Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Persnickety Colonel

A huge bomber has been all shot up. The tail gunner comes into the cockpit screaming, "The rest of the crew is dead, the hydraulics are out, the plane is on fire. We've had it! We've had it!"

The colonel, still in the pilot's seat of the doomed aircraft, snaps back, "We've had it, SIR!"

This old joke about military courtesy tells us of a certain kind of person who insists on "getting it right". Of course such an idea as "right" is as old as the time of the story. Yet there are a few concerned with just this concept.

A pharmacist told of filling a prescription for an old man who said, "These pills are red. They're usually yellow. Guess they're a different brand." It was then that the pharmacist realized to his horror, that he had made a mistake, and the old man had caught it.

My father taught me to be persnickety too, by his example. He checked every door twice just to be sure it was locked. He set our home clock five minutes ahead to help keep us from being late. My mother was just the opposite, she would arrive at a wedding late, resisting all efforts to urge her to hurry. "I'll get there when I get there," she would say.

I agreed with my father in this. Maybe he got his concern for timing from working on the railroad, where punctuality is so vital.

Though the clock no longer rules my life, there is a concern I do have--getting my beloved Bible understanding as right as I can. And to me, this is not a minor thing, of some kind of legalistic perfection. So much depends on getting it right--our relationship with God himself, and the peace that a proper understanding of the Word gives.

I have seen my family--so proper and conscientious in every other way--suffer from a fear of rules and regulations, from the fear of hell itself, because the church failed them. That is why I want to "get it right".

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