While on the road my wife and I spend a lot of time talking with folks. Perhaps some people seem to find it easier to share their heart with a stranger passing through knowing that they are not going to be faced with that person again anytime soon.
We meet all sorts of people and we become first-hand witnesses to many of their life experiences. Especially in the midwest, many of these people have some religious background and see themselves at various levels of religious adherence.
From talking with people, it seems that those who are able to devote themselves to spiritual activities such as prayer or going to church consider themselves religious, while those who are more involved in the practical aspects of life seem to think that they are not as religious as they should be.
This always bothers me because I happen to think that the person who works everyday as a carpenter or mechanic to faithfully provide for their family is doing as much of a religious work as the one serving sandwiches at the local mission or leading a prayer meeting. In fact, true religious spirituality is as much if not more about civic duty, giving hospitality, taking care of our responsibilities, altruism, and personal integrity in business than just about prayer and going to church. I can't help but think about all the people we meet and those who think of themselves as the least religious but who actually have hearts of gold as they take others under their wings of care. In my book, anyone who of his own volition volunteers to be a help to others, even sometimes at the risk of life or limb acts as a representative of God whether they know it or not.
In conclusion, it takes both to make a functionning world: those who pray and those who do, and one should not boast against the other.
This week Christina and I were privileged to be hosted by friends of ours who own a big farm in Iowa. They grow corn, soybeans, and raise sheep. For dinner we were served the first fruit of their corn and potato harvest.
One morning I got up to help Gary with deworming the sheep. Gary has 750 sheep that need a deworming injection. The process requires to gather the sheep into a chute were they pass by one by one while Garry injects them. My job was to let the injected ones out. It may sound simple, but these sheep kept pushing their way out and it was all I could do to not let uninjected ones escape.
I watched the sheep as Gary was manoeuvering them through the chute. They fought like crazy. I guess just like kids, they don’t like shots. They were giving Gary a real hard time and even the other helper was having difficulty herding them towards the chute. As a Bible reader I could not escape the analogy. God compares us to sheep. Do we give him such a hard time? At the table that night Gary’s wife told me that being compared to sheep is not complimentary. Sheep are poor problem solvers.
I noticed that Gary would lead certain sheep enticing them with grain. “This is one of my lead sheep!” he said. “I’ve got to be nice to it. It’s part of their training.”
Sheep do not follow the shepherd; they follow the lead sheep. The shepherd therefore has to develop a close relationship with the lead sheep so it obeys him. To do that the shepherd gives it extra care and food. If the lead sheep is well taken care of it will follow him and lead the others.
Does this principle apply to human behavior? Every company, society, church, family, group with a leadership structure needs its pillars who lead the people, and these pillars are groomed through the establishment of good personal relationships with leadership.
t was December 1931. Ted and Dorothy had just bought the only drugstore in a small town on the edge of the South Dakota Badlands, a town of 326 poor farmers wiped out by either the Great Depression or the drought
Ted and Dorothy gave themselves 5 years to make the business grow, after that they would leave. By the time the summer of 1936 came around, business hadn't grown much at all. Their five-year trial would be up in December. What would they do then? Along with nine-year-old Billy, Dorothy and Ted now had a one-month-old daughter, Mary Elizabeth.
One hot Sunday in July, though, a great change swept us up. It started quietly, in the deadening heat of an early afternoon, when Dorothy said to Ted, "You don't need me here, Ted. I'm going to put Billy and the baby down for a nap and maybe take one myself." Ted minded the empty store swatting flies with a rolled-up newspaper.
An hour later Dorothy came back. "Too hot to sleep?" Ted asked. "No, it wasn't the heat that kept me awake," Dorothy said. "It was all the cars going by on Route 16A. "That's too bad," Ted said. Dorothy replied, "No, because you know what, Ted? I think I finally saw how we can get all those travelers to come to our store." "And how's that?" ted asked. "Well, now what is it that those travelers really want after driving across that hot prairie? They're thirsty. They want water. Ice cold water! Now we've got plenty of ice and water. Why don't we put up signs on the highway telling people to come here for free ice water? Listen, I even made up a few lines for the sign: "Get a soda . . . Get a root beer . . . turn next corner . . . Just as near . . . To Highway 16 & 14. . . Free Ice Water. . . "
The next weekend Ted and the boy went out to the highway and put up signs for free ice water. By the time I got back to the store, people had already begun showing up for their ice water. Dorothy was running all around to keep up. "Five glasses of ice water, please," a father called out. "May I have a glass for Grandma?" a boy asked. "She's in the car." "Say, good sir," one traveler said in a Scottish brogue, "we're going all the way to Yellowstone Park. Would you mind filling this jug with your water?" "Hey this free ice water is a great idea," said a salesman, sidling up onto a stool. "How about selling me an ice cream cone?"
For hours they poured gallons of ice water, made ice cream cones and gave highway directions. When the travelers started on their way again, refreshed and ready for new adventures, they gave Ted and Dorothy hearty thanks.
When the day was done, Ted and Dorothy were pooped. They sat in front of the store, watching the sunset, feeling a cool breeze come in off the prairie. The next summer they had to hire eight girls to help them, and now that the store is in the good hands of their son. Today the store draws 20.000 thousand people on a good summer day.
Here is a great lesson. No matter where you live, you can succeed, because wherever you are, you can reach out to other people with something that they need, even something that is free!
What was the full name of the man? Ted Hustead
Founder of Wall Drug Store in Wall South Dakota
A friend of mine shared an interesting video with me. It was about a man who created and built a backward bicycle. When the rider turned the handlebars to the right, the front wheel went to the left and vice versa. The inventor’s goal was to see if people could ride this bicycle and adjust to the change simply by knowing how it worked. He mounted the bike and discovered he could not ride it. As he lectured across the US, he challenged people to try to ride this bike offering a $200 reward to anyone who could. Many were sure they could do this, but failed miserably.
After eight months the creator finally conquered the skill and oddly enough, his six year old son acquired the same skill after only two weeks!
Later this man hopped on a regular bicycle and discovered that he was unable to ride. He had to re-learn how to ride the normal bike.
These things touch a lot on how the neuro pathways in the brain work. I am not a neurologist so I cannot comment on this. However what I can deduce is that knowing something does not necessarily mean understanding, hence the need for practice and drill of the things that we know are good and proper.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0
If you appreciate these articles, support their upcoming publication in a book called, "REFLECTIONS OF A FIRE CHAPLAIN"