Vol.IV No.IX Pg.8
October 1967

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A well-known preacher once visited with me, and I opened all pores to receive the wisdom of his words. One afternoon, as we wandered through the pasture, I noticed him standing quietly looking at the ground. I waited patiently for the fruits of his meditation; and finally he said, "Did you ever think about -- how hard it is to spit on an ant?"

"Well Sir, I haven't given that my attention, but I will do so now. With careful observation I note that you concentrated on places where the ants were most numerous. Ayee! That was close!! Doesn't seem possible to miss so many ants, unless - hmmmm, try it again! You need more body english on it, or -- say, which ant are you aiming at???"

That did it. His aiming was confused by the fallacy of generalization. (If this was just you and me talking, I'd say he was aiming at the whole ant bed instead of at a single ant.) My dad taught me long ago to quit shooting at the covey, and concentrate on a single quail.

"Think Big!" may turn out to be an excuse for not doing anything yourself. You believe in "Go into all the world" but never get around to talking Bible with your neighbor. You are a firm advocate of huge benevolent organizations, but never assist the poor of your own community. (Slum areas are so depressing, and besides, you are very busy; and didn't you give to the United Fund?) Shooting at the group -- is like condemning SSSIN, (it has: the hissss of the serpent) but never naming a specific sin. Everyone is against bad habits, but don't you dare mention my snuff. We love generalizations.

When weak-kneed Ahab prepared to battle with the Syrian host he asked, "Who shall begin the battle?" The prophet of the Lord answered, "Thou!" (I Kngs. 20:13-f) And Israel overcame Benhadad's army when "they slew every one his man." One man couldn't whip an army, but he could tackle that portion of it which stood before him.

If we are getting no where in particular it may be because we are going every where in general. (I've said it before, but I like the ring of it.) One target at the time, get a clear sight picture, and squeeze -- yes squeeze (don't jerk) the trigger.

And now my visitor is watching a horny toad. "Did you ever think ------