teaching initiative

 

Flat Tires and Character Lessons
by Carl Caton

Saturday morning, my son and I were pulling a travel trailer to our hunting camp north of Lampasas, Texas. It's that time of year when deer hunters are hauling every form of makeshift equipment to the most remote parts of our state. 

As we navigated the start and stop traffic of the main artery through Lampasas, I heard the dreaded sound that no driver ever enjoys hearing... metal on pavement. Not only had we had a blowout, but there was virtually nothing left of that right, rear trailer tire. It looked like something you would see in a Jeff Foxworthy sitcom; a metal rim rollin' down the highway. 

We parked our rig in front of a familiar hardware store and went inside to borrow a phone book as we began our quest for a tire repair shop. I told Chad, my son, that we would easily put the spare on and get a new tire mounted on the existing rim. Inside the store I asked a couple of locals where they suggest we go. A cheerful fellow named Chris offered a couple of options and immediately volunteered to take action. Within minutes we had information on at least two tire shops that could help us. I thanked him and headed back out to the parking lot to install the spare. In the blink of an eye, there was Chris - again - offering help, tools... even a heavy duty jack from home. Even though I thought our jack would suffice, Chris zoomed off in his truck to get some better equipment.

As Chris is pulling out of the parking lot, Jeff is pulling in. He rolls down his window and offers help. (Don't you love small towns in Texas!) I told Jeff we were OK and yet he was right there within minutes with his own tools to help. To make a long story short, it took all four of us to get the old rim off the trailer. Worse yet, Chris cracks a front tooth in the process. Ever cheerful, he puts me at ease with his situation, diverting my attention away from the fact that he will probably spend several hours in the dental chair getting that tooth fixed.

As you might expect, Chris and Jeff are Godly men and active in their local churches. We talked about ministry, church, and faith as we toiled under a bright morning sun. And while you think their biggest favor was aiding a needy traveler, actually the most valuable thing they gave us was a lesson in initiative.

In the midst of all this activity is a thirteen year old son of mine - soaking in the example of manly conduct. Chris and Jeff taught my son that true Christian men are men of initiative. Jesus was certainly a man of initiative. Matthew 9:35-38 tells of Jesus traveling from town to town teaching and preaching. In verse 36, we hear that Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them. Jesus was aware of the people in His world, being observant of their need, and responding with physical and spiritual help. That's the call to all Christian men. And that's the model for true Christian ministry... practical in nature but always pointing people to the ultimate source of help, Jesus Christ.

When we got back on the road, Chad and I talked about initiative. I encouraged him to be like the men we had just spent time with. I think Chad actually had a fun time in the process. He suggested we keep a mangled piece of rubber that we'd pulled off the rim as a reminder of our adventure. I readily agreed. And I hope every time he sees that reminder, he remembers the initiative of a few Christian men.

Jeff and Chris, thanks for your help changing the tire. Thanks for modeling the character trait of initiative to my son. And thank you for being a faithful, humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Oh, and... De Colores.

"Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

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