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AT LEAST ONE FOLLOWER
A father was filling out an application form for his daughter who was seeking entrance to a very exclusive college. He came to the question on the form which asked whether the applicant was a leader. In honesty he wrote, "No, but she is a good follower." The application was sent in and a month later a letter arrived notifying him that his daughter had been accepted. At the bottom of the page the dean had written, "Since the entering class of 500 has 499 leaders, we thought that there ought to be room for one follower."
I once heard a humorous story about the Pope who was on a visit to America for a period of time. On his last day of the visit, he was delayed due to meetings and was unable to break away to catch a flight.
Since he couldn’t depend on his Pope Mobile, he phoned for a limousine. When the limousine arrived, the driver was joyfully surprised that it was the Pope who called for him. The driver became nervous and was beside himself. He proceeded to drive very slowly. The Pope became nervous and told him to hurry up. It did not make a bit of difference. The driver went slower; he wanted to keep the Pope in his limousine as long as he could. The Pope could not be delayed any longer so he asked to drive the limo himself. The Pope sped off and reached the speed of 85 miles an hour. The policeman who stopped him was shocked when he discovered the famous personality behind the wheel. He frantically phoned his police chief and said, “Chief, I have stopped a very important figure for speeding. I don’t know what to do?”
--“What do you mean? Give him a speeding ticket!”
--“Sir, in all honesty, I can’t.”
--“Why can’t you? The law is the law. Who is it anyway that you stopped? Is it the mayor?”
--“Is it the governor?”
--“Is it a congressman?”
--“Is it the president?”
--“Well, then, who is it?!”
--“I don’t know sir! All I know is that the Pope is driving him to the airport.”
Do you remember the story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA.? He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances, & her lover.
Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.
Twice she arranged for him to be shot. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly, & he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries. Now this is a picture of a real happy couple, isn’t it?
Even more miraculous than Tony’s survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony, a self?confessed lady’s man himself, said that he held his wife blameless.
When she was found guilty & sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children & visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.
With his arm around her, Tony said, "We’re more in love now than ever before. I don’t understand why people break up over silly little things."
LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS
S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.
To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms ...
Reuben Gonzales was in the final match of a pro racquetball tournament. In the 4th and final game, at match point, Gonzales made a super kill shot into the front wall to win the game. The referee called it good. Two linesman affirmed that the shot was in. But Gonzales, after a moments hesitation, turned around, shook his opponents hand, and declared that his shot had hit the floor first. As a result, he lost the match and walked off the court. Everybody was stunned. They couldn't believe that a player with everything officially in his favor, with victory at hand, disqualified himself at match point and lost!
When asked why he did it, Reuben said, "It was the only thing that I could do to maintain my integrity. I could always win another match, but I could never regain my lost integrity."
Cleveland Stroud had coached the Blue Collar Bulldogs for 18 years before his basketball team made it to the state championship. Stroud recalls that "it was the perfect night" when they won. "A night you dream of." He was carried around the gym on the shoulders of his triumphant players and their proud parents. The local paper put his picture on the front page. But the excitement was short-lived.
Two months after the championship, during a routine grade check, Stroud discovered that one player was academically ineligible. The player had only played 45 seconds during the regional qualifying tournament. Stroud says, "I thought it was all ruined. I went through a phase where I was really depressed." He struggled with what to do next. Yet, his commitment to integrity led him to the right decision. "Winning is the most important thing for any coach," he says. "But your principles have to be higher than your goals." He reported the error to the league and the Bulldogs forfeited their trophy. When the team lamented their loss in the locker room, he told them, "You’ve got to do what is honest, what is right, and what the rules say. People forget the scores of basketball games, but they don’t ever forget what you are made of."
In Touch Magazine, January 1999, page 16
"Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, youve got it made."
