January 17, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Our Actions Affect Others

Brother-Aaron-236x300In his book, “Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late,” Robert J. Morgan tells a story about his friend, George Westover, who was stationed on the USS Tennessee, as it was anchored in Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.

According to Morgan, the Friday night before the Sunday morning attack on Pearl Harbor, Westover, who had been on shore leave, was late returning to the ship.

As punishment, he was assigned the task of spending his Saturday painting his battle station. When he finished, he failed to secure and stow his can of gray paint.

The next morning when general quarters sounded a voice came over the intercom announcing this was not a drill – it was war! As Westover ran to his battle station his foot hit the can of paint spilling it on the floor where he had to stand.

It also spilled paint onto the decks below. Seventy years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Westover still speaks about how frustrating it was trying to fight the enemy while slipping in a pool of gray paint that seeped into his shoes, stuck to his skin, got on his weapon, and dripped on the sailors below.

And so it is with us as Christians. When the enemy attacks, it is usually the things in our Christian walk that we have failed to secure and stow properly that causes us the greatest aggravation, difficulty, and will even spill into the lives of others causing them to suffer for our carelessness.

As Christians, we need to make absolutely sure that everything in our relationship with Jesus is properly secured and stowed.  It’s too late to do so when the enemy is attacking and the battle is raging!

While George Westover’s actions had a profoundly adverse effect upon him, as if often the case, his actions also had a profoundly adverse effect upon innocent victims. My eight-year-old granddaughter, Kaitlyn, is a good case-in-point. Kaitlyn competes in track and field events. She is really quite good.

In fact, this past weekend she won third place in her age group at the district level competition for the long jump event. This qualifies her to compete at the state level meet. However, she is also a member of a four person relay team.

A couple of weekends ago Marianne and I went to Carrollton to watch her compete. They announced over the public address system for all participants in the four person relay to come to the designated assembly area for the completion. Kaitlyn came down out of the bleachers and made her way to the designated area.

About ten minutes later she made her way back into the bleachers where Stephanie, (Her momma) Marianne, and I were sitting. She sat down and just busted out crying.

Startled, her momma said, “What’s wrong?” Though sobs she blurted out, “They won’t let me run!” By this time, thinking that the coach just wasn’t going to let her run, Stephanie’s claws started coming out! She exclaimed in a rather loud, demanding, and in a “momma bear protecting one of her cubs” tone of voice, “And just why not?”

To which Kaitlyn finally choked out, “Because some of the other team members didn’t show up and we don’t have enough people to compete.”  The same thing happened again this past weekend.  She was heartbroken again.

Here is the truth of this column: Our actions affect others! Whether it is through a spilled can of paint, or failing to show up at a team completion we committed to, our actions often cause pain in the lives of innocent people.

You see, our actions are not just “our business.” Listen to me – they affect others!

And I think all of us, starting with me, need to make sure we have properly stowed and secured everything in our Christian walk that needs to be properly stowed and secured.

Our failure to do so is a recipe for disaster! And by the way, when we fail to honor the commitments we have made to the team, quite often; it is devastating to the other team members who were counting on us! Again, hear this truth: Our actions affect others!

Brother Aaron  

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