Doesn't this sound good on a hot summer day?

Doesn’t this sound good on a hot summer day?

When I was a kid, about seven or eight years old, I remember living in Pocatello, Idaho near a fraternity house that was on the other side of the alley.  As it happened, we lived very close to the college so to have a frat house close by was not unusual.  One particularly warm summer day, I smelled the most awful smell and when I went to investigate I can remember seeing a big machine with this steaming hot, black gooey substance overflowing and dripping down its side and some men standing nearby, their clothes stained in black as well.  I couldn’t imagine what was going on at first, but those guys sure looked thirsty!  In my little girlish mind I thought I knew just the thing that would cheer them up — a cold glass of milk!  So, I proceeded to pour two or three glasses of ice cold milk and took them out to the unsuspecting recipients of what I thought was a real treat from my generous child’s heart.

I don’t know how grateful they really were, but they acted like it was the best thing in the world and made me feel spectacular for having thought to bring them something to drink on such a hot, Pocatello day.   Beer probably would have been more to their liking, or at the very least soda pop, but we didn’t have those things in my house, never did.  So, milk it was!  They received it with a smile and a big thank you, as I’d hoped, and they continued on doing…whatever it was they were doing before I came Uncle Remusout of the house with my big surprise.

As it turned out, that nasty, awful smell, as you’ve probably already guessed, was hot tar.  They were tarring the alley way to make it more like a road than a dirt trail, which is pretty much what it seemed like before they fixed it.  I’d never seen tar before but I had heard and read the story about Bre’r Rabbit and the Tar Baby, one of the many stories from the old South told by one of my favorite story tellers from Walt Disney’s Song of the South, Uncle Remus.  I figured it must be similar stuff.

You may be unfamiliar with the story but I’ll summarize it for you as it does have some applications for today.  You may see different relevancies than I do, but I hope you’ll enjoy this tale as much as I did as a kid.

Basically, the story revolved around Bre’r Fox who wanted revenge on a happy-go-lucky Bre’r Rabbit because he felt that Bre’r Rabbit had been making a fool out of him for a very long time and he was determined to get even.  He devised a plot whereby he made a “baby” out of tar that he thought looked real enough to fool Bre’r Rabbit.  Bre’r Fox set the “baby”, now fully clothed, on a log and laid in wait for Bre’r Rabbit to come by.Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby

He didn’t have long to wait because soon Bre’r Rabbit hopped along down the trail and spotted the unusual figure sitting on the log and began to try to engage the “Tar Baby” in conversation.  He obviously couldn’t speak, so after several tries at pleasantries with no response, Bre’r Rabbit became frustrated and hit him — the response Bre’r Fox had desperately hoped for and, frankly, expected from Bre’r Rabbit.  Because Tar Baby was made of sticky tar, Bre’r Rabbit’s fist got stuck.  If that wasn’t bad enough, it didn’t take long for Bre’r Rabbit’s anger to get the best of him and not just one foot, but eventually all four got stuck to the Tar Baby!  By this time the fox was laughing hysterically at the rabbit who finally realized he’d been duped and if he didn’t come up with some sort of plan, quickly, he’d likely be dinner for Bre’r Fox that evening!Bre'r Rabbit and the gooey tar

Being a pretty smart Rabbit, he used reverse psychology on Bre’r Fox by telling him he could do anything he wanted to with him but please, please don’t throw him into the briar patch nearby.   That would be the worst thing in the world…to be thrown into the briar patch!  Well, don’t ya know, that’s exactly what the fox decided to do!  Throw the rabbit into the briar patch..all nettles and thorns, scratchy and foreboding.  Bre’r Fox expected to hear screams and yelling, but all he heard was laughing.  You see, it seems that Bre’r Rabbit was born and raised in the briar patch and was all too familiar with the surroundings.  It was a safe place for him.   Once again, Bre’r Rabbit got away and Bre’r Fox lost his attempt to get even.

I don’t know exactly what the moral of the story was intended to be, but it sure seems like we could learn to be a lot wiser as we’re walking down the “trail of life”.  Perhaps we’d be less likely to be duped by the enemy and get all of our body parts, and our souls, stuck in his “tar”.  It’s a lot easier to keep from getting stuck in the first place by being cautious and aware of the enemies tricks than it is to have to do some fast thinking to keep from getting eaten!

What if we stay in God’s Word, apply what He has to tell us to our hearts and lives and live above the plots and deception of this world?  Sounds like a good idea to me!  What do you think?