Small Enemies

In the book, “The Life of Abraham Lincoln”, by Henry Ketchum, there are a number of humorous stories from the former president’s life as he grew into the man we often read about in textbooks. One story, in particular revolved around a politician with the last name of Shields. This man was a political jack of all trades and he had been in a myriad of different legislative positions. He was a short man with a large temper.

In those days, currency was state specific, and at this time the currency of Illinois was worthless. So, Shields proposed legislation that would make it illegal to pay state taxes with Illinois’ own currency.

The vast majority thought this was unfair, so Lincoln (being a man of constant satire) decided to write a letter to a major newspaper to mock Shields…his stature, political decisions, and manhood. Long story short, the population had a great laugh, but Shields’ temper got the best of him.

After trying to find out who wrote the letter, (it was written under a made up pen name) Lincoln confessed to be the writer.Shields, acting out of anger, challenged Lincoln to a duel to the death. As is customary in this situation, Lincoln (being the challenged party) had the opportunity to select the weapon. Still finding the situation rather funny, Lincoln chose “the largest broadswords he could find”.

Shields was so short and Lincoln was so tall that Shields could hardly pick up the sword. Lincoln laughed all the way to a truce. Later, Lincoln admits that he should not have acted in the way and publically apologized to Shields.

This story, while humorous to me, got me thinking. As Christians, we often look at the devil, sin, the world, our temptations, etc. as insurmountable foes. Really, the enemy is angry and relatively powerless against those who walk with God. It’ s actually quite comforting.

Remember this today…God has already won. Rest in this fact and live accordingly.

-Landon DeCrastos

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