But today's Friendly Friday is from El Barba over at Rambling with the Barba. No, his name's not really El Barba (which, if my limited Spanish serves me, means "the beard." He does have one of those!). He and his families are missionaries in South America, and he's always got a really unique perspective on faith. Be sure to check out his blog and follow him on Twitter!
|El Barba (and his barba)|
Let's Make a Deal
Woohoo! I was five years old and there was no way I would miss a trip with my Dad. In my Mom’s eyes, he drove too fast. To me, head bobbing out the window between sips of an icy Coke full of peanuts, it.was.perfect. Dad rolled into our small town and grumbled about the price of gas while I took a look around.
“Two dollars worth of the cheap stuff, Johnny. You’re killin’ me here,” Dad moaned.
As I peered around the front of the truck my heart nearly leapt from my chest. Just a few feet away from me was a genuine mini-bike. A real motorized two-wheeler. The Hot Rod gene passed to me by my father burnt rubber on my brain. I had to have it.
“Hey Daddy, I want that mini-bike.”
“Go make a deal and buy it then,” he chuckled.
I meandered my way into the store and found an ancient man with what looked to be small poodles growing out of his ears.
“How much you want for that old, broke-down mini-bike out there?” I was making my case.
“Whaddya give me fer it?” he says, smirking at the balance of the retirement home field trip watching our exchange.
“Fifty cents,” I told him with resolve.
“Alrighty. I guess that’ll do. It don’t run anyway.”
I pulled out my cowboy wallet, spilling cash and coin like some kind of miniaturized slot machine. At seeing this, Mr. Furry Ears began scurrying his way out of our deal.
“Hold on now, I was askin’ more than that fer it,” he pointed out.
“You shoulda told me so when I asked.”
“You shoulda offered more,” he chided.
“You asked me what I would give not how much I had.”
Grandpa Deals-a-Lot helped me load it while I reminded my dad he said to make a deal. No worries, it wouldn’t run. Three days later my teenage uncle salvaged the necessary parts from my dad’s brand new Snapper riding mower to repair my fifty cent mini-bike. It would fly!
And thus began my wizardry with words. I found that a well-placed word with the right tone and body language could take a person far. I wove my words to gain the advantage. I spoke convincingly to get the things I wanted. I was crafty in the art of debate. I was perpetrating an image. I was Everyman. I became all things to all people, not to gain them to Christ, but to gain them to me. I needed that validation.
I soon found myself audience to my own oratory and believed I was telling the truth. I didn’t outright lie. Not often, anyway. I just chose to “help” the truth. I told people about a Me that wasn’t nearly as cool in real life and told myself about a Me that wasn’t nearly as bad. I was certain God was snookered, too, but He wasn’t. He knew exactly who I was and, without reserve, loved me anyway.
I’m the same guy today. I have to make sure that the full truth is served when I speak, but it’s still me. I still want to be one of the cool kids. I like it when people comment on my blog or click like or tweet me a pat on the back. However, I can’t worship the praise of men to such a degree that the truth suffers damage. When the Sirens of peer approval try to woo the silver tongued devil out of me, I have to remember the words of my God. Not the stinging reprise of condemnation that comes from my enemy staring back at me in the mirror, but the true expressions of love from my Savior. Every day I have to retune my mouth from a free-flowing fountain to a lazy stream trickling. Every day I have to adjust my ear to hear the words spoken about me by God.
Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. - James 3:10
I think back to that old man and realize that if knew my heart like God does, I would’ve paid more.