The old man and the scorpion - Hope 103.2

The old man and the scorpion

By David ReayWednesday 3 Feb 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Romans 5:6-8

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)

The late Christian writer Henri Nouwen once related this story. There was an old man who sat on the bank of a river each morning to meditate. One morning, the river was in flood and the old man noticed a poisonous scorpion entangled in the roots of a tree on the riverbank. The scorpion was struggling to get to safety from the fast flowing waters.

The old man reached out to pull the scorpion to safety. The scorpion promptly hit out and stung him. But the old man didn’t give up. Soon his hand was reddened and aching from the scorpion stings.

A man who was passing by saw what was happening. “Why are you wasting your time trying to save that useless creature?! It will only go on hurting you, so why bother? It will end up costing your life.” The old man looked at him and said, “Friend, just because it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting, why should I give up my own nature to save?”

Not a bad illustration of our passage today. It is in God’s nature to save, and in our nature to resist rescue. And yet God didn’t give up on us. The bedrock reality of life is not that we are sinners, but that Jesus is a Saviour.

David Reay