A few summers ago I overheard my son, Sam, playing cars. I think he was two at the time, and he was acting out a traffic jam — something a DC area child knows well. At one point, one car yelled out, “C’mon, People!” It was a funny nuance for a little guy to capture in play, but it also made me seriously consider the impatience that I obviously model in the car. It was even worse that at the time we had been vacationing for almost two weeks in a place that has zero traffic and in which we spend very little time in the car. It wasn’t like he was quoting me from that day, or even that week. But these things sink in. Sadly.
In fact, Sam had occasion to use “C’mon People!” again just a few days ago. All summer I’ve been trying to get him to go off the diving boards at the pool. He is a strong swimmer — he has no fear of being in the deep water, but somehow has been convinced that even the 1 meter board is “too high.” We’ve offered bribes from ice cream to a trip to the Lego store. He was just not doing it!
Until he was ready. And it turns out he was ready last week. He walked to the end of the board centimeter by centimeter, legs stiff with fear. He stood at the end staring down, his tan little face, pale. But then he jumped! And when he came up he had the biggest grin you’ve ever seen. His beaming smile stayed there for the next thirty jumps, until finally we had to leave.
For the next few days he was obsessed with jumping off. He tried a “flip” that was an utterly priceless and very audible flop. He tried spinoramas and cannonballs. Then Will and I were lying in chairs beside the pool, books open (well, he was reading, I’m not quite there yet. I can read about six words before I feel the need to count, “one, two, three blond boys,” or at the very least eyeball Sam), and it was at that moment that we spotted Sam on the high dive! He went off with timid legs the first time, but was running off fifteen minutes later.
Perhaps Sam realized he could’ve been doing this all summer and was trying to make up for it. He was on a mission: jumping in, swimming over, climbing out, and back in line. No stopping to chat, to eat, to drink. The only thing that could stop him was the whistle for adult swim time.
But then Sam was behind my friend, “Mrs. Church.” Yes, that’s her real name. Mrs. Church is a great diver, her skinny limbs go straight in the water with no splash whatsoever. Her diving wasn’t the issue. It was her hair scrunchie. She took the time to adjust it, when she was first in line, and Sam right behind her.
With her slight hesitation, Sam indignantly yelled out, “C’mon, People!”
Even though I got a very good laugh out of it — I am thinking this morning about how easy it is to discredit our ministry. Obviously, we are all fallen, but it’s heartbreaking, and infuriating, when you witness someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus bring shame to His name. I want my life to reflect Jesus. I want to exude His love, His gentleness, His kindness, His mercy, His righteousness, His peace, His joy, and His patience. Somehow “C’mon, People!” just doesn’t, does it?
Paul writes to the Corinthians, “put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God” (2 Corinthians 6:3-7).
Praying this morning that when I stumble I’ll make it right, for His glory. Yes, that added a few items to my to-do list this morning. How about you, People?