Monday, September 05, 2005

I Would Never Do That!

If it were not for the grace of God, we would be in the same position as many people we look down on for the choices they have made or the predicament they are in.

I relearned a lesson this week. When I tell God or even someone else that I will never do something, I end up doing it. I have found that the “I will never do that attitude” almost always stems from pride.

“I am better than that”
“I make better choices than that”
“I plan for my future”
“I work harder than that”
“I have more self control than that”
“That will never happen to me”

Everyone should realize that it is the grace of God that helps us make the choices we make. If it were not for the grace of God, we would be in the same position as many people we look down on for the choices they have made or the predicament they are in.

Here are some large and small examples from my own life. Some are trivial, but they teach a valuable lesson.

I hate history and government. It is worthless and I will never waste my time with it.
I said this in high school, where the only “C” I got was in American Government. I ended up majoring in Political Science, and I now enjoy reading and learning history. In fact, I am in the middle of reading a great autobiography of John Adams. I have been very impressed with his love and devotion to God, his wife, and his country. It just tells me that I don’t know my own future. James 4:12-14

I don’t understand accounting, and I will never use it
I was an accounting major at Oklahoma State for my first two semesters. I dropped my first accounting class twice before I realized that I need to change my major to Political Science. I remember thinking that I was going to put accounting as far behind me as I could. Today I work for a CPA firm where I consult not for profit agencies and state and local governments on accounting best practices using a variety of software packages.

I hate baseball, and why would anyone want to waste time collecting stupid cards?
This one again goes back to probably before high school. I had this attitude about several of my friends who spent time collecting baseball cards. One night I went to a slumber party, and everyone had their cards out. I became intrigued that evening, and I began a collection of baseball cards. I don’t collect them anymore, but it was an enjoyable hobby for a couple of years. It just tells me that my desires may change.

I will never drink alcohol
I need to be careful here, but it is a perfect example. I was probably 25 or 26 years old before I ever drank alcohol. The fact remains that I swore I would never do it. I felt that next to having sex outside of marriage, it was the second biggest sin. Today, I’m not so sure that drinking is a sin. It is an issue that I have not been able to resolve to my satisfaction. I still have great respect for those that have strong feelings about this issue.

People are Attracted to Their Opposites
I am shocked that I have the wife that I have. We grew up together and went to the same grade school. We were lifelong friends…well, not really. We went to the same school and probably never talked to each other. Then one day she shows up at my old church, and there was no turning back. When people say you are attracted to your opposite, I could not have disagreed more. I now see the truth in this. I am pretty laid back, and kind of a people pleaser, my wife is a go getter and don’t let people walk over you type of person.

I also remember a conversation I had with a college friend of mine one evening. After our Baptist Student Union meeting one evening, we started talking. She had a boyfriend that had joined the Peace Corp the summer before. She was telling me what a great guy he was, and how he was everything she wanted, blah, blah, blah. Jokingly, I told her that she was going to marry some long haired guy with tattoos and an earring. She was shocked and told me that long hair on guys is awful, and tattoos and earrings are signs of rebellion. I knew this would get that reaction, and that is why I said it. About 3 weeks later, she came up to me and said “You will never guess who came over to my apartment last night.” I thought her boyfriend was back, but was shocked to learn that it was an acquaintance of ours from church that had long hair and an earring. She broke up with her boyfriend, and they got married soon after that.

If I Were in Charge, Things would be Different
I relearned this valuable lesson this week. When we first started attending Wesley, I remember seeing numerous typos on the screens during worship. I got a good laugh out of things like calling “Jesus Christ” “Jesus Chris”. My friend Chris was sitting in front of me, and I wonder to this day if he caught it. It didn’t happen often, but it wasn’t a total shock to see things like this on the displays in worship.
I remember talking to my wife about it one day, and I told her that it just wasn’t professional, and that I could do better given the chance. My wife basically told me to mind my own business and quit being so judgmental. A few months later, I was asked if I had an interest in preparing and running the displays during worship. I eagerly agreed, and I worked very hard on them the first few times. Just last week, I went in early Sunday morning to prepare, instead of the day before. I was rushed, and I had to type some of the hymns by hand because they didn’t match our hymn books. There were some other mistakes as well, and I was thoroughly embarrassed by the number of errors that were shown during the service. I was pretty upset and maybe even a little depressed after the service because of it.

What about you? Do you have any stories like this? Have you ever done something expecting certain results and got something totally different? Have you ever had a proud attitude that God had to shoot down? The above examples came easily to my mind, and I could probably think of at least a dozen more with a little effort.


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