by Amber Mills
How is my attitude affecting those around me?
This question has been rolling around in my mind the past few days. The thought process started earlier this week while watching my boys play basketball. We were in another state playing a travel team that we see only a few times a year, have a fierce rivalry with, but truly enjoy being around. They are one of those teams that you work all year to beat, but you wouldn’t mind going to Steak-n-Shake with after the game, even if you lose.
This time was different. The atmosphere wasn’t friendly. Fans were edgy. There was yelling and booing. The opposing players were pushing the limits of what is acceptable. Now don’t get me wrong. My boys have played competitive sports for a very long time and I fully appreciate all that comes with it. Games are loud, intense, and very physical, but this went beyond. There were no post game conversations between players or parents.
The entire demeanor of this competition was different than the last. What had changed? Same team. Same players. Same parents. New coach. The leadership had changed. The new coach encouraged this behavior. He congratulated his players when our team was injured. He gave a thumbs up to the booing fan section. He also demeaned his own players when they didn’t perform to his expectations.
The previous coach had been a very intense, but godly man. He had demanded his players give 100% at all times but he valued character above all else. It trickled down throughout the entire program just as this new attitude has.
Do they not see the change? Do they even care how they are being perceived? How are the parents okay with the behavior of their boys and the attitude change on and off of the court? It is as if they are completely oblivious to the change.
The complete 180 of this team stirred something within me. It made me think! It made me examine! Have there been changes in me, my family, and my church that I am oblivious to? Has my leadership, in any way, cheered on or encouraged bad behavior? When others fall, do I give a thumb up to those under me? Does my leadership make those around me strive for greatness or does it glorify the destruction of others?
Our attitudes and actions are magnified in those we have influence over. We cannot control how people behave, but we can control how we influence them. If a church is arrogant, cliquey, and more concerned with whom they have rather than whom they can reach, the leadership is usually of the same mindset. On the other hand, humble leadership usually leads the giving, inviting church to reach out and bless their community.
I did not choose to be a pastor’s wife. None the less, it is the path laid before me, and I wouldn’t want to walk any other. I am in leadership; therefore, I must be mindful of my attitude, my words, my facial expressions (if you know me you will agree that the latter is the one, I struggle with the most!).
Philippians 2:3-4 NLT says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
A trickling faucet left alone can cause your water bill to skyrocket. A bad attitude trickling down from ministry leadership can destroy an entire church.
What am I allowing to trickle from my heart into my family and my church? As a children’s pastor, I want the kids under me to be accepting. As a women’s leader, I want my ladies to be inviting and loving. As the lead pastor’s wife, I want my church to be burdened for the lost and more concerned with our community around us than with our own agendas. But most importantly, as a mom and wife, I want my family to be examples of how to truly love each other.
by Majetta Morris
After a long day of sightseeing while driving from Jackson Hole, WY, and through Yellowstone Park, we sat in a long line of cars waiting, patiently waiting, for a large herd of bison to decide which side of the road—not the middle—they wanted to occupy! We were only about ten miles from our motel at the northeast entrance. At first it was interesting to see the bison up close and personal as they moseyed between the cars until several cows, then bulls, decided to take up residence in the middle of the road. We waited and watched.
It was scary to watch people get out of their vehicles and move in close to take a selfie with a bison. Bison are dangerous! They weigh 2000 to 3000 pounds and can quickly turn on you. This is an extremely dangerous time of year because they are mating—bulls do not want you interfering with their ladies! And the mammas do not want you interfering with their babies! Just a few days before in that area, a man on a motorcycle was killed when a bull gored and trampled him.
But, we sat and watched. You could distinguish the difference between old and young bulls. On the side of the road, old bulls pawed the ground kicking the dust threateningly at the young bulls and us. The females meandered onto the road and some bulls followed. The females flirted. The bulls bellowed and postured. A couple year-old calves cavorted back and forth across the road and in the fields on both sides.
We sat for thirty minutes inching no more than a car-length or two on the two-lane highway. Two or three cars made three-point u-turns to try other exits. Since our reserved motel was only four miles outside the Northeast Exit, we had to wait. It was getting dusky with the sun setting behind us. We became concerned the motel might give our room away because this was a busy time of year and we were late! And we waited. Another five, then ten minutes more.
As anxiety rose in my heart, I cried out to God, “Lord, you control all things. You know our time schedule. You know the bison and what is happening. Father, I ask that you move the bison off the road so we can all go to where we need to be.”
The bison immediately began to move. The ones on the roadway walked off. The ones next to the roadway on either side turned around and proceeded back into the fields or up into the hills. Within three minutes, the roadway was clear. Within five minutes, the long lines of cars on both sides of the road moved at regular speed on to their destinations.
A portion of scripture came to mind. Although it is out of context, the words fit so well. James 4:2c ESV says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” We had sat there for forty-five minutes to an hour—just sitting!—while we could have been resting in our room and getting some good dinner just because we did not ask. It was late when we checked into our room in this small Montana town. There was nothing still open to obtain dinner, so we ate ramen noodles! Why? Because we had not asked! We waited and did not ask! As soon as we asked, God moved the bison!
How many times do we simply wait and stew in our juices, without considering asking God to help us, to assist us. Just waiting! God sees and desires to help us, but He waits for us to ask.
(Side note: Our experience happened on August 5, 2019. On August 22, Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News showed a news clip of a bison stampede happening at the exact location where the above occurred. Several vehicles were damaged. My daughter said she recognized a couple of the bulls that had been right outside our vehicle. God’s mighty hand gave us protection!)
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