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Welcome, all, to the “front porch.”

Years ago, one of my good English-teaching friends introduced me to an idea she called “Good stuff.”

Ms. Burnette would have students bring items in a paper sack that the kids considered things of value.

That idea grew into just always looking for “good stuff” – good ideas, inspirational moments – wherever you go.

One story we ran across about this time – oh, there are a hundred more, I know – was about a young man who wanted knowledge. The eager boy’s story quickly went into our “good stuff” file.

The young man goes to his teacher one day and asks if he would give him knowledge. The teacher said he would see what he could do, but that he would need the young man to meet him down at the nearby river that evening.

The request perplexes the boy, but he obeys, nonetheless, and meets his teacher down at the river a little while before the sun goes down.

The teacher takes the puzzled boy by the arm as soon as he comes to him and leads him out into the river chest deep.

He stops there, takes the boy by the back of the neck, and dunks him in the water for a good ten, fifteen seconds.

He finally pulls the boy up – just for a moment so he can get a little bit of a breath – then dunks him again the second time, then the third.

When the boy comes up out of that water after that third dunking, he is sputtering and gasping for air, and he cries out, “Sir, I need air! I need air!”

The teacher waits until the boy catches his breath – at least somewhat – and says to him calmly, “Son, when you want knowledge the way you just now wanted air, then come back and see me.”

Then the teacher walked out of the water and went on his way, leaving the young man in the middle of the river to ponder the lesson on his own.

I’m sure the student learned his lesson, even if he had to learn it the hard way.

It is one thing to want knowledge, and it is another thing altogether to thrive, yearn, and long for it.

It is not until we become desperate for truth, and knowledge, and righteousness that we will take the steps necessary to achieve them. We have to want it the way we want air!

Many years ago, Jesus, much like the teacher of that story, stood in front of one of the first crowds He would face, and He teaches that very same lesson.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” He says, “for they shall be filled.”

In other words, you have to want to be righteous more than you want popularity, wealth, or, say, a brand-new car.

You understand.

I’ve had similar talks to my basketball players from years ago.

“You want to be good at basketball, I mean really good?” I’d say. “Or do you want to hang out with all your buddies and spend all your time with that young lady I see hanging all over you every day walking down the hall? You decide.”

You see, if you want to be good at something – I mean, really good – you’ve got to hunger and thirst for it.

The same goes for desiring to be “good” with the Lord.

The Lord could have told the crowd that day, “When you want to be right with the Lord the way you’d want air when you can’t breathe – well, then come back and see Me.”

I still think that old story is “good stuff.”

Now I just need to walk out of the water and live it.

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125