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Friday, September 29, 2006

Glass shattering indignity

I've told embarrassing stories about myself, but none comes close to what happened to this guy! The story below is from a weekly e-mail of sermon illustrations that I receive.

A Glass Shattering Indignity

After my solitary walking incident (See When Bare Teeth are after your Behind), I decided that as long as I was in the Minneapolis area, I would take my walks with a friend!

Upon returning from one of these walks, this time with a former Iowa farmer, I entered the living room of the house where we lodged to find my fellow classmates all gathered around the TV. The movie seemed to be wholesome, so I decided to join them. The only problem was that all of the seats were already taken. The dirty floor was out of the question, so I chose a wooden end table for my seat instead. It was one of those tables inlaid with glass panels, and after testing it to make sure it would hold me up, I settled down to enjoy the movie. There was a sudden cracking sound! Before I realized what was happening, my glass seat caved in and I found myself stuck in an end table!

Instantly all eyes in the room shifted from the movie to me, and mouths gaped open as if I had just dropped in from Mars. (Or is it Venus? I never get this straight. I always forget whether men come from Mars or Venus!) After silently staring at me for what seemed an eternity, the room finally came alive, and twenty pairs of hands reached out to help me up. Before I knew it, I was again on my own two legs. Only one problem: My bottom-side felt as if it had been attacked by a dozen killer wasps!

"Euh…" one of the guys stammered, "you have pieces of glass sticking out of your … your . . . your behind."

Sure enough, my pain was caused by several glass shards that protruded from my poor bottom! My face turned red. Without even trying, I had become the class clown. My dignity had been shattered by an …. An end table! It was definitely time to retreat!

I quickly excused myself and withdrew to the only shelter I knew: my assigned room. Here I took off my pants and tried to locate the chards of glass. I had a bit of a problem, however. With my derriere being on the opposite side of my body from my eyes, my body was simply not built for such endeavors! What was I supposed to do? "Lord, help me!" I begged.

Just as I finished uttering my plea, my roommate opened the door: "Let me help you!"

Now I was in a bit of a quandary. Though I desperately needed help, it is quite embarrassing to be showing your bottom-side to someone who is little more than a perfect stranger, especially when there is glass protruding from it! Though I had cried out for help, I wasn't exactly sure I really wanted any! But since I really had NO other options, I threw myself across my bed and closed my eyes. My God-sent rescuer would have to handle my indignities!

When all was over, I was more than grateful for his help. Without his intervention, I would not have been able to sit until I reached home. And maybe I wouldn't even have made it back home! After all, how does one go about sitting in an airplane seat with glass chards in one's behind? I can see myself being arrested by the airport's security:

"Excuse me sir, you are not allowed to board this plane!"

"Why not?"

"You are carrying potential weapons!"

How embarrassing!

Getting back to the glass shards in my bottom for a moment, I realize that I was faced with a choice: To accept or to reject my roommate's help. Fortunately, I made the right one! How often, though, do we go through life rejecting the help of others? "I can handle this myself!" We say. "I don't need any help!" It is true that we may be able to handle our circumstances our own way, but how much more pleasant when we have the help of others who care?

The Bible tells us to: "Encourage one another daily…" (Heb 3:13 NIV); "Encourage one another and build each other up…" (1 Thess 5:11 NIV); "Be kind and compassionate to one another…" (Eph 4:32 NIV); and "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (Rom 15:7 NIV)

We were not created to act independently. We are not solitary beings. We long for love and acceptance. Let's not dig our own graves by rejecting those who want to come to our help. It is only then that we really will know what true love is. It is only then that we understand what Jesus meant when He said: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)

When we are facing impossible situations, let's remember the following advice given by the apostle Paul: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31 NIV); "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col 3:17 NIV)

Are we giving glory to Jesus when we try to handle everything by ourselves?

"Euh…excuse me. You have something protruding from your behind. Can I help you?"

What will be your answer?

Rob Chaffart

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