What makes you tick?


I n the book of Romans are to be found these words: “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” Each of us is affecting those about us for good or bad. And those about us are affecting our lives for good or bad.

I want to tell you about Robert. He is a top manager in a national corporation that brought all their top managers together for a wilderness excursion. They were to do team-building things during the day—canoeing, mountain climbing, etc. At night around the campfire they were to have meaningful conversation.

That’s the way it was supposed to work. However, Robert got put in with nine other top managers who were all completely secular. When they sat down around the campfire all the nine did was drink heavily, use cuss words, and tell dirty jokes.

At the end of the first evening Robert was saying to himself, “ This is not how this is supposed to work. I’m not going to get much out of this professionally, plus the preacher said I am supposed to be a light. How in the world am I supposed to do that? I’ve got all these guys here. If I start standing up and reading from the Bible, I don’t think it’s going to fly. They’re not going to listen. What should I do?”

Let me share with you what happened. By the end of that 10-day experience all those men were sitting around the campfire talking about God, sharing things about their marriages, talking about their dreams, their hopes and fears, thinking about deep issues, real issues, life issues. At the end of the camp, they made a covenant to keep in touch as together they searched for answers.

What did this man do that made such a difference? At the end of the first day, seeing the difficulty, he prayed, “Lord, what can I do to change things? How can I be an influence for good?” And he began to get an idea as to how to do it.

After every meal he would take the dirtiest pot they had to clean. When they got ready to hike, he would pick up the heaviest pack. Whatever had to be done, he would take on the hardest part of the job.

After three days one of the men came to him and said, “What makes you tick?” And as Rober t began to answer, talking about the fact that he worshipped a God who loves servants, the conversation moved from the superficial to the soulsearching.

If you want to be a power for good, making it possible for God to change lives, don’t be a goldbrick. As you take your share and more than your share, you will establish credibility as a hard worker people can depend on, listen to, and follow.

Remember, we are all affecting other lives—for good or for bad. “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2011-10-06 digital edition

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