When I was younger, my father told me a lot of useful things. He told me about the 20/60/20 rule of human nature, which I will elaborate on in this space in the very near future. He told me that someone who kisses ass upwards and kicks ass downwards is not someone you want to work with or for. He told me that if you measure twice, you only have to cut once. And he told me that nobody’s life is ever wasted, because they can always be used as a bad example. I mentioned this last saying to a buddy of mine a while back and then elaborated on it, saying that it could also be applicable in a more general theological sense, that there is nothing in God’s creation that could not be used to illustrate a spiritual principle, either as a positive or a negative.
My buddy was, shall we say, somewhat un-convinced as to the applicability of this statement. The conversation continued from there and a while later I used the phrase ‘like a monkey humping a coconut’ to illustrate furious yet useless activity. That admittedly crude phrase was seized upon by my buddy and I was challenged to prove my earlier statement by fashioning a spiritual principle from it. So here we go:
Now, if you’ve ever seen a coconut, you might think that it’s not really designed to be accosted in such a fashion. In fact, given it’s exterior, you could be forgiven for assuming that it’s designed expressly to avoid being accosted in such a fashion. But sometimes a monkey will get all horned up and he’ll use the wrong head to make his decisions with. Like the young man in Proverbs 7, he’ll ignore all the warning signs and he’ll go ahead and he’ll hump that coconut. There isn’t really a fix for that with monkeys, but for a guy who has used the wrong head to make his decisions, the good news is that you do get a fix for that.
Something else that might happen with the monkey is that, having ignored the aforementioned warning signs, he will persist until his monkey lust is satiated. Unfortunately, this may also result in his having rubbed his little monkey unit raw on the coconut. Not having recourse to monkey HMO’s, this sad condition will go untreated and has a very real possibility of ending in infection, blood poisoning, and death. I like to think that my readership is generally smart enough that I don’t need to belabor the parallels to be found in this particular example, so I’ll just leave this here and move on.
Sometimes, the monkey escapes that particular consequence of his actions, only to arrive at the same destination by another road. He finishes up with his coconut, and now he’s tired, and spent, and not really paying attention to the world around him. You know what gets ahold of monkeys that aren’t paying attention? Things that eat monkeys. That is the exact reason that the Apostle Peter tells us to be watchful. Because there is a serpent out there that likes nothing better than snatching up and devouring people who are distracted by the results of their bad choices and who aren’t really paying attention.
Last, but not least, sometimes nothing happens to the monkey. No infections, no blood poisoning, no snake bites, nothing. Just because you’ve not experienced negative consequences from your bad choices, though, that doesn’t mean that you were doing the right thing after all. That would be the wrong lesson to take away. Bad choices are still bad choices regardless of the consequences (or lack thereof) they engender. And if you don’t recognize that larger concept, learn from it, and also learn how to apply it, it’s going to repeat on you like a street vendor burrito.
Sometimes, though, there is grace. Next time I’ll tell y’all about how I received some grace, and learned the 20/60/20 rule at the same time.