I was buzzed by an airplane this morning. Seriously. I was driving down Middle Road, on my way back to Hickman, and an airplane flew not 50 feet above me, right over my sunroof (which was open by the way). I was a little surprised to say the least. I had been watching another plane, both were cropdusters, and this one snuck up on me from out of nowhere. One minute I'm driving down the road, John Boy and Billy on the radio, and the next I'm looking at the bottom side of an airplane...not something that happens everyday.
He was just doing his job, I know. I'm not sure what he was spraying for, but I am sure that I just happened to be at the right place at the wrong time and just happened to be on the road at the exact spot he needed to cross so that he could make his next round...at least I hope that's what it was because I really don't think he was aiming for me. I got a little start and I'm sure he got a little giggle. For him, it was just another day on the job. For me, not so much.
It reminded me of something though. Nearly everything we do in our day to day affects someone else in some way. He was just spraying crops, but it affected me, by dang. Now, I don't know if there's anything in scripture about that, probably is, but I do know it's a reality. The things I do and the things I say in what, for me, is just the mundane, can have far reaching effects on those around me. One example...a loose tongue. I do know there's something in scripture about that. Several somethings, actually.
James mentions it in the third chapter of the book bearing his name, and Paul mentions it in the 2nd chapter of his 2nd letter to his son in the faith, Timothy. Here's what he says:
"Avoid Godless chatter, because those who engage in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene..." and then he even begins naming names.
I've never really had much patience for a gossip, but in my field, I'm one of the first ones folks gossip to...or about. For someone to come to me with the latest gossip is a terrible waste of my time and their breath. I just don't care for it. But, what gets me even more is when those words are turned on me. You may have guessed it already, but it has happened twice in as many weeks.
Now, I'm a big boy and can handle it. But what a waste of time it is to have to go and undo rumors that have been started, and once they're started, you can't stop them. What have I learned through all of this? To make sure that what I spend my time doing in my day to day is at least halfway worthwhile, to keep my nose clean so that there is nothing to the rumors, and to do my best to "instruct gently" as Paul puts it, those who have nothing better to do.
So, if you like to gossip...STOP! It's no good. As Chuck Swindol liked to put it, "It's from the pits of hell and smells like smoke." It may not seem a big deal to you, but I promise it is not just a harmless activity. In our ordinary day to day, and especially in our ordinary everyday as the Church, we have to remember that what we spend our days doing could have an effect on those we are trying to reach.
Whether you fly a plane low to the ground for a living and just happen to scare the bejesus out of some guy driving down the road, whether you punch a clock, or whatever it is that you do day in and day out, somewhere, somehow, you are having an effect on someone. Let's do all we can to make that a positive experience for all involved. Ok, I'm done now.