Party Line

I remember when I was a little kid, going to my aunt and uncle?s farm in McDade, Texas. Their?phone system was on a ?party line?. Now for all you young kids that might be reading this article, a ?party line? was nothing at all?like a ?conga-line? at a beach party! A party line was something that was mostly set in rural America, though not limited to there, that put several neighboring households on the same phone line. It was kind of like having a whole household full of teenagers on a single land-line and having them all clamoring to use the phone at the same time. But nowadays, even land-lines are disappearing. We?re all talking on cell phones of one kind or another. For those who never saw one in action, and I know that many of my readers remember these days, a party line might have ten or more people all on one line. Whenever you wanted to talk on the phone, you had to first listen to see if anyone else was using the phone before you could make your call. Some times you were allowed to ?hog in? on the conversations taking place. At other times you were told to wait until they were through, in no uncertain tones, mind you. If it was an emergency, you could get your neighbors to hang up so you could make your call. But you had to be careful about what you were saying and to whom you were saying it because you never knew who else would be listening to your conversation! And another thing about party lines was?discerning which phone call was meant for your household. Each home had its own designated ring. For instance, if you heard your phone ringing with three long rings, the call wasn?t meant for you. Your designated ring was three short rings, or perhaps, a long and a short, or two longs and two shorts. If it was two longs and one short, again, it wasn?t your phone call, so don?t pick up the phone! It was none of your business! And that was that. It was a confusing, sometimes down-right dangerous, and sometimes fun and fascinating phone system. You just had to be listening for your designated ring and refrain from listening in on your neighbor?s private phone call.

?? But the call of God upon our lives is not that confusing, and it?s a call that is issued to all of us, no matter where we live.?The apostle Paul tells us?that God has saved us and called us to a holy way of life. That word ?holy? means ?to be set apart from the way the world lives?. It means to live the way God wants us to live according to the instructions He has given us in His word, the Bible. Paul goes on to say, this was the plan for us from the beginning of time, to live in such a way that others can see Jesus living through us. The apostle Peter tells us that we are a chosen people of God. Chose to be what? Chosen to be God?s instrument of His goodness wherever we live, wherever we go, and by everything that we say and do. That?s not hard to understand, is it? And the best part about it is that God Himself is the one who helps us to do it! We just have to ask for His help.

?? Yes sir, be glad that we no longer have a party line system, because there?s no telling who would be listening?in on?your phone call, and if they were, what kind of conversations would they be listening to?

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