Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Our Wake

We were on a dark stretch of rural highway heading out to our deer lease. The speed limit was 70 mph and a friend was following a few car lengths behind me.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a skunk appeared in front of us moving across the road from right to left. I shouted, “Skunk!” and, unable to react in time to avoid him, we heard “thud – thud” as he first passed under the front and then rear left tires of the truck.
My son asked me, “Was that a live skunk?” I replied, “Not now.”
Meanwhile, with my friend’s headlights picking up the mist of ‘spraying skunk’ as it rolled out from under my truck like a football on the highway, he had no choice but to drive right through the stink bomb cloud.
A few seconds later, my cell phone rang and my friend tried to choke out the words – “Thanks a lot!”
In the next small town, as we peacefully came to a stop at a traffic light, my friend pulled to a stop behind us. Then the cloud of eye-watering stench caught up with and enveloped us as well.
That’s when it really hit home with me that what we leave behind us – in our ‘wake’ – has a definite impact on those that follow.

Who is following in your wake? Who is being impacted by and having to live with the consequences of your actions?
So often we live our lives as if our decisions and our actions affect only us. Even when they are well-intentioned and well thought out.
But we don’t live in a vacuum. There are people who may specifically be following us (perhaps in our role as ‘spiritual leaders’ of our families) and there are people who just end up ‘in our wake.’
Attitudes, addictions, hobbies, habits – all of those things that we like to think affect us alone (we claim they’re “victimless”) – we’re just mowing down skunks and leaving ‘em in our wakes to stink up other people’s lives. And we usually don’t even think about or realize who may be affected by being ‘in our wake.’
Sometimes a “skunk” appears out of nowhere. But those “skunks” are usually of our own making. And it’s our responsibility to avoid them (when possible), lessen the impact they may cause others, and then deal with or correct the stink they cause.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don't take advantage of them.
Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.
Parents, don't come down too hard on your children or you'll crush their spirits.
Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work
(Colossians 3:15-25, MSG)

A waking moment,
Craig Hollingsworth

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