Andy Hollifield 5-21-17

Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Change————-(1) to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc.. of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone (3) to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind

As I sat and looked through some photo books of old pictures of Candler and Hominy Valley and surrounding areas, I began to think about how much has changed in even the last 50 years and even the last 100 years. I sometimes wonder what life must have been like then and I wonder what those folks would think of how things have changed.

I spent some early years in Weaverville but most of my time growing up was spent in Woodfin. Mom still lives in the same house I grew up in. When I go visit and drive down the streets of Martel Village, it amazes me how much has changed there in my hometown. I have written on that fairly extensively and that isn’t the theme of our conversation right now. I want to look at how we as individuals have changed in our thinking, worship, and our attitudes in general. I think too about the scripture in Proverbs 24:21 that I believe is excellent advice especially for today’s time. “Meddle not with them that are given to change.”

Some people are never satisfied and are always trying to change to suit the latest whim or fashion trend or idea. We live in an age where it seems that folks can’t think for themselves anymore. The word change is only used 26 times throughout the bible. Changed 43 times and changing is used only once. The bible said in James chapter 1 verse 8 that “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” That has proven true throughout human history. We often call it two-faced. Whatever you want to call it, you have to admit that those kind of people are not the ones you want to go to war with. They just can’t be depended on because you never know what they will be thinking one day to the next.

The bible also instructs us to “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…(Jeremiah 6:16).” The old paths where is the good way. The days when a man’s word was his bond and the most major of deals was confirmed with a handshake. When a man’s good name meant far more than any amount of money he could ever accumulate. When a person was willing to lose everything before sacrificing his principles. Most all of us have known folks like that and most of us have been disappointed by someone who used to be like that. Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

That brings up the question of the day, has time changed you? I recently made a purchase from an individual whose main concern was that I was completely satisfied with the transaction. We had to do the legal paperwork to satisfy the laws of the land but a handshake was more than sufficient between us. To say the least, it was refreshing to do business that way again. I had experienced that early in adulthood as a young man, but it seems to have somewhere amidst all of the so-called progress of our day, fallen by the wayside.

That deal got me to thinking about how things are done nowadays but it also got me to asking myself this question; “Am I still standing as firm on principle as I used to?” I want to say I make it a point to. I remember being taught by my dad never to lie. If I couldn’t tell the truth just keep my mouth shut. I also remember him telling me that the most valuable thing I had was my name. As long as I had a good name I could make it. I proved that to be true in my early teen years while trying to earn money to spend time with my uncle in New York state. Neighbors that I had never done any work for suddenly, upon hearing of my plans, had a lot of work that just had to be done. I knew they were just trying to help me and I appreciated it. I realized through that summer that if I did a good job I could always have work. I also knew that those people were calling me not only to help or because I did good work but because they knew my dad would require me to do a good job for them. I figured out that because he had a good name among the neighbors was at least part of the reason I was getting work.

Now that I am older, I try to instill that in any young people who will listen. I have made good money in my life and have paid a high price for it in some respects. My family has at times paid the price for it by my absence. I have learned that while money is needful and important, there are other things of far greater value. I have also learned that in spite of what I may sometimes think, I am not always right. I have stood on principle on my job and have been fired, suspended, and reinstated all within about fifteen minutes with principles still intact. It pays to stand for what you believe in. More important is that what you believe is right. I have learned throughout my life that there are things that I have had the wrong idea about even though I believed them passionately. I have had to change my way of thinking on some things over the years, not for compromise, but because I was wrong. Other things however, I have refused to change on because I was right without question. Some of those things have cost friendships, opportunities, money, and on occasion even a job opportunity or two. Compromise would have been easy and in some ways beneficial at times but not in the overall scheme of life. When we put emphasis on the wrong things, it can only result in wrong decisions.

At the end of the day I have to lay my head down and be able to sleep with what I have done. More importantly, I have to be willing to stand in judgment before God and answer for what I have done. I have had this guiding principle that I try to conduct my life by: when it comes time to die, I am going to only be concerned with two things, the second is going to be where I stand with my family. The first is where I stand with my God. But when it comes to my last breath, only where I stand with God is going to matter. That principle has helped me make a lot of decisions that have proved out well in my life and I dare say it will have the same effect in yours.

I started with the question; has time changed you? My answer would be a resounding yes. The morals and principles I believed to be true because that is what I was taught, I have seen them prove to be true in my own life. Have I changed? Most definitely! Like the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11 “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” I am still learning it but the lessons are much easier now. A lot of things that were paramount as a young man are now inconsequential. The desire to have has gradually been replaced with the desire to make sure others have. There will always be stuff I would like to have and things I would like to do and places I would like to go. That’s just human nature. Truth be known, I have all I need and as long as I can get out on the porch and see the sun and feel the rain and get to God’s house and be in a Holy Ghost led service every now and then, I will be all right. I am rich beyond measure. God has been good to me and I have no complaints. Has time changed me…..? Yeah! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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