Chappy’s corner “Following Directions”


Ole was in the logging business, but he cut every tree by hand.  So his neighbor Swen said, “Ole you need one of those new fancy chain saws.  I read they can cut a dozen trees in one hour.”  So Ole went to the Sears store and bought one.  The next day he came back and said “I tried to saw a tree down and it took me two hours on a single tree, with my old hand saw I could cut two trees in that time and that was with a hand saw.  So I want to return it.” The clerk said, “Well I need to see if it is working right. “ So he pulled the cord and at that moment Ole asked, “What’s that noise?”

Long ago I worked for Sears Customer Service department and people like Ole came to return things they had bought because they weren’t working. Sometimes the item was broken, but many times it didn’t work because they hadn’t followed directions. One person complained about their new appliance not working, when the service man arrived, he found they had failed to plug the appliance into the electrical outlet.

Factories give directions or service manuals so people will operate their products correctly, but too often people fail to follow directions.  We figure we know how to do it better than the manufacturer.  But if the manufacturer has given directions, it might be wise to follow it.  After all, they are the ones who made it.  In the military we are told to follow directions… whether that is following our commander’s orders or following the directions on how to do maintenance on our vehicles or how to fill our government paperwork.  Not following directions, especially a commander’s orders can lead to disaster. What’s true in the military is also true in everyday life.  Many folks think they know what is best for them and they are not going to listen to anyone else tell them how to live.  As one person said, “This is my life and I’m going to live it my way.”  

But just because we think we know what’s best for us, doesn’t mean we always do.   In my life God has blessed me with medical people who help tell me what to do to live a healthy life.  I’m blessed with a mechanic who tells me what’s best for my car, and a banker who guides me on investments.  I suppose I could go to the doctor for financial advice, the mechanic for medical advice, and the banker for mechanical advice, but that would be silly. They are each experts in their own fields and for that reason I should listen to them.   It doesn’t mean their advice is perfect; they will make mistakes, as we all do.  No one is perfect, we all fail.  The only one who is perfect is God, and amazingly He is also the only one who knows everything.  He is also the one who has given us life, and He has an owner’s manual called the Bible to give us directions in life.  Sadly we don’t always follow those directions.  But then God knows that.  He knows when I’ve been following His directions in life, and when I have gone the wrong way. 

Amazingly God doesn’t cast me aside when I have gone down the wrong path.  He doesn’t disown us because we fail to do what His Word says.  Instead God in love chooses to save us.  The Bible, God’s owner manual states, “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  God could have thrown us away, like some broken appliance, but He didn’t.  He cared enough to send His Son to save us and to give us a new life with Him.   To me and to others that’s what we call amazing grace and in response to that Amazing Grace we strive to follow God’s will for our lives as best as we can.  After all God not only made us, He made everything and His Word gives us guidance on how to live, how to raise a family, how to be happily married, how to work with others, and the list goes on and one… so following his direction could make life a lot easier, and if we mess up as we all do at times, then go back to those directions and learn once again how God forgives and give us another chance.

That’s just my thoughts from this Sunny SE corner of South Dakota.

CH (COL) David Gunderson

State Chaplain for SDARNG