Organ Donor

Organ Donor

I am an organ donor. So someday when I die, they may cut me open. And I hope when they do, they will find the same things on the inside that they saw on the outside.

To quote Oswald Chambers, “We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark – the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight.”

Commercial Toilets and Sea Monsters

Commercial Toilets and Sea Monsters

A former boss once asked me to help fix a toilet (which happened to be in the woman’s restroom). Apparently the water wouldn’t stop running. I should mention at the onset I’m not a plumber. My wife and I swapped out a toilet in our first house and I’ve helped my friend Ken (a master plumber) replace a few residential toilets. By helped I mean mostly standing there nodding and saying motivating things like, “Keep up the good work, Ken,” or “A little to the left.” And even if I had more time in the field, commercial toilets are a different breed.

It’s goes without saying that fixing plumbing, electrical and/or mechanical systems was not a part of my job description in the aforementioned place of employment. I was an office dweller. But it was a church which means it was not uncommon for the lines of responsibility to get blurry.

The head maintenance technician was offsite so they patched him in remotely. This meant the instructions were coming to me second-hand. He told me to locate and turn a large hex bolt attached to the water supply coming from the wall (there were actually two bolts which proved important).

At the first turn water began to drip from the under-side of the bolt. I was told this was normal. By the next turn it started to spray, like a thumb over a garden hose. Apparently still normal. One final turn and the bolt sprung free, releasing a torrent that blasted me in the chest. As I stumbled out of the way I observed the water pressure was strong enough to span the full length of the bathroom.

The water level quickly began to rise around my feet, (at roughly the same rate as the panic rising in my ribcage). The other staff members fled and I was left to fight the flood on my own. Out of pure desperation I splashed around looking for the rouge bolt. I guess I thought I may be able to replug the hole. The icy spray stung my eyes as I struggled to force the bolt back in place. I dropped it several times, once in the toilet.

Right about now I am remembering how the ancient Biblical authors often used the language of raging, chaotic waters and sea serpents to describe and make sense of the unseen forces of evil in the world.

Anyway, I continued my valiant, yet fruitless, campaign for what felt like a long time until a coworker finally reached the water main and cut off the supply. It is a massive understatement to say my efforts were futile. But in the moment they felt legitimate. When placed in a situation that is quickly spiraling, the instinct is to regain control.

But what if we stopped striving. I’m not saying do nothing. Don’t stand there and let the water bore a hole in your chest. But rather than God- less self-saving, what if we sought help. What if we would acknowledge the beast is bigger than us and reach out to the one who knows how to beat it.

NOTE: At the risk of trying to squeeze too much out of this toilet metaphor, I’d like to offer one more take away for anyone faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem. Turns out there is wisdom in shifting our focus from plug- ging leaks to locating and addressing the source.



Self-preservation is not all bad. If you are being chased by a bear or mountain cat, it is helpful. Or securing your own oxygen mask before trying to assist others on a plane that’s going down. Seems logical.

But there is another type of self-preservation. It is an inner voice that says, “Every man for himself.” 

I was sitting in a lifeboat replica at the Titanic museum in Branson, MO and listening to the biographies of various survivors. One was a sailor named Robert Hichens. He was given charge of Lifeboat #6 which was under capacity when it was cut loose from the mother ship. It was alleged that he refused to go back to look for survivors after the vessel yielded to North Atlantic. Self-preservation. It is utterly dishonorable and yet there is a part of me that feels the pull.

But the truth is, I don’t want to be that kind of man. I want to be one of guys still playing his violin as the vessel is going down. Or even better, I want to be the one who would charge the lower deck and sludge through neck-deep water to find any left behind.

I’ve recently taken an interest in the Coast Guard rescue swimmers. Imagine jumping into a violent ocean from the open side of a helicopter in the middle of a swelling storm. This team operates under the simple motto, “So others may live.”

The actions of the violinist and the rescue swimmer would seem crazy if this world was all there is. But it’s not. There is life beyond this life. Self-preservation is a lie. Jesus said those of us who try to save our lives will lose them anyway. But if we are willing to defy self-preservation, we will find a true life that can’t be lost. And this discovery can give birth to defiant joy and unhindered courage far beyond anything the world has seen.

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

The world is a heavy place and there are serious people everywhere. There is important work to be done and there are pressing battles that ask for our enlistment. These responsibilities require us to be sober and on point. But what do we do with all the weight? Are we supposed to work without sleeping and keep our guard up indefinitely? Instead, I’d like to suggest jumping on a trampoline. 

This may sound like an endorsement for denying reality and shirking responsibility. But actually the opposite is true. If we are to face the things before us and offer the strength that is required, we are going to need some reserves.

A revived heart is a strong heart. And one of the best agents of revival is joy. Joy is fuel for our work and it is a weapon against evil. Choosing to find joy is not an escape from trouble, it is a tool to confront it. To quote the rebuilder of walls, “The joy of the Lord is [our] strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

It is amazing what a front flip can accomplish.


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