As Slippery as a Greased Watermelon
Saturday - May 16th
Today's Scripture to Read: Romans 16:17-19
For such people are not serving our Lord Christ,
but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people.
As a kid, I attended camp for three or four years and have some great memories -- one about a greased watermelon still makes me smile. Each summer, some of the kids from my home church, Twin Branch Bible Church, in Mishawaka, Indiana, went to Christie Lake Bible Camp a few hours away near Paw Paw, Michigan. There were a lot of great experiences at Christie Lake. One of my favorite things was swimming. I wasn't the best at it, but our swim time was often in the middle of the hot, muggy Michigan summer day. So, you could easily cool off and hang out with other campers.
My swimming skills were barely at the doggy paddle level. I didn't even try to take the swim test on the first day to determine if you could go beyond the boundary rope out into the deep. While I always liked hanging out at the Lake during my free time, I found myself jealous of those who could swim like a fish. They were usually the cool campers--the ones everyone else celebrated. This may come as a shock to you, but I was not numbered among them in any way. I stayed fairly close to shore with the other non-cool kids. But, I watched how the popular and aquatically skilled campers enjoyed themselves. I have to admit. I did get jealous of their ability and popularity.
Every year the campers were divided into teams. Throughout the week, we had all kinds of competitions to determine the winning team. Each year there was an extended time of competition near the lake. Most of the events took place in the swimming area of the lake itself. My favorite event involved a watermelon. The game director took a can of Crisco (lard-like vegetable shortening or oil) and rubbed it all over the watermelon--which made it incredibly slippery. The watermelon would be put in the water between the two teams, a whistle would blow, and then the teams would try to wrestle the melon back to their dock.
The watermelon sort a floated, but kind of sank as it was pushed and pulled in different directions. The harder someone tried to grasp it, the more they saw it slip away. If they tried to hug it, they lost it and ended up covered in greasy Crisco. That watermelon was slick!
When Paul warned in Romans chapter sixteen about false teachers who were weaseling their way into the lives of the Christians in Rome, he said they used smooth talk and flattery (18). In other words, they were slick. Unfortunately, some people prey on naive Christians. They look slick, talk slick, act slick. When you try to get a handle on who they are and what they are up to, they slip away. Much like the slick watermelon, false teachers are hard to pin down.
Paul told the Roman believers "to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them" (17). He tells us to stay far away from those slick-talking voices that are controlled by selfish ambition. Be careful. Make sure you heed the warning of Paul. Look out for those who use smooth talk and flattery. They are slippery.
Like a greased watermelon slick deceivers try to influence us as Christians for their own selfish gain. Watch out for them!