Mark Twain’s Cat

by Forrest D. Moyer, 1984

Mark Twain once said: “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on the hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well, but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore" (Following the Equator).

I think that we should carefully think about what he said. Have you ever had an unhappy experience with a person close to you and then said, “I will never be friends with anyone again. You just cannot trust people”? If you never formed another friendship in your life, you would not be hurt by a friend. But at the same time, you would never be warmed by the pleasures of friendship. It is true that at times a friend may let you down because he is a human being. However, chances are that he did not intentionally and deliberately set out to harm you. And, by the way, do you suppose that someone ever thought that you treated him in the wrong way? Maybe it is really a matter of communication. But the point is, don’t avoid friendship just because you may have been hurt by a friend of the past.

Have you ever tried to bring a person to Jesus only to have that one shamefully malign you? Did you say, “I’ll never again try to teach the gospel to a person; I don’t want to be treated like that”? But have you considered the joy you miss in the conversion of a precious soul? More than that, have you thought of the Heaven that that soul might miss without your sharing your treasure with him? Be not like Mark Twain’s cat! Don’t allow an unhappy experience to deter you!

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