Hurry Can Make You Deaf and Dumb
by C.A. Phillips
…the Lord said to Moses, 8 “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”
9 So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. 10 Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”
Numbers 20:7b-12 (NLT)
It was bobblehead night at the Braves game. The whole family was loaded in the car, and we were headed to Truist Park, a tad behind my desired ETA. For many years our family has ventured out to the ball yard in hopes of securing these coveted beauties. I’ve learned it’s best to arrive as close to “Gates Open” time to ensure we won’t walk away empty-handed. In fact, one time we waited for nearly an hour and a half in line, only to see the last Chipper Jones Crazy Train boxes handed out a few people before we scanned our tickets. I may actually have some PTSD from that experience that has influenced my state of mind going into a bobblehead giveaway. Sad, but true.
So, that night, as I feverishly maneuvered through traffic, Waze was displaying my ETA at the Braves parking lot. Then it changed. And it changed again. I tried to maintain my cool, but inside I was wondering if we’d get parked and to the gate in time.
Finally off the interstate and nearing my destination, I turned into the lot and was greeted by an attendant.
“Take a right and follow the car straight ahead of you to the end,” he said.
But, as I turned the steering wheel, an opportunity presented itself. I noticed there was enough room between the cones and the curb where I could squeeze in and avoid driving all the way to the end of the lot and back around. So, I took a quick detour and quickly parked near the sidewalk, and a straight shot to the exit after the game.
But my family wasn’t happy with me. Both of my sons (who are adult, college-age men) scolded me for disregarding the attendant’s instructions. I tried to dismiss it, but they weren’t relenting. Then, as we unloaded the car, someone said, “Nothing’s as important as the bobbleheads.”
In the minutes and hours immediately after this, I was unaffected. I had explained away my behavior, justifying it by telling myself that I really hadn’t done anything wrong, and nobody was hurt by it. But, when I woke up the next day, it was gnawing at me.
“Why did I do that?” I asked myself. “You’re such a dummy. And you were a terrible example to your family!” I realized who was hurt by my thoughtless, spur-of-the-moment act: ME!
I am the first to admit that I get fidgety when there’s a chance I could arrive late. I pace when I am waiting on someone or something. I get anxious when I sit in traffic. But none of those are justification for being disrespectful, or for compromising my integrity.
I realized I had blown it and apologized to my family. I know they forgive me, but it still eats at me.
I’m not Moses, but if you’ve read his story in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, you see that while he was an incredible, Godly leader, he disregarded the Lord’s instructions – and it cost him. He safely led more than one million Israelites out of Egypt, and wandered the desert for 40 years, all the while serving as God’s spokesperson to His people. But he disobeyed God one day – growing impatient with those he was leading. The people were grumbling and were thirsty. The Lord told him to speak to the rock, and in doing so, water would rush forth.
Instead, Moses gathered the people together and struck the rock, rather than speaking to it. God still produced rushing water for His people, but Moses was rebuked and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Ouch!
What’s the lesson here? For me, there are a couple things: first, God values our obedience more than anything else. Second, there are consequences for disobedience – often ones we don’t immediately perceive. Finally, others are watching and listening.
We arrived at the gate to the stadium just before 6pm – in plenty of time to get our bobbleheads. And though we were able to add to our collection, I couldn’t help but think that I might have lost more than I gained that night. With God’s grace, I hope I can apply these valuable (and tough) lessons and grow more into the man – and example – God created me to be.
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C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
Imagine that you could sit down and pick the brains of some of the top leaders in the country! That’s the premise behind the Linch with a Leader podcast. Learn how these leaders – all among the best in their respective field – have risen to the top, while continuing to grow spiritually and chase after the Lord.