When I was a little boy, many years ago, I had a plastic sword and shield set. The kind molded from cheap gray plastic and sold at toy stores all across the country. The shield had thin plastic straps that would end up cutting your arm as you ran around backyards slaying dragons.
On warm summer days, my friends and I would run around the neighborhood valiantly defending our castles against the approaching hoards. We would take our large plastic swords and clash them together with loud thwaps. The battle cries that would fly from our mouths sounded tough to our prepubescent minds, but looking back from the perch of old age I’m sure they sounded more like screams of terror. When our swords would break and inevitable they would, we would grab large sticks from the trees and these became our weapons. In all the times we played knights, everyone would always carry a sword, but not everyone would carry a shield. The sword is mightier than the shield we thought.
I remember one time stalking the large dragon (cedar bush) in front of the neighbors house. This dragon was the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and meaner than a junkyard dog. We had tried many times to take care of this threat, but each time we failed. It was too tough for our girly little boy arms.
We decided it was time to develop a plan of attack that would work. My friends and I sat around the round table drinking mead and planing our attack on the evil dragon. Actually, we sat on my Mom’s deck drinking Kool-Aid and eating cookies, but I digress. A plan was finally sketched out in the sand and we drained the last of our drinks and with Kool-Aid mustaches set about to put the plan in to action.
The plan was a simple one, my friends would attack from the left and the right to soften the dragon up and I would approach from the front and deal it the death blow. We slowly walked around to the front of the house. Swords raised, sweat dripping from our brows as we walked. My friend emitted a battle scream and thrust his sword into the dragon. It disappeared into the thick under coat of the bush. Without his sword he was powerless and retreated. Time for the right flank, another battle scream and another sword gone. The dragon had managed to defend both brutal assaults. I nervously approached sword held high, red Kool-Aid mustache war paint on my face. The sword was thrust head first into the dragon only to disappear like the rest.
We pulled back, our weapons gone trapped inside the belly of the dragon. All of our planning had failed. The dragon still lived. After retreating to a safe distance we discussed the battle. We watched the bush (dragon) blowing in the breeze. It was decided that we had mortally wounded the creature and just needed to go back and retrieve our weapons.
The weapons were lodged deep into the bush we discovered. I reached in to grab my sword and the branches of the bush left large scratches on my arm. My friend tried to grab his and the same scratches appeared on his arm. “How are we going to get our swords back?” my friend said rubbing the scratches on his arm. The answer to our problems hanging on my left arm. The worthless shield I had carried into battle suddenly became valuable. I held it up and pushed back the branches of the bush. Behind the safety of the shield I reached in and retrieved the swords. I handed them back to my valiant battle compatriots and we headed inside to watch cartoons and celebrate our victory.
God gives each one of a sword and shield when go out to spread the Word. Many of us prefer to use the sword, going on the offensive with those who do not believe in the Word. We try to get others to submit to the Word of God no matter what. When spreading the Word, we need to remember what hangs in our left hand. The shield God has provided each and every one of us. He will defend us in battle, placing us under the protection of his wing. Sometimes the best offense is the best defense.