Pastor's Blog

Playing googly with God

A story is told about a Louisiana Senator. His state was (and remains) heavily dependent upon the oil industry. Over a period of years Senator Louisiana had been very protective of the oil industry because, understandably, he felt compelled to serve the interests of his constituents. And, too, just maybe his sense of protection might have had something to do with the financial largess the oil industry extended to him every six years or so. But maybe not. Maybe I'm just ... cynical.

The time came when some of the tax exemptions formerly extended to the oil industry were up for reconsideration. Originally those rules were written in to promote exploration and set up distribution networks. But 40 years had passed. The Gulf Coast was, as they say, a "mature" field. The networks were not only established, they had been profitably delivering the product for decades. Perhaps it was, after all, time to re-think some of the earlier provisions.

Senator Louisiana did not think so. He was a man of consummate legislative skill. Throwing himself into the sausage-grinding process of making law, Senator Louisiana used every technical procedure to delay the anticipated changes. But, alas, to no avail. The moment of decision came. Clearly change was about to happen and there seemed to be little he could do about it. The Committee was about to vote on the final version of the bill and then the next stop would be the vote on the Senate floor. Senator Louisiana knew the time was now.

So he told a story about playing cards.

He said he used to play cards with his children. Didn't matter which card game they played, there would always come a time when he held the winning hand and his children would become crestfallen at the prospect of losing.

So they invented the "googly."

What was a "googly"?

A "googly" was that particular hand that particular child was holding, on a Tuesday, or a Saturday, or whatever day it was. Whatever the cards were, the child would say "googly" and the game would be over and he, Senator Louisiana, would lose. The only rule applied to the "googly" was that it could only be played once during the game.

After Senator Louisiana, a honey-dripping raconteur of a story-teller if ever there was one, told his story the rest of the Committee was completely disarmed. What a charming paternal recollection. Sensing the moment, he said, "Gentlemen, I'm calling 'googly'."

They accepted his language and passed a bill in his favor. It was as simple as that. Except it wasn't that simple. Senator Louisiana called "googly," and basically blew up a much larger bill. "Googly" ended up costing all the rest of us a ton of money. But hey, he appealed to the sweet desperation of his children and which old 'Senator Curmudgeon' was going to vote against desperate children? Turns out, Senator Louisiana never played cards with his children. He'd heard the "googly" story at a Rotary Club lunch and thought, "What the heck, I'll tell that story."

How often people play "googly" with God. When faced with the moment of either accepting or rejecting God's authority ... "googly!" And just like the story told by Senator Louisiana, "googly" is never played once. We'll play "googly" with God pretty much every chance we get. What's in our hand will always trump whatever God might be showing us ... because ... we never want to lose. Even to God. Perhaps, especially to God.

When we read Scripture, do we hold a "googly" in our hearts? 

 

 

 

2017

2017

First: “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

I hope you begin your year with worship on Sunday morning. God has sustained us through 2016 and we rejoice in anticipation of God’s blessings in 2017. God is good all the time.

Second: What now?

I use the end of year reflections—Advent Season—to take personal inventory.

  • I need to make some changes in my life, personal habits, perspectives & assumptions towards people.
  • I need to walk more closely to God.

By God’s grace and through His indwelling Holy Spirit, I want to move into these changes as well.

No, I will not detail these changes. If moved into with grace, likely you will not notice them. Some changes I distinctly do not want you to notice. They are for God alone.

Change is the constant of life. We ought less fear change than, through wisdom and discernment, prayerfully move with (move into?) change in such a way that God is glorified in all things.

Some change is good and some change is bad. Often the blur of change in the moment makes difficult our certainty to know when change is, truly, either good or bad. How many times have we thought something initially bad turned out for good? Something seeming all to the good, and yet it eventually turned bad?

Though limited in our capacity to harness all change for all good, we are far from helpless. God is great. He ALONE works all things for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

I believe—because God IS great—2017 will be a year of unique good. I encourage us to walk into this new year with a fresh face of hope, knowing His plans for us ARE good, that He IS faithful, we CAN depend on Him and He WILL sustain us.

 

Posted by Tim Alexander with

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