Jolanta and I met Katey in Marshall, Texas, as she returned to East Texas Baptist University for her junior year. She’d spent most of her summer as a counselor at Sky Ranch working with young children. She had a great summer and can’t wait to go back next year. We knew that Katey would not be able to make it home prior to reporting for Band Camp. Consequently, Jo and I packed the Jeep full with essential and necessary belongings for a third-year college student. We got her settle with the great assistance of her boyfriend Zac Lyod. From there we went to Wal-mart to buy a few groceries and miscellaneous items.
The next morning, I went downstairs to the breakfast room to grab a cup of coffee before Jo joined me. As I poured my coffee, I noticed a small neatly framed sign placed directly behind the toaster. You can click on the picture above to see it for yourself. The sign served as a notice to patrons not to dress their bread prior to toasting. I thought about this for a moment. Could I actually be reading what I think I’m reading? Are there actually people who would put cream cheese on a bagel and then slide it down into a vertical toaster to heat up? Or what about a slice of wheat bread? Are there actually people who would cover a side with butter and jam only then to place it in the toaster? To my amazement, the answer to this question is a resounding “YES!” There are actually people who do this! After an enlightening discussion with the desk clerk upon departure, the placement of that sign was a direct result of someone slathering breakfast bread with a favorite dressing only then to place it in the toaster. It wasn’t a pretty sight – the smoke, the flames… well, you get the picture.
So why would someone do that? Simple, they lack common sense. You are (for the most part) either born with it or you exhibit its absence in bizarre behavior. But, there are certain things you can do to enlighten or broader your scope of common sense. Common sense can be broadened through exposure, experience, and education. For example, learning often crystallizes in experience. Somewhere along the way one of life’s lessons enlarged your capacity for common sense. Because of your experience, you can apply a learned principle to a variety of life’s circumstances. People with a strong common sense often fare better in social, management, and leadership scenarios. It’s a quality necessary to succeed in much of life.
Then I started thinking a little more. Do you suppose there’s something called “spiritual sense” that’s likened to “common sense” in faith? At times, I like others, are amazed at what people do in a church or in the name of God. I really think most churches could use a dose of “spiritual sense.” So where does it come from? It comes from humility, selflessness, and wisdom. Here’s an example, if my goal in ministry is to draw attention to myself, then I’m operating in the flesh. I’m operating outside of “spiritual sense.” God lifts up the humble and he deposes the proud. If my goal in life is to sustain self, personal ambitions, and personal biases – then you see, I’m not operating with “spiritual sense.” We must realize the church isn’t about our own desires, but about His. It is through wisdom that growth takes shape through life in both heart and action. We need mature believers in word and deed. I learned a long time ago, maturity doesn’t come with age, but only through the continued exposure and application of God’s word in life. We need believers with a true “spiritual sense” about them. We need Christians who are more in tune with God’s heart than their own preferences. We need followers who will do just that – follow Christ.
Please note I’m not venting, but reflecting. I have periodic opportunity to talk with ministry leaders from around the country about the challenges they face in daily service. My advice isn’t only relegated to the flock; there are some shepherds that need to heed the advice too.