Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Get out of the boat

Good morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

I was driving to the YMCA this morning, as I was driving I was listening to the radio.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who had recently bought a car, he is an avid motorcyclist and didn’t even have a car for years. I asked him, “How do you like the car?” He said, “It’s warm!”

So I am driving along listening to some station that was on the radio when I got in the car this morning. They were talking about sandwiches, more aptly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They talked about crunchy or smooth, debating the pros and cons of each. They talked about jelly verses jam, debating the pros and cons of each. The topic of preserves came up and threw everyone for a loop for a while.

I am driving along thinking my own thoughts with half an ear tuned to the radio. After about twenty minutes I came out of my thought and started listening to the radio fully. This is when I realized that I was listening to utter nonsense. That in my unintentional state of being I had been listening to a group of people who had nothing better to talk about than the differences between chunky and smooth peanut butter. When they went off on a debate over miracle whip and mayonnaise, with arose after someone said that they like to put mayonnaise on their peanut butter sandwich, I turned off the radio.

I like being intentional.

I like being a chaplain.

I like being a conduit that Jesus can use to have conversations with people who for whatever reason never or at least seldom walk through the doors of a church.

I like working with people, getting them to see their God given potential.

I like being a chaplain in the YMCA.

I like seeing people learn to be great.

My sadness comes when someone says, “I’m good to go. I don’t need the YMCA, church or Jesus.”

Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, makes the following observation.
Good is the enemy of great.

If someone never takes that hard look at themselves they may never go from good to great.

John Ortberg laments the following in his book, If you want to walk on water you’ve got to GET OUT OF THE BOAT.

To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed –
Until weeks become months
And months turn to years,
And one day you’re looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenching honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself –
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.
[1]John Ortberg, If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to GET OUT OF THE BOAT, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 34.

My prayer today is that we spend less time talking about peanut butter sandwiches and more time talking about things that truly matter. That we spend less time thinking about things that at the end of the day are really trivial and more time thinking about the things that are truly important. That our hearts are turned toward love and unity and away from anger and dissent; that we have the courage to get out of the boat.

When I asked my friend what he liked about his car I am glad he didn't say the radio.