September 29, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: “… Chances Are – It’s a Duck!”

A long time ago, my daddy gave me some of the best “life advice” I have ever received.

He said, “Son, sometimes in life you are going to encounter situations, circumstances, and people that you just cannot understand.

When you do, remember what I am about to tell you: “If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are – it’s a duck!”

And while this has not always been 100% correct; it has been an excellent rule of thumb!

I am old enough to remember when self-improvement seminars were the rave of the age.

Dale Carnegie marketed his famous course entitled: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” And there was also the movement that stressed: “Dress for Success.”

One lady, who, even while traveling for vacation, wore a business suit and heels. Her motto?  “Wear great clothes. You never know whom you’ll meet!”  And this brings into play the saying, “Reality is what it is perceived to be!”

In my opinion, in life, the fine edge between success and failure can often be summed-up in one word: “Perception!”

Like it or not, to most people, we are what they perceive us to be!

In the past ten to fifteen years I have watched and observed as the standards we used to define a person have been devolving, have become very convoluted, and in many cases – are nonexistent! Apple Computers and other Silicon Valley businesses help propagate this.

Gone were the business suits, tie’s, long-sleeve shirts, and wingtip dress shoes. Polo shirts, khaki pants, shorts, and sandals became the new normal for business attire.  This line of business thinking began to make its way into the church world.

Somehow, we thought for the church to reach the world, we needed to look like the world.  I kid you not; the other day I saw a preacher on Facebook preaching in shorts. Wow! I guess I am just a dinosaur walking! Yes! We come to Jesus just as we are.

However, He loves us far too much to leave us that way!

Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a preacher friend. I told him that because I want the world to accept me as a preacher/pastor, I dress like a preacher/pastor. (At least my vision of what one should look like!)

I remember my pastor friend, Olin McClain. One day he was at home and not feeling well. Several of us pastors went to visit him. When we walked into his living room, we found him dressed in a suit and tie. When asked why, he replied, “I am an ambassador for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think I should look like one!”

In the days of the old black and white TV western shows, it used to be easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Generally speaking, the good guys wore white hats! You see, what they were governed how they presented themselves!

As America has been devolving and digressing away from “normal” standards, it has become increasingly difficult to identify the true character of a person.

Today, a person may be highly intelligent, well-mannered, and well-spoken. But when they present themselves dressed as thugs, or a street walker, and look like they fell face first into a tackle box and are wearing all the fishing lures, are tattooed to the hilt, and have died their hair purple, green, or both – the change of standards make it difficult to know!

And to me, they have no right to be upset with the rest of us when we take them at their word, believing they are exactly who they are presenting themselves to be! Remember, “reality is what it is perceived to be!”

Now, if you do not like your “current reality,” the fix is simple! Change the way you are presenting yourself to the world! And hey, you older folks, (like me) this goes for us too!

Remember, “… Chances Are – It’s a Duck!”

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he …”  Proverbs 23:7(a)(KJV)

 

Brother Aaron

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