Chappy’s corner “who are you trying to impress?”

Ole and Swen were friends, but nothing Ole had or did ever impressed Swen.  But Ole figured this would all change on their next hunting trip.  Ole showed up with a new hunting dog and the dog did everything perfectly. It pointed and flushed out the birds and the dog retrieved every bird shot down.  Ole turned to Swen and said, “What do you think of my dog?” Swen said, “Nothing special about that dog, there are dozens like him.” At that moment the dog flushed up a bird and it began to fly over a small pond, Ole shot and the bird landed on the water. The dog immediately went after the bird, but instead of swimming the dog walked on the water, retrieved the bird, walked back on the water and dropped the dead bird at Ole’s feet. Ole turned to Swen and said, “What do you think of my dog now?” Swen replied, “I see he doesn’t know how to swim.”

Sometimes no matter what one does you can’t impress the other. They always see your faults but then the big question is why are you trying to impress them?  Is it to get a pat on the back or to have your name mentioned in some ceremony or to get an award or maybe a promotion?   There is nothing wrong in being praised for good work, and we should recognize those who have done a good job, but that should not be our motivation for doing it.  Instead I suggest that one’s attitude be like that of Christ who said, “The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for all.”  Jesus gave His life to save the world.  He didn’t have to do it, but He did it because He cared for us. His love for us was the motivation for what he did.

Like Christ we are called to serve. To serve as fathers or mothers, husbands or wives, to serve as coaches or leaders, to serve in many different roles.  As we serve our motivation should be to do the best we can not for the pat on the back or to have our name on some plague, but to do it because we care for those we serve.  In the military our goal is to make the one who commands us to look good and so we strive to do our best.  The same should be in whatever role we have. We want to be the best parent, to be the best spouse, to be best at whatever we do and if we fail at times ( and we  all will because no one is perfect), may we also remember that in Christ we have one who forgives.  That forgiveness gives us an additional reason to try again to do our best.

In closing I recall a story told to me by an air force chaplain. He said a new first Lieutenant was serving in the office of a high ranking general. The Lieutenant was always busy doing this and that and he did it very well, almost perfectly, but the general would constantly remind him “don’t forget rule Six.”  The officer searched and searched but couldn’t find rule Six, so he finally came to the general and said, “Sir what is rule Six?” the General replied, “Don’t take yourself so ____serious!”   The General’s point was to keep the new officer from getting an arrogant attitude, but instead for the Lieutenant to walk humbly. It is good advice for all of us.  Or as the apostle St. Paul writes, ‘Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2: 4-5

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

CH (COL) David Gunderson