I was a child when I first watched the classic slapstick farce, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” The movie’s premise was simple. A dying man gave cryptic clues to a motley group of strangers. These clues led to a supposed vast fortune. Pursuing the jackpot led the gang across the deserts of Nevada and California, travelling by plane, automobile, motorcycle, and bicycle as they double-crossed anyone in their path, including their own families! Each participant received their just reward in the end.
I’m a fool for Christ – Whose fool Are you?” – John Wimber
One sunny Sunday several years ago, directly after the morning service, the comings and goings of churchgoers reminded me of the slapstick antics of the movie. The person I came to church with asked me to wait while she took a carload of neighbourhood children for ice cream. She first needed to drop by our church’s food bank, just down the street from the ice cream shop.
As she didn’t have the key to the food bank, she took along the “Bearer of the Key,” who took the front seat passenger spot. The back seat was full of giggling children waiting for ice cream. My friend reassured me that she would return to take me home. First, she needed to drop off the kids, then pick up the food that she needed to drop off at a single mother’s apartment, and then chauffeur the “The Bearer of the Key” to her destination. I was quite agreeable and settled down to wait in the lobby of the building our church rented.
After about 45 minutes, I realised the volunteer crew was nearly finished clearing out the gymnasium our church used. I was close to being the last person in the building and they needed to lock up. I stepped outside because I didn’t want to delay them. I passed the time by watching familiar cars pull up to the school, pick up passengers, and transfer items from one vehicle to another. It was a flurry of activity!
I was so fascinated by all the hustle and bustle that I was startled when I heard my name called. A friend waved me over to his car. He explained that his wife, who happened to be the “Bearer of the Key,” called him just as he arrived home after running an errand for friends. He would give me a lift to a rendezvous point where I would meet up with driver number one. He had one stop to make on the way. No, make that two. Oh, wait! Perhaps three at the very most. Then he would drop me off, he promised!
I arrived at our meeting spot a few minutes before driver number one was scheduled to arrive. To my happy surprise, two old friends were having a quick cup of coffee at our rendevous spot. We had a great visit even as I kept an eye out for driver number one. As soon as she pulled up, I hurried to her car. The children were still with her, full of ice cream, full of sugar, and still giggling. It was a mad dash to get the kids home before their parents worried. Groceries and children were handed over, and I arrived home 3 hours after our morning service ended.
I suppose both races would seem a little mad to outsiders.
The participants in “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World” were motivated by greed and selfish ambition. But love and service motivated the participants in the race after church. I suppose both races would seem a little mad to outsiders. However, I believe the Lord’s blessing rested on His faithful children as they demonstrated His love by literally going the extra mile.
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 – “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him,m you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
This week’s application is a bit of a different slant than you might expect. How accommodating are you when you are on the receiving end of an act of kindness or service?
Is there a subtle sense of entitlement in your heart when others serve you from the goodness of their heart? Is there a secret expectation that others must do things the way you want them to be done rather than in a way that makes sense to them?
I had to wait a good hour before my friend could finally drive me home. I took her at her word. I knew it would be a while, so I did not become impatient. I knew I wasn’t first in line. More significant needs than mine were involved in the mix that day. I might have organised things differently, but I was not her. It was not my car, and she did me a great favour by giving me a ride!
In my account, I tell of a sudden change of plans. How well do you handle a change of plans? Do you still trust the person to follow through?
It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I enjoyed sitting under a shady tree on the quiet street in front of the school. Waiting in a parking lot as the husband of the “Bearer of the Key” took care of his errands was not quite as enjoyable. I had a choice that afternoon. I could have insisted my friend pick me up where she first said she would pick me up, or I could help her by heading to a spot more convenient.
Don’t get me wrong; my attitude is not always as accommodating as it was that day. But by choosing to be grateful, I had a wonderful afternoon with good friends.
What motivates you in a world that often appears to have gone mad? Is it selfish ambition, or is it the selfless pursuit of blessing God and others?
This week, choose to be grateful. Be flexible. Don’t demand the people God sends along your path to help you to do things your way. Let them do it their way, and who knows? An adventure might await your day!
Until Next Week
©2022 Katherine Walden
Photo Credit: “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, (1963)