Risky Business

Recently son #2 very thoughtfully bought me a package of Jelly Bellies. He was getting himself a bag and he remembered dear ol' dad and got me one too. That's my boy.

So for the past few days I've been snacking on Jelly Bellies while I work on the computer in the evening. The problem is, eating Jelly Bellies is risky business. The bag I have has 30 different flavors. My unscientific guess is about a quarter of those flavors are just plain old nasty. You never know what flavor your going get. You could get a couple of great ones and then one that tastes like the cross between the bottom of a coffee cup and an ashtray. Not that I've ever tried eating either one of those, but I imagine that's what it might taste like. When I mentioned it to son #2 as we were in the car headed somewhere, he laughed and said "Oh, that's the cappuccino. I didn't like it either." That's my boy.

Eating Jelly Bellies is not the only activity that is risky. In fact all of life is risky. People often comment that my riding motorcycles is risky. And there is an element of risk to riding. But anyone could trip, fall and die at almost anytime. Life is fragile and valuable. You can't just stay at home and avoid all risks. That's no way to live. The Christian life is no different. Often we long for safety, security and assurance. And while I understand that, being a follower of Christ should have an element of risk to it. You should be out there doing things, and some of those things will be risky in nature. People might laugh at you, or belittle you for your beliefs, or cuss you out, or who knows what. But how much did Jesus risk for you?

Reminds me of the old quote.
"A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for."
John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

Are you hanging out in the harbor when you should be out sailing? What are you built for? Are you willing to take the risk to find out? That's worth pondering about.


It's the Thought That Counts

You've heard the saying, "It's the thought that counts." In fact I used it in a recent post here. But after thinking about that for bit, I'm not so sure that adage is true.

Generally actions speak much louder than words. So when someone gives you a late birthday card or present and kind of sheepishly shrugs and says "it's the thought that counts," you probably are not thinking deep in your heart that "yea, it's ok that you forgot all about me." At least, that's not usually what I am thinking. Maybe you're a better person than I am. Their actions say more about how they value you than their words do.

Now I think there are cases when you can use this and have it be effective. If you really tried to put together a nice birthday present, but it just didn't work out for some reason. I think you can say, "I really tried. I'm sorry it didn't work out. But hey, it's the thought that counts." I think it works in this situation, because you really did put some effort into it. And actions speak louder than words.

But usually if you put no effort out and try to pull the "it's the thought that counts", I think you're wimping out. I think most of the time our friends and spouses see through this weak excuse. If you don't believe me, I have a challenge for you. Guys, at your wife's next birthday or your wedding anniversary (which ever occurs next), I want you to do absolutely nothing. No gifts. No card. No special night out. No anything. Then that evening just before you fall asleep that night in your bed, roll over by your wife and say "I didn't forget your birthday/anniversary, I thought about you today several times. And you know, it's the thought that counts." If you survive that encounter, please comment here. I'm sure we'd all like to learn vicariously from your experience.

It's not the thought that counts. It's taking the time and spending the effort to do something that counts. Are you spending the appropriate amount of time and effort on the things that truly important? That's worth pondering about.