Deck Cheatham: Little kings and butterflies

Deck Cheatham

Seeing ourselves as we are is a hard thing to do. But what eyes do we trust most but our own? We are our own rule maker in our own little kingdom.

In 1998, a short book titled “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson was a popular read. The parable involved four characters, two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two humans named Hem and Haw, searching for cheese (success) in a maze. Each displayed a different attitude toward change. Each operated from his own set of rules and belief system.

Primarily a management book on change in a workplace environment, the story reveals a truth about our spiritual life. Our greatest impediment to spiritual growth is comfort. And comfort resists change. Nothing could be more opposed to God’s desire for our life than our goal for a less challenging life. And who is not guilty of seeking comfort?

It gets worse. Comfort becomes the thread by which we spin our life into a cocoon, a little kingdom of our own, if you will, where we are the little king and anything outside is a threat. These kingdoms exist everywhere — church, work, home, the locker room, the playground. They are not unlike the den of thieves that possesses its own set of rules and ethics. Our kingdom is our cheese. Don’t move it.

Kingdom building reveals within our human psyche a sort of perpetual motion tool, a rather practiced skill in manipulation, a constant effort seeking power. Required are sets of rules and a rule maker. And who makes the rules but the little king. Little kingdoms and little kings are exclusionary, and so, unaware, exclude Christ most, all the while claiming their belief in him and all the while revealing their true heart as they conflict and compete.

The problem for Christians is plain. Entering the new life, God asks us to leave our comfortable kingdom behind, and it’s a damn hard thing to do. Cheese tastes good. But, “figs cannot be gathered from thistles” (Matthew 7:16). Mere Christians are called to disengage from kingdom building and move toward kingdom serving, to live in community, to be rich in the “things of God.” The good news is God’s a big cheese-mover.

His method is simple. He comes for our heart. He comes in spirit and sends us his cheese-movers. How else could God rule except in the hearts of men? Do not earthly kingdoms demand earthly responses? Does not a heavenly kingdom expect a heavenly response? Has not God overcome our little kingdom?

Yes, it’s hard to see ourselves, hard to see outside the cocoon, to leave the comfortable little kingdom behind and become as God intends. But that is what we are asked to do.

Pray simply. Lord, open my heart and mind to your leading and give me the courage to go there.

Caterpillars leave cocoons as butterflies. And little kings become children of God.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Write to him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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