Letter #671: Obedience Matters

Dear life,

Talk in class out of turn as a 3rd grader…change your color.

Come home after curfew as a teenager”…grounded.

Miss a defensive assignment on the court”…benched or at least loudly informed of your failure.

Drive 70 mph in a 55 mph zone”…nice conversation with a cop and a whopping ticket.

Our whole lives we’re told to obey. In every facet of life. School. Sports. The law. Our parents.

From the beginning we’re told. I never once had to be taught to disobey. As you can tell from my examples, I’ve had my fair share of moments (and these are my minor ones!). Moments where I disobeyed. Moments, that because I did, I then had to walk in and reap the consequences.

But the examples I used are no brainers. We’ve all broken a rule in school or been disciplined by our parents at some point.

What happens when it’s a bigger deal? When it’s not so clear of what’s right? When it’s clear of what’s right, but doing it means walking in hard consequences? Then what?

The thing I’ve learned about obedience is that it always matters. In the little and in the big. When consequences are minor and when they’re major. When people agree with you and when they don’t.

Obedience matters.

We studied the book of 1st John this summer at camp, and if I had to boil down what I learned from it in two words those would be it. John says that if we know the Lord, then we are to live like Him. It’s not good enough to claim Christ, then turn around and disobey. John goes as far as saying that our actions are how we can know we know Christ.

In a culture where right is wrong while wrong is right and integrity can be appreciated but isn’t expected, I cannot shake these two words.

Obedience matters. In every facet of life. Even when it’s hard. Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when you want to throw in the towel. It matters, and it’s a choice. A daily”…let’s be honest, a moment by moment choice. Choose wisely.

Obedience matters. Period. End of story.


“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:6

Letter #189: Bush to Branson

Dear government,

I don’t really understand you very well at all. Everything I learned in elementary and junior high painted you out to be the best thing since ice cream shops where you get to pick ice cream flavors and all the toppings you could ever want (sliced bread doesn’t cut it for me anymore!). We read about the unbelievable stories of George Washington, our freedom as a nation and the writing of the greatest worldly document, the Constitution. I couldn’t get enough of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and how dignity was given to an entire people group. I would’ve never admitted back in the day, but I always loved history class as a kid. It was like reading about superheroes and imagining a sweet action film.

Boy, did I have the blinders on as a child. You aren’t what I thought you were. Sure, you still have some great heroes and principles, but now that I’m old enough to understand the scope of the world you are dirty. I’m sure you’ve always been dirty to some degree, but today I feel like the news is constantly highlighting corruption within your system. Nearly every conversation I’ve had concerning you lately, negative comments instantly fly. Let’s be honest, you’re doing some dumb stuff. To be fair, I think you could announce that April 7th would be a new national holiday, and people would find 9,000 different reasons to complain about it.

Bottom line, I don’t really understand you. I don’t get how bills, laws, budgets, etc. take years to debate and sometimes result in nothing being accomplished. I’ll never be one to be super into politics. Sure, I’ll vote. I’ll be an informed citizen, but don’t count on me running for office in the future. I’m not completely knocking you, but we’ve got some work to do my friend.

So, why the heck am I talking about you?! I’m asking myself the same question. I’ve been reading George W. Bush’s book, Decision Points, and I’m intrigued. I’ve been blown away with all that lands on the plate of the president. How is one guy responsible for SO MANY decisions? Sure, he’s surrounded by brilliant people, but that just means he’s given all his decision-making information second, third, maybe even ninth hand.

I’m in the middle of his thoughts on Iraq, so I haven’t even made it through his first term yet. Nevertheless, I already understand why presidents age the way they do while in office. Good night, why would anyone ever want that job?

Well, George and I are becoming good friends these days. I spend quite a bit of time with him. My eyes are being opened to completely new sides of you. Even more than his presidency, I’m drawn to his character. He seems like a solid, principled man of integrity. He seems sound in his faith. Tonight, Branson, good “ole Shady B, is in for a treat. My newest fascinating figure is speaking at the College of the Ozarks”…I knew I saw a bunch of guys dressed in black canvasing town this week 🙂 I wish I could say his book was coming to life tonight, but tickets sold out in less than 10 minutes. Needless to say, I’m not high enough on the Branson social ladder to land tickets”…yet!

May his integrity be as true as it seems,

Bigger Bush fan than ever before

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Letter #142: The Third ‘B’

Dear “B’ number three,

It’s time to disclose you. We’ve made it through episode one and two, and if you were a TV show I’d be really excited to watch episode three.

If I could only live by one life principle, I’m pretty sure you’d be it. If I could only implement or speak one value into kids or people in general outside the Gospel, you might be it. I believe there is more value that lies within you than our culture will ever give credit.

So, without further ado, you must be unveiled. “B’ number three: Be faithful in the little things. The little things matter. Our world tells us they don’t, but I disagree. Our current national debt of $14 trillion plus is a great example…we haven’t remotely been faithful in the little things and the result is $14 trillion. (Check out this debt clock…this is unreal.)

I firmly believe in you. I believe you make sense practically, but I also believe you line up biblically. One of my life verses has become Luke 16:10: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Rother version: If you do what’s right even in the smallest of situations, the big situations are going to come much easier.

Think about it. It’s true. If we’re trying to watch what we eat, ordering grilled chicken instead of chicken strips isn’t a huge sacrifice. The grilled still tastes good, but it’s healthier. This makes turning down the brownie that much easier. The exact opposite’s true too. Cheating on a simple worksheet for class or never proofreading the report we completed for work aren’t very big deals. However, going down this path makes it more justifiable to cheat on a full blown test or not be forthright with company finances and pocket a little extra.

This verse has become one I try to live my life by. It’s one I know by heart and remind myself of often. Why? Well, partly because I work at K-West, and it’s been instilled in me by Ward (he’s one of the most faithful men I know, and I’m blessed to work under his leadership)…be with your kids; be on time. Partly because it was instilled in me at a young age…I’d stay on my driveway with only a floodlight and shoot baskets until I made “x’ number of shots before I could go inside. The biggest reason: I just believe in it.

Integrity might be the most important character quality a person can embody. Is there a better way to display integrity than you? I think not and because of this, I strive to uphold you in as many ways possible. I change the toilet paper roll…nobody wants to do it, so I can! I make sure I pay people back promptly (if I owe you money, let me know!). I do what I say I’m going to from returning a phone call to turning down a job to fulfill my commitment to summer camp. I try to be in the Word daily even when I don’t want to be because I believe it’s the root of living our lives in truth.

I fail miserably at you, but I try again because you’re valuable. Making wise smaller decisions truly sets me up to make wise big decisions…do I date this guy? I’m not sure where he stands spiritually, but he’s cute and interested. Do I take this job and move to this city? Do I save and invest in a 401K or blow money left and right? I’m about to make some of the biggest decisions of my life concerning future, yet I’m content because I’ve built some momentum making wise little decisions along the way.

I will make more poor decisions in life, but by being faithful in the little things I’m convinced I will make less than I would otherwise.

May the little become important to us in a world it isn’t valued,

B inventor