Thursday, 24 May 2012
The one message that has changed my life over the past year is simple, and it's the one I most often find myself sharing with others and that is 'the buck stops here'. This is a term generated from poker games back in cowboy days. When playing a hand, the dealer would be identified by having a buck knife in front of him. If someone didn't want to deal, they would simply pass the buck to the next person. Passing the buck became popular in politics. There is a famous picture of our 33rd president Harry S Truman sitting at his desk, where typically one would have their name plate, Truman had a wooden plate with 'The Buck Stops Here.' stamped on it. His story is a great one and he was a prime example of one taking responsibility for their actions. At one time, this was and sometimes still is not an easy task for Clint Hopping. When any little thing would go wrong in my day to day, emotions would take over and I would naturally seek out anybody, besides myself of course, that could possibly be responsible for my misfortune. "Well they shouldn't have parked behind me!" "I could pay that bill if boss man just payed me better!" "Maybe I wouldn't be this out of shape if the gym wasn't such a long walk!" It's a natural tendency for everyone to blame shift. If it's our fault, then something's is wrong with us, and that's a big pill to swallow sometimes. Once my eyes were opened to the fact that where I am in life is a result of my decisions, it gave me a way out of any mess I found myself in. I put me there, so I could get me out of there. I had to evaluate how I was making decisions. Our decisions are governed by our thinking. Our thinking is created by our surroundings. Where I go, who I choose to surround myself with, what I choose to read, or watch on tv, ultimately effects the course of my life.
When my schedule allows and they'll have me, I sometimes substitute teach at the local high school. I get to interact with young people, but I don't have to be quite the authority figure required of a teacher. It's a unique setting, I love it! However, one thing I forgot about being in high school is how often everyone had to take a trip to the restroom! Good heavens, do y'all not have the ability to hold it 40 minutes! Or the foresight to go when you're on one of your 7 breaks in the day! I probably got asked 5 times in a class by one kid. Finally I caved, "Yes, but please hurry... Unless of course you're, you know." He quickly responds, "O no sir, I'd be in there all day if I was doing that." Appreciative of our commonalities I responded, "I hear ya brother, I usually..." "STOP!" An outburst from a girl who'd had her head down writing. "I just wrote 'poop' on my paper unintentionally because y'all are talking about it!!" Her paper was over segmented worms, it had nothing to do with poop, well I'm sure worms poop, but that's irrelevant. Her surroundings directly influenced her writing even when she didn't want them to. Just like a mom I heard say, "We had to stop allowing our 8 year old to watch her favorite tv show because it was teaching her disrespectful behaviors towards her father." I thought that’s great, but what is 'desperate housewives' teaching you? It doesn't matter our age, sex, or occupation, we become our environment. I've heard a saying, "if you want to know what you'll be like in 5 years, look at your best friend." I'm not saying blame your best friend, but if you're developing habits of theft, tax fraud, or constantly writing the word poop where it need not be written, then find a new best friend! James 1:13-15 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." God gave each of us minds and hearts to be used for His glory. But we make the call, He's not going to come down and live this life for us. He's in control, but we have a part to play, and it starts with accepting responsibility. If you choose to watch filthy tv, hang out with compromising people, and listen to negative music, don't be surprised when you find it hard to make righteous decisions or hear God speak.