3 Inches Off?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Farming has really changed over the past few years. It has become high tech.

Jeff Sweatman is a young man who farms hundreds of acres in South Carolina. I was with him recently. When I inquired about what he was discovering new about farming, he told me of the use of a GPS in planting his peanuts.

Jeff uses a 12-row planter. In the past he would just plant his rows by selecting some object to drive that big 12-row planter towards. He discovered that his rows were not straight and that his fields were not as productive as they could be.

If a row is three inches off, it creates a loss of about 1,800 pounds of peanuts per acre. With peanuts selling about $700 a ton, that really adds up when you are planting 400 acres!

He bought a GPS, which cost about $28,000. He recorded the accuracy of that GPS on his Iphone. It steers the tractor keeping it exactly on line. Three inches off costs a lot of money. The GPS is accurate.

The Bible is God’s GPS. It is the guide for our lives to help us walk on a straight and accurate path. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Many times we don’t think that varying off course just a little bit makes much difference. Trying to live without using the Bible as a guide is like trying to plant straight rows of peanuts on a 12-row planter. You just cannot do it accurately. If three inches off center can cost hundreds of dollars in one peanut patch, think what a slight deviation in our lives can mean in terms of our productivity and consequences.

I recently was with one of the executives with the American Bible Society. During the tough economic times, I asked him how the sales of Bibles had been? He said that sales of Bibles were up – more sold than ever before. That was pleasantly surprising.

Then he made another observation. He said that recent surveys had shown that while we are buying more Bibles, we are reading them less. More Bibles – less reading. There are many people in many parts of the world that would give anything to have one copy of a Bible!

Sunday School attendance has shown a steady decline in major denominations during the past few years. It is imperative that each of us be engaged in some kind of ongoing study of God’s Word. I think the biggest problem in America is not agnostics – it is ignostics – people who are ignorant about God’s Word!

I thought $28,000 was a lot to pay for a GPS. When I saw the difference that it made in terms of productivity, it is a bargain. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The Bible is a better bargain and a better GPS – God’s Perfect System.

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