In 1911, Bobby Leach was the very first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Believe it or not, shortly after he went over the falls in a barrel, he died by slipping on an orange peel!
While not making light of his death, we can learn so much from this lesson. Regardless, of what profession or ministry you may serve we all know that "Pride goes before the fall." In this case, Mr. Leach could have quite possibly been both a humble and honorable man. Sometimes Satan will come after us not only during the mundane, but also right after accomplishing the magnificent.
Consider David’s story. Yes, he conquered Goliath, but his flesh conquered him with Bathsheba. Looking back, it was God and him together who toppled the giant by faith, but David fell apart on his own.
The examples are endless in Scripture, but can also be found in sports. Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer ever, was defeated by Father Time. Iron Mike Tyson was given a TKO in Tokyo by an anonymous underachiever. Michael Jordan won so many championships as a player, but can’t figure out how to win one as an owner.
In the early 1900's, a man went to fetch water by the stream. While he was en route to the ravine he stumbled upon a seven-foot grizzly bear! The bear stood up and growled and would surely have been killed unless God intervened. The man prayed "Jesus, help me!" and somehow he ran past the bear and outran it to safety. That night, he couldn't sleep and he knew it was grace that he survived. While lying in bed, a mosquito flew into his home and began to harass him. He wrestled and boxed that elusive mosquito all night to no avail. Eventually, that stubborn fly flew off with the victory at sunrise and the man didn't get a wink of sleep even though he was extremely tired from his encounter earlier that day.
Even though he was exhausted, he headed into work and contemplated all day about the events from the previous day. Around noon, it dawned on him that he knew he was utterly helpless without God's intervention when he faced the enormous bear the day before, but he thought he could handle the tiny mosquito at night all by himself. Sometimes in life and in ministry, we fast and pray, trust and call on God for power in private to minister in public because we know when we face the congregation, do a radio interview or stand before a camera that without God, we have no chance. We know that when we face the Falls of Niagara, giants named Goliath or a world-wide audience of a television show that unless God does His thing, we are dead and done!
However, if we are not careful, we can rely on our past success and slip up over something we thought was insignificant. Why do most accidents happen five miles from the house? Perhaps became it is familiar and we drop our guard. After all, Complacency breeds catastrophe.
We need to rely on the Lord in everything because even good, honorable and humble people can slip up on silly peels. God says, "to cast ALL our cares unto Him" because He cares for us! This week, remember to thank Him that He allows you to be part of His Kingdom building work. Secondly, see each task as a chance to serve Him with a smile and realize that no ministry is small or insignificant. Third, put your full armor on daily because we need God each day, hour and second.
Satan would love to surprise us when we have our guard down, especially after a big ministry experience. He would want nothing more than to hurt, cripple, tarnish or derail our ministry. One may not bomb on TBN, but we could trip on a tomato can that we didn't see in the street. Most fall in private way before in public. I pray that we remember Bobby Leach who survived Niagara, but died on an orange peel. Sadly, most will be remembered for their demise more than their rise. Apart from God, we are done, but in Him we can still do all things through Christ whom strengthens us.