Straddling The Fence

Saturday, July 30, 2022
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Listen while you read: "All Glory Laud And Honour"1 (Lyrics)

At twelve, my grandfather learned about straddling the fence.

When he was only of middle school age, his father died. In a time when women worked mostly at home and the man was the sole breadwinner, this put the family in a precarious situation. His two older brothers had already left home, so it fell to my grandfather to care for his mother, younger sister, and two older sisters. He could either man up and take responsibility or skirt his duties. Quitting school in the sixth grade meant that he would never secure a job that would pay well.

With the help of his uncle, my grandfather made the hard decision of getting down from the fence on the side of responsibility. He knew what he needed to do, and he did it.

Later, when he quit farming, he took a job at a local ice company where he worked the remainder of his lifetime through its changes to milk and then later to ice cream. Although his pay left a lot to be desired, again, he knew what he had to do, and he did it.

Elijah wasn't a fence-straddler either. The pagan god, Baal, was a fertility god. Elijah summoned 450 prophets of Baal to the summit of Mount Carmel and challenged them to a contest to see which god was God. Before the contest began, he challenged the people as to how long they were going to straddle the fence and live with a divided mind.

1 Kings 18:21 – Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people [of Israel] did not answer him [so much as] a word. (AMP)

Worshipping Baal allegedly brought prosperity and happiness. Our Baal can be anything that proposes to do the same thing. We can't choose both God and Baal. Jesus once told people they couldn't serve both God and mammon. Our mammon could be money or material possessions, but we can take anything and insert it in the place of mammon.

God presents us with the same question: How long will we live with a divided mind? We must choose God as well as the things that represent His nature. We can't serve Him and other gods, nor does He want half-hearted service from us after we choose to follow Him. He wants our undivided loyalty — not a divided mind.

We need to give God our all. He wants it — and deserves it. And when we choose to get off the fence, we'll experience life as we never have before.

Prayer: Father, give us strength to follow You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Martin.

    Good challenge for us, Martin.

    Thank you for writing this, Martin.

    Thank you, Martin, for writing today.

    Thank you, Martin.
    So very well stated beautifully written thank you again.

    I hear you, Martin. Yay for your grandfather and this great truth you remind us of today! Helps me. Best to you.

    Another great Devotional, keep up the good work. I always look forward to your writing.
    Thanks again, Blessings to you.
    (Ontario Canada)

    Martin, I love your line “getting down from the fence on the side of responsibility.”
    That’s both descriptive and motivating. May we continue to make right choices in the hard times of life.

    Dear Martin,
    I thank God that he inspired you to write this powerful devotional. I feel God saying, I am here with open arms, all you need to do is jump!
    May God bless you for sharing this message.

    Today you are doing something truly meaningful! Your devotionals encourage many people you’ve never met but will meet in Heaven! That alone will occupy much of your time in eternity. Thanks for writing and sharing.

    Greetings Martin and many thanks for another of your interesting and good advice devotionals. Yes, it is the right choice to make “to get off the fence” and seek and serve our Lord totally. He is the one that can give us the best direction in our daily lives. Blessings for these writings you submit and may you have a joyous weekend.

    Good to see you are still writing Devotionals,
    Martin. Also a very good reminder to all of us. With God WE must give our ALL, or it might as well be NOTHING. Just as HE must BE OUR ALL, or it might as well be nothing. There are no half-way measures when it comes to loving and serving God.

    Thank you muchly for your super Saturday devotional!! We see too many even in our families still straddling the fence, even when they know the truth.
    When they are brought up in the Faith in their Church and home, they still struggle in making that commitment even though they believe in God. My Daddy was my Pastor but not my salvation and I had to make my commitment as I did to be a servant where and when. That’s JOY!!!

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