“A reed shaken with the wind.” Luke 7:24

The picture is of a man wavering and unstable, easily swayed and bent from uprightness. That is what a good many men are. A reed grows in soft mud by the water’s edge. Then it is so frail and delicate that every breeze bends it and shakes it. Jesus did not intimate that John was a man of that stamp, but meant just the reverse. John was not like a reed shaken with the wind. He was a man whom nothing could bend or sway. Rather than preach soft words to please Herod, and keep quiet about sins that the king was committing, John charged home the sins without quailing, losing his head at last as reward.

Yet there are some persons who are like reeds. Instead of being rooted in Christ, their roots go down into the soft mud of this world, and of course they are easily torn up. Then they have no fixed principles to hold them upright and make them true and strong; and they are bent by every wind, and moved and swayed by every influence of fear or favour. The boy that cannot say no when other boys tease him to smoke, or drink, or do a wrong or mean thing, is a reed shaken by the wind. The girl who is influenced by frivolities and worldly pleasure, and drawn away from Christ and from a beautiful life, is likewise a reed bent and swayed by the wind.

They are growing everywhere, these reeds, and the wind shakes them every time it blows. Who wants to be a reed? Who would not rather be like the oak, growing in soil as solid as a rock, which no storm bends or even causes to tremble?

There is one apparent advantage in being like a reed: one seems to escape persecution. John would hardly have met the fate he did meet if he had been easily shaken. People who are like reeds do not often lose their heads on the martyr’s block. But they are in danger of losing their souls; and that certainly is worse