Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trunk Lids and Flash Drives

It was one of those mornings!

I went to the garage on my way to work, wanting to make the “finish line” of my day as delightful as the start. Suddenly, I remembered that I had forgotten to take the project with me that I had intended to do that very day! It was on a small flash drive, still plugged into my computer in the house! I ran back inside, retrieved it, and got back in the car.

By now I was running late, so I began to “multi-task”. I pushed the garage door opener just before I started the car, only to have another frantic thought that I had not pushed the garage door opener! Would you believe it, I then actually pushed it again, as I started to back out. Horrified, I realized that the garage door was now headed for the top of my car! The awful screech revealed that the last move was totally futile!

Personal regrets, fear of failure, how others view us, narrow time constraints, are all arch-enemies of life. Ironically, none of them are really in our sphere of control. Like supersonic planes, we struggle getting through our own “sound barrier”. The wiser we become, the more determined we become, yet more susceptible to failure.

Passion and precision are crucial – but we take great risks when things we cannot control blur the picture! Why would we risk those for external proofs of the same? Jesus once let a dear friend die, when he could have healed him right on the spot. When he finally arrived on the scene, he was severely criticized! His spirit demonstrated the true meaning of excellence, as he raised him from the dead! (See the story in John 11:1-45.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

“That is not what I wanted”, I grumbled in buyer’s remorse, as I opened the new cassette tape duplicator after getting home from a thirty mile round trip each way! It was crushed on one side!
I was not happy! It was the third trip I had made in a week, to buy one! The first one was reasonable in price, but inferior in quality, so I returned it.

We lived in the country. The nearest store was a fifteen minute trip. Others were significantly more.

I had found joy in duplicating tapes of our church services to share with those who were unable to come. God had blessed it before, and there were those who were happy to help underwrite this ministry. However, the task was getting larger, and I wanted to do it faster.

I wrapped up the flawed equipment, (on a Saturday evening), and drove the thirty miles again, praying that I would get there in time, and also searching out my motives. I finally arrived five minutes before closing time. They exchanged it without a problem.

“Why did you put me through all of this for a silly tape duplicator”, I grumbled to the Lord, acting no better than Jonah did after Ninevah had repented! Read Jonah 4:1-4.

A deep consciousness of God’s Word was clear, “I wanted you to get one that would last the longest, and do the best job for my ministry through you.”

I had seen the need so clearly that I had forgotten that there was much more at stake than I realized. There was the design; the manufacturing process; the shipping, and the marketing! In fact, with so many factors, it was amazing that I did as well as I did.

A little embarrassed, I realized that I had forgotten that this was not merely “my” ministry – it was God’s! Had I not been praying? Had I not been using tapes as a ministry and encouragement to those in need? Did not all of this prove it was His ministry? Why wouldn’t he want others to do it right, too? Maybe they didn’t know they were serving the Lord? Maybe if they realized that, they would do a better job?

Could this not apply to any activity of our lives that we are trying to do for the Lord? 1 Corinthians 3:9.

The flaws I had encountered proved that Someone else owned what I was doing, and wanted to make sure it was worthy of His Support.

I remembered that what I do for others, I really do for the Lord. If there are troubles along the way, maybe He is helping others do His job the way it should be done as well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


“That’s better”, I thought, as I listened to the song I had just recorded. I had listened to it with my new “noise-cancelling” headphones! The highs were clear as the sound of a knife on crystalline glass; the lows like the rumble of distant thunder; clarity was superb!

The manufacturer had used “active noise control”, (ANC). Positive (+) sound waves from the outside are played as negative (–) “anti-noise” sounds in my ears, allowing only the pure sounds from the recording to reach my ears.

“That’s it!”, I thought, when I reflected on it, in light of Jesus’ instruction on banquets. What does a banquet have to do with recording? Simply that I was preparing this for others to listen to! That’s what makes it like a banquet! He had told them to be discerning. (Luke 14:12-14.)

Later in the day, while out and about in my car, I began to comprehend it! It was one of those “aha” moments. “You’ve got to deal with the noise to truly hear music”. I grinned to myself mischievously, “This means you’ve got to put on your ‘Jesus’ headphones, when you record and share!”

I then absent-mindedly I walked into a local coffee shop to meet a friend. Suddenly, reality settled in . . . !

“Not again,” I thought. “When will they ever start remembering my senior discount!” I had just purchased tea and a bagel, and they had charged me full price – again!

I know, I know, that sounds really petty. But I told myself that I honestly try not to be demanding while I remind them of my age, pointing to my bald head!

(Oh, by the way, I recently heard of someone who had decided to make the best of his bald head experience, by having a small tattoo of a person with a lawnmower placed at his hair line!)

I chose not to say anything. As I did, however, a twinge of false guilt came over me, because I felt I needed every discount I could get! After all, that is a quarter! Four purchases later I could have another tea and a bagel free! “A stitch in time saves nine!” (See Stitch-in-Time)

That feeling followed me for a while, until I remembered that the waitress may not have had very many good experiences with white-headed men and women like me that day. With new understanding, I began to pray that she would have a good day, and would experience more joy in her job.

Later I even bought a pop and a Danish for a person who had just lost his job. It also hit me why I had lost my joy when condemning the forgetful waitress. She had viewed me as wealthy, and not really needing a discount.

She was discerning! Jesus was right!

From God’s perspective I was claiming sight – when blind; I was claiming agility – when lame; I was claiming health – while deformed; I was claiming wealth – when I was poor.

That is what Jesus was getting at! It was what He saw in my heart when I grumbled about my discount! (Matthew 6:4.)

Is not this a reason why our “marketplace” strategy should be guarded?

Let’s keep the “noise” out of our banquets!