A. Todd Coget
[Joy Hard Won, Citation: Joni Eareckson Tada, "Joy Hard Won," Decision (March 2000), p.12, used by permission]
In Decision, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:
Honesty is always the best policy, but especially when you’re surrounded by a crowd of women in a restroom during a break at a Christian women’s conference. One woman, putting on lipstick, said, "Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish that I had your joy!" Several women around her nodded. "How do you do it?" she asked as she capped her lipstick.
"I don’t do it," I said. "In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?"
"This is an average day," I breathed deeply. "After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 A.M., I’m alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. That’s when a friend arrives to get me up.
"While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, ’Oh, Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I don’t have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don’t have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours? God, I need you desperately.’"
"So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?" one of them asked.
"I turn my head towa...
Michael Yaconelli’s, "Messy Spirituality"
Vincent’s story about grace graciously given in the messiest of circumstances from Michael Yaconelli’s book Messy Spirituality.
In a book aby New Zealand author Mike Riddell, Vincent has met and fallen in love with a young girl named Marilyn. Neither one of them is seeking a relationship, but a relationship is seeking them. Swept up by their emotions, the two become deeply involved. Marilyn a prostitute, is not prepared to fall in love and is certainly not prepared for the honesty love requires. She must tell Vincent who she it, knowing full well that here painful disclosure will probably mean the end of their relationship.
“There’s ah .....There’s something we need to talk about.”
“Only if you want to. I’m happy just to sit here and look at you. Sorry, this looks like something serious.” Looks a lot like the intro to the Dear John speech, truth be told.”
“Its about me and what I do.”
“Yeah, wondered when you were going to pluck up the courage to talk about it. Don’t tell me, you work for the CIA, right?” Sorry. sorry, I’ll shut up.”
She is totally absorbed in the remains of her salad, scrutinizing it for something. Anything to avoid his eyes.
“There’s no easy way of saying this. I’m a prostitute. I sleep with men for my living. It’s a business. I’m very professional.
Time and silence have this thing they do together. The make a chasm that has no bottom to it. And there you are, standing right on the edge of it. Aware that at any moment you may be falling and falling , with no hope of recovery. At the moment they are at either side of it, each consumed by their private terror. She looks up at last from here salad. Vincent is crying. The tears are streaming down his cheeks, and he is biting his lip to stop himself sobbing. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to deceive you. I’m sorry, Vincent. I’m sorry.”
He can’t speak. He wants to, but nothing is working. He is looking at her, at her beautiful face, at her eyes, at the slight hardness around her mouth. And weeping and weeping. She reaches a hand across to hold his. She is beyond tears, empty and bleak and barren. Vincent is mumbling something but is incoherent through the pain. And then he begins to repeat it again and again.
“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.....”
This is the worst thing she has ever heard in her life. She wants to scream, to break something, to tip over the table in rage. Instead some continental shelf rips loose within her. She begins gulping and moaning, a terrible agonizing cry from another place. And the tears are flowing. They grip each other’s hands, and lean their foreheads together. The tears are flowing into the abyss, and there is no end to them.
Marilyn expected Vincent to reject her, to pull away from her, to have nothing to do with her. In a strange and touching way Vincent did what Jesus would do; he looked beneath the expected criticism; what she received was understanding. Instead of hearing words of condemnation Marilyn heard over and over again , “I love you”.
One of the strongest cases of a man using his tongue to bless God and curse man relates to Augustus M. Toplady. He blessed God with the beautiful hymn of adoration that he penned, “Rock of Ages.” It is a moving, biblical tribute to Christ and His finished work of redemption. Yet the same mouth cursed man, saying of the great John Wesley, when the latter was past 70 and Toplady a ministerial novice of only 30; “He is a lurking assassin, guilty of audacity and falsehood; a knave, guilty of mean, malicious impotence. He is an Ishmaelite, a bigot, a papist, a defamer, a reviler, a liar, without the honesty of a heathen, and impudent slanderer; with Satanic guilt only exceeded by Satan himself, if even by him. he is an echo of Satan.” Incredible, isn’t it?