When I was sixteen, my friends assumed I was good at fixing cars. It seemed reasonable. I’d been around cars for most of my life. But what my friends failed to consider was that in the wrecking yard, the valued skill wasn’t fixing cars but dismantling them. Fixing was what our customers did. So I could rip parts out of a car pretty well . . . and then I could stare at the pile of parts and wonder how to put everything back together.
When I was in elementary school, my mom arrived to pick me up in a silver Rolls Royce. Every kid ogled the long, elegant swoop of fender, flaring slightly above the back wheel. The impossibly long hood. The flying-lady hood ornament. Giving one last look to those still waiting in the carpool line, I opened the heavy, perfectly machined door and entered the spacious back seat. There was just one catch: Our wrecking-yard Rolls, thanks to Dad, was running on a wrecking-yard Chevrolet engine.
Leaders are constantly tempted to focus on people higher up the food chain. Courting the influential and powerful seems like the best decision, since they are the ones who can provide the greatest benefit in return. Life’s funny, though, and it’s often the characters on the margins who end up changing our story the most. Growing up in the junkyard I knew a lot of . . . let’s call them “interesting” characters. So I can sorta understand Rahab, a resident of Jericho we read about in Joshua 2 and 6.
It’s common in the business world to hear about aiming high. Usually that’s just another way of saying we should keep moving ahead, setting goals for ourselves and then meeting those goals. However, rarely does aiming high involve a significant risk. Instead, it tends to be incremental. It’s like looking at the top of a staircase and saying you’re “aiming high”—then getting there one step at a time. But here’s a story from scripture that puts “aim high” in a new light.
I want to tell you a story that illustrates the complexity of following Jesus as westerners. As you’ll see, it doesn’t have a neat and tidy moral, which is exactly the point.
Today we’re going to look more closely at a temptation I mentioned last week: that if we want to get involved or contribute more, all too often it takes the form of flying to a faraway place, “making an impact” for a week, and then flying home.
I’ll be transparent about an embarrassing reality: wise planning and my desire for comfort can sometimes crowd God out of my life. I suspect the same is true for you at times. It’s probably true for everybody who works as a wealth creator in the marketplace.
A Note from Mark Roberts: In the course of my leadership of the De Pree Center, I’ve literally met hundreds of fascinating people, mainly those who work in the marketplace. Roy Goble ranks as one the most interesting people I’ve met. From his upbringing at work in his father’s junkyard, Roy built a flourishing real … Read More