“Did you get a chance to read any of my manuscript”? I asked. “I started, but it read like a blog!” – “I WILL NOT take my time to read that!!!” He declared with fury in his voice. I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time.
Without having read much, if not any of my manuscript, the man I’ll call Stan, railed on me for over 52 minutes. Stan was an elder at our church at the time, a self and church proclaimed mentoring coach, led the men’s ministry, and even preached on occasion.
Stan was a great guy, I’m sure still is, he was generally fun, engaging, and had a big personality, but chose not to use any of those traits the day I called him. To be honest, if I hadn’t known Stan’s heart and service for God, I would have never sat and listened to him basically degrade me for close to an hour.
I knew Stan pretty well, but I learned more of who Stan really was and where he was in his life that day.
Have you ever had events in your life that really rocked your world? The things that may have sent you over the cliff of self-control, into an unstoppable free fall?
With all due respect and the acknowledgement that I’m not perfect and have done less than many people, most assuredly Stan, for the advancement of God’s kingdom, his reaction was less than mature. More like that of a bad boy scout.
When I was around eight years old, I some how got talked into or was made to join the Cub Scouts. I used the too big, faded blue shirt and yellow neck-tie-folded-scarf-thing, handed down through two big brothers, for my turn at what seemed like a forced family tradition.
It was more fun than I thought it would be due to the fact that it always ended up playing and rough housing. What I enjoyed the most about the Cub Scout meetings was the running, jumping, and wrestling. More to the point is the fact that I enjoyed winning. I usually ended up in the front of the pack in most things we’d play.
I can’t remember the new kid’s name, but I remember his face like it was yesterday. He was tall, slim, and very quiet. As we headed out for what the Den Mother called a nature walk, all of us knew it would turn into a foot race.
Sure enough, once we got off the road into that littered with trash wash, the race began. I was leading the rest of the little Scouts by a ways when I heard the new kid coming up behind me.
I looked back, surprised my leadership was about to be tested. I started running for all I was worth… I guess I wasn’t worth enough that day, because my effort couldn’t buy me what my heart desired.
Those long legs began to pull ahead and away from me. In shock, surprise, and disappointment, I did what most abnormal kids would do at the time… I spotted an old metal coffee pot half buried in the sand of that polluted nature walk. I quickly, in stride, scooped up the old coffee pot and threw it at the new, soon to be champion as he was pulling away.
The filthy coffee pot hit the kid in the calf area of his left leg in a back stride, he stumbled… But didn’t fall, he just kept running as fast as he could.
The kid wasn’t even mad, standing waiting for me in the front yard of the Den Mother’s house. I was unapologetic… The Den Mother told my mom I wasn’t allowed at the next Den meeting… I never went back…
The emotions of humans, outside the heart and will of God, can be remarkably ugly.
Philippians 2:3- a, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” (NIV)
I’ve come a long way since the days of my youth, but like Stan, I struggle with my own issues. In some ways, I’m still like that little punk who wanted to win at all costs.
I’m still prone to take the desire and gift from God, this time in the form of writing, and pollute it like that old wash I ran through as a kid, all in the name of winning…
May the words I use in all writings come from a heart for God and bring Him and my family honor, not myself…