Monthly Archives: August 2012

My Old Scoutmaster

The Boy Scouts have a set of laws that they typically stand by, promising to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, etc.” and I am certain that those laws have an influence on the Scouts.

As I came up through the ranks over the years though, one of the themes I saw though, at least among the boys, was “avoid bothersome work if possible.”

Now, we were all about making fires, putting up tents, cooking dinner, and especially shooting guns. But when it came to things like getting wood or cleaning up after dinner, no sir. That was when you tried to make yourself scarce.

One campout, I was standing within earshot of the leaders when the Scoutmaster asked the Assistant Scoutmaster if he would carry out a particular task.

And while I have forgotten the nature of the task long ago, I have not forgotten his response.

“Sure, I’ll do that.”

I remember being stunned to hear that. It’s not that is was so unexpected for an adult to have that attitude. It was more because I was so immersed in the child attitude of:

“I’d rather not do that.”

Although I have forgotten his name, that Assistant Scoutmaster’s four words have really stuck with me. His attitude of serving was novel to a young man.

A much later Scouting event had us serving up hot dogs at a community fair. I saw the Assistant Scoutmaster who had by that time moved on to other things, walking among the crowd with some friends, evangelizing.

I think one of the dynamics that has cemented those two impressions is that I saw the helping first, and the witnessing second. His initial service gave his later witness a true credibility.

It made a lasting impact.

Can you imagine the impact it might have had on me to see him self-centered, as I was, and then watched him evangelize?



Stop Digging

sb10068763c-001Picture yourself taking a small garden trowel out of your shed, and starting to dig a small hole for a seedling tree.

As the hole starts taking shape and the dirt starts flying, your adrenaline gets going and you keep digging. And digging. And digging. Pretty soon, you start saying to yourself, “This is going to be one awesome hole!”

Meanwhile, the seedling looks at  your work and thinks to itself, “You know, I really think that the hole is already big enough.”

But it’s not good enough for you.

Somehow, your effort has turned from the reasonable task of providing a home for your seedling, to getting caught up in the act of digging itself.

Excitedly, you dig.  And dig, and dig. Your pursuit has turned from digging a sufficient hole, to digging a significant one. And of course if you keep digging long enough, you eventually find yourself in a hole that you can’t dig yourself out of

Let’s apply that to our inclination to possess things.

Often, the same point that we realize we really could have done without a thing, especially if we think we really could have done without a thing, is the same point we find ourselves stuck in a hole.

Christians Aren’t Perfect, Just Forgiven

A great bumper sticker. Who comes up with bumper stickers anyway?

But don’t let forgiveness serve as an excuse for not aspiring to a perfect life, and for living a dead end spiritual life.

Jesus told us to be perfect, just as our heavenly Father is perfect. What do you think that meant anyway?

Maybe at some point in our walk, we should be working more on the perfect part, and less on the forgiven part.