any need or achieve any goal. It is to be noticed that Jesus preached TO people, not AT them. Sinners found forgiveness. The sick were healed. Gladness welled up in hearts formerly gripped with darkness and despair. Their problems were real and our Lord’s remedy was potent and personal. Jesus did not preach at Random! It would be a waste of time.
The destruction of Random would sometimes be an accurate account of many Sunday School sessions. We circle over a host of upturned eager faces and drop a few songs and possibly a bundle of rules. But do we really hit the target? Is our objective to unload a certain amount of instruction in a given time or are we really aiming to teach pupils? Do we focus attention on the lesson or is our concern for the developing personalities bound up in the eager minds that comprise our classes? Does the fact that the majority leave the church after they grow up, reveal anything pertinent about our effectiveness? Evidently one cannot accomplish very real or lasting results, if we only strike at random.

Let’s make a comparison in another field. What musician ever became famous by practicing at random? Would we ever get a star athlete among the candidates, who merely practiced at random? No student would graduate from school if he just studied at random. The hunter would never return with any game if he just pointed his gun at random. It is critically dangerous to drive a car at random and a lot of wrecks happen on this account. Random has produced no leaders, proclaims no victories and attracts no one who has a purpose in life.

A Christian life is a life with a purpose. You cannot live a Christian life at random. It is tragic to leave anything so important as your life to the accidental circumstances of environment. The harbor at Random is filled with derelicts washed up by the storms on the Ocean of Life. No captain would venture to take a voyage without an anchor, a compass, and a chart to guide his vessel. A ship steered at random is bound to encounter disaster. There are no survivors at random. An anchor dropped at random, has not moorings. We need to cast our anchor with a strong chain of faith to the Rock of Ages and let Christ be our pilot.

The apostle Paul is an example of a man with a purpose. Paul experienced more than the average person in the way of trials. He was put in prison, beaten many times, shipwrecked, betrayed, deserted, stoned, often hungry and ill clad. But he said, “The things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” (Phil. 1:26) The word “furtherance” means, “woodchoppers.” Its origin comes from the days in which Rome was supreme. If an uprising occurred in any corner of her vast Empire, Rome would dispatch her armies to quell the disorder. This army would march in the most direct route to the trouble spot. If a forest lay in the path of the army, they would recruit the services of woodchoppers to hew an opening through the forest for the soldiers. Paul said that all his misfortunes were only the Divine woodcutters clearing a pathway for him to proclaim the gospel. His trials, arrests and punishments enabled him to preach before almost every ruler of his day and he regarded these circumstances as golden opportunities. Nothing ever really “just happened” to Paul. Everything had a purpose.

One time Paul was recalling some of his experiences among a group of friends. In doing so he said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you.” In this instance, Paul used a nautical term familiar to sailors of his day. He compared the gospel to a priceless cargo. When he said, “I kept back nothing,” he meant that he opened every sail on the vessel to take advantage of each breeze to propel the boat to its destined harbor. To Paul, preaching the gospel was both a task and a trust. It was his responsibility to deliver the goods. Nothing was left to random. His energy and resolve concentrated on one supreme goal and today we see his monuments of faith in every land on the globe.
Random is still as real as ever. The paradox of bombing random is that you never really destroy it. Everyone suffers from loss of power and wasted effort directed at random. Some people donate money at random---wherever they “feel” like giving. Donations spread around at random will not accomplish as much as disciplined efforts.

If we are wise, we will cease dissipating our efforts in a futile attempt at Random and focus our concentrated purpose on defined goals. We will cease drifting and start navigating. Our spiritual life will be guided by God’s fixed stars to eternal goals, rather than the deceptive lights that flicker at Random. 





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