Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep which was lost. – Luke 15:6
I really didn’t begin TCU with the idea of flunking out; I simply was tired and chose not to go to class one day. I remember telling myself how easily I could catch up at the next class meeting. The next day was really hot and my girlfriend wanted to go to the lake. Besides, I had to admit the sun would do me good. Then two of my fraternity brothers wanted to go on a two-day fishing trip and needed a third person to share the expenses. I couldn’t let my fraternity brothers down, so I went. We had so much fun we stayed an extra day.
That’s how it started, and it ended with me making a 0.4 for the semester grades of my second year of college. Now you know how I ended up as a Private in Marine Corps boot camp in 1968. I really hadn’t begun TCU to flunk out, I simply chose to skip class one day.
Sometimes I like to tell myself that the lessons learned by flunking out are as valuable as those I would have learned in class. Whether or not that’s true, I did learn several lessons from the experience:
- There is a difference between intelligence and endurance.
- Once you’ve made 0.4, even when you made a 4.0, you still only have a 2.2 average.
- The small choices we make today become the habits we live by tomorrow.
No one starts college to flunk out. No one begins a business to go bankrupt. No one begins a marriage with future ideas of getting a divorce. Also no one begins a religious journey or joins a church with future notions of failing or dropping out. We’re like the lost sheep in Jesus’ parable in Luke 15. Sheep never set out to get lost, they just lower their heads to nibble on a tuft of grass and when it is gone, they move on to the next. Before they know it, they’re lost.
We do much the same. We move in small, unnoticeable steps and simply look up one day to realize that we have “nibbled” ourselves lost. Today’s choices lead to tomorrow’s habits.
What have you moved away from unknowingly? For many of us, I’m afraid it’s the church. I hope you’ll return soon. It may be the choice that begins a good habit for you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, lead us to live our values and to put our best intentions into action. Amen.