The Missing Piece



There’s a bizarre story of a young lad who loved to take apart the family’s household appliances so he could see how they worked. His parents encouraged his curiosity (as they reasoned it was better than spending hours playing games on Xbox) just as long as their son put the equipment back together again in perfect working order.

His parents went out one afternoon for a few hours leaving the teenage boy at home alone – and this young, inquisitive tinkerer thought he would challenge himself. He decided to take apart the family’s antique grandfather clock.

He carefully swirled his screw-driver and twisted his favourite tools to have all of the vintage mechanisms lying across the lounge room floor. He admired the craftsmanship of the inner-workings of a hundred-year-old clock, and he was careful to remember where each part went.



As he put the antique timepiece back together again he felt a rush of adrenaline. His parents had warned him away from the heirloom clock for years as they feared the teenage boy would damage it, but now he’d been able to examine it without their knowledge and his parents would never know.

But, the feeling of achievement began to disappear as he neared the end of the restoration. The young lad had one piece left over and he had no idea where it was meant to go. As he considered an attempt to take the clock apart again he heard his parents’ car coming up the family driveway, and so he ran upstairs to his bedroom and thrust the left-over mechanism under his pillow.

That evening as the family ate dinner the antique clock operated as it always did. They watched a long movie together and the clock continued to strike the bells of the hour with military precision. As the family prepared for bed after a long day the boy’s worries began to ease. He sensed he’d escaped any parental discovery of an expensive heirloom’s unauthorised dismantling.

At midnight, as the teenager lay in bed thinking about the close-call, the clock began its usual chimes. The young lad counted them to help get to sleep – nine, ten, eleven, twelve…. thirteen, fourteen! The boy sat up in his bed. The clock continued ringing…. eighteen, nineteen, twenty. The boy – once again his body surging with adrenaline at the probability of being discovered – jumped out of bed. “Bong…. Bong…. Bong….” – Thirty-six times, thirty-seven times…the clock continued as if it would go on for eternity. He grabbed the missing piece from under his pillow and began to run down the hall towards his parents’ bedroom unsure of what he was going to say.

The teenager banged on the bedroom door, and with the chimes still ringing through the family home he yelled out the first thing that came into his head: “Wake up, everybody! Wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been!!”


This wry story is, in a way, a reminder of the Bible’s promise of eternity. Jesus of Nazareth spoke with His followers about having a sense of urgency regarding the coming of the Kingdom of God. He discouraged any delay in surrendering our sins to Him as our Saviour, and then seeking His ever-lasting forgiveness as we align our lives with Him.

To illustrate this sense of urgency Jesus told a story of five maidens who were sleepy, foolish and complacent, and another five who were wise and stayed ever-alert to the coming of their master. Jesus concluded the story by saying to His Disciples – “Keep watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which I am returning.” (Matthew 25:13)

So, for believers in the return of Jesus Christ there is a message. And that message is: “Wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been”

(Read about another teenager from three hundred years ago who showed incredible faith in her Saviour despite her deplorable circumstances)



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About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Seventh-day Adventist minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.




Feed the Right Wolf

There’s an old story from American folk-lore of a Cherokee elder speaking with his grandson.

“Grandson,” the wise elder says to the young lad, “Let me tell you about a battle that goes on inside everyone. It is the battle between two wolves”

As the young impressionable boy looks up his grandfather continues: “One of the wolves inside us all is called ‘Evil’.  This wolf is anger, it is hatred, it is discord and jealousy, It is rage and envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, lusts, and superiority.

“The other wolf that is inside us” continued the Grandfather “is called ‘Good’. This wolf is hope, it is serenity, it’s humility, joy, contentment. It’s love, peace, kindness, gentleness, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The Cherokee elder was then silent, and the grandson thought about these words for a moment. After a few minutes the young boy looked up and asked: “Grandfather, in the end which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee elder replied simply, “My son, the wolf you feed is the one that wins.”


The truth of this often told tale are echoed in the Bible. The ancient words of Scripture speak also of a battle between good and bad. It’s a battle we see in our wider world, and it’s a battle we see in our own souls.

Christ in His battle with Satan in the wilderness gained victory by reminding the Devil of godly values found in scripture (Matt 4:1-11). Through Christ’s sacrifice and example you and I can also have the same victory over Evil that our Saviour had.

In the letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul gives similar counsel to the Cherokee elder: “Whatever is true and noble”, Paul says, “Whatever is lovely and admirable, if anything is excellent and worthy of praise – allow you mind to consider only these things. And the God of peace will be with you always.” (Philippians 4:8)

In ‘the battle of the two wolves’ – the battle between Good and Evil – going on in your own heart and mind make sure you’re feeding daily the one based on the truth of Jesus Christ.



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About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Christian minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.

Dr. John Hunter’s Prophecy of His Own Death

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John Hunter was a celebrated Scottish medical doctor of the 18th-century. He was a pioneer in the field of surgery and was appointed as the personal physician of King George III. Towards the end of his life Hunter was appointed as the surgeon-general of the entire British Army.

But Dr. John Hunter – like all of us – had his faults. One of his assistants who worked with him towards the end of his life described John Hunter as ‘warm but impatient, readily provoked, and when irritated not easily soothed’.

Dr. Hunter had a problem with anger, and he suffered with a heart condition.

When he discovered his heart problems were often brought on by anger, Hunter complained:

“My life is at the mercy of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion.”

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A statue of Dr. John Hunter is in London’s famous Leicester Square

This personal lament of Dr. John Hunter proved to be prophetic. At a meeting of the board of St. George’s Hospital in London in 1793, Hunter became entangled in a heated argument with other board members. He stormed out of the meeting, and dropped dead in the next room.

“My life is at the mercy of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion” Hunter had grumbled only a short while before his own death.

Dr. John Hunter’s untimely demise at the age of 65 is a cautionary tale to anyone today who allows their own emotions to be determined by the whims and inclinations of others.

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There’s an ancient proverb found in the Bible that says: “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to have self-control of your own emotions than to be in control of an entire city.” (Proverbs 16:32).

The result of living in the spirit of Christ is love and joy, peace and patience, gentleness and self-control. For our Creator has given us a spirit of love and self-control of our own emotions (Galatians 5: 22-23, 2 Timothy 1:7).

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About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Christian minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.