The journey we call Go and Do Likewise began in 1996. It has been challenging, joyful and encouraging. Mostly, though, it has been a continuation of decisions which have made up the whole, some of these have been admittedly more dramatic than possibly others. It is for certain that all of these step have been necessary to reach 2016. We like to think that there are major events or happenings which determine course and/or completion. The reality for us/me is that at the time one can not know whether you are taking a baby step or a giant step. The important thing is you take it. I am sharing here the second chapter of our story, everything begins there, obviously. I hope you will take the time to read this, The story is not about overcoming, it is about becoming, As my friend Tim Hansel would say; we are human beings, not human doings. It is about God’s desire to touch life through those willing. It is not about religion, it is about love. It is possible because of He who first loved us.
Learning to Hear
Terry is my friend. We will always be friends. We met in early 1993 when we both responded to an invitation to a Promise Keepers meeting in Thousand Oaks, California. This call went out to men who had attended their conference in 1992 in Boulder, Colorado. I met Terry at the Thousand Oaks gathering. Our common interest in ministry by men drew us to agree, along with two or three others, to meet regularly for prayer and fellowship. We met nearly every week for 15 years. The day and location changed, as did some of those who attended, but the weekly meeting was fixed. During the first three years, Terry and I learned quite a bit about one another.
For instance, our personalities are very different. Terry is a salesman, and if he believes in a product or idea, he is relentless until you buy. I am a goal-oriented “ops” (operations) guy. Terry and I found out that these two different views would clash from time to time. The salesman in Terry was always selling his passion, and the ops guy in me would see a desired outcome and find a way to get there—or would find the lack of a path the reason to not go.
Three years of regular meetings had passed when Terry one day invited me to lunch. He wanted to ask me about—I understood “sell me”—his latest idea. The idea was that we should get men together on a regular basis, find someone who needed odd jobs done, and help that person. He and another friend had done this once or twice and found it rewarding. He had it all planned out and made his pitch, laying out all the reasons it was good—and biblical—to do this.
But I was ready. Not denying the biblical connection, my answer to Terry went something like this: “Terry, I am teaching at my church, I am on the church council, I am involved in leading the men’s ministry at my church home, I have a daughter about to go off to college, and my job is taking more and more of my time. I am just too busy to take on another task.” I am not sure I even thanked him for considering me.
Our regular meetings continued, and all was well except that every few weeks Terry would bring up the idea again. It was pretty easy for me to brush him off. He would lead into the subject with, “Have you though any more about the idea of helping people?” I had become pretty adept at side stepping the issue and would quickly review the many reasons there wasn’t time in my busy schedule for his idea. The summer and much of the fall came and went.
One morning during our regular meeting, we met in the library at the church I attended. After we had talked a bit and prayed for some time, Terry started a very different conversation. It went something like this:
Terry: Bud, I love being here on campus.
Bud: Me, too.
Terry: I love the music and the prayers, the learning, and being among these people.
Bud: Me, too.
Terry: This is so comfortable here, I just want to stay.
Bud: Me, too.
Terry: It’s like being in school. Just amazing here in the Presence among all these believers.
Bud: I know it is.
Now Terry has me, and he goes for the kill.
Terry: We love this—the songs and the learning and the study. But Bud, it’s time we got a real job and put all this learning to use.
In my mind was a realization that God, or maybe just Terry, had snuck up on me. From my mouth came, “Maybe.”
The next few weeks contained numerous opportunities for these words to come back to me. “Time we got a real job.” I thought I had done a pretty good job of pushing them into a corner, where I would not have to think about or deal with them. Until New Years Day 1997, (smiling) a day that will go down in infamy.
That day, I somehow found myself in front of the TV watching college football. As usual, I was watching more than one game but really not watching any. A regular part of my non-watching SOP (standard operating procedure) is using the channel changer to bounce from game to game. We all do it, and I was doing it that day. Nothing unusual … until I clicked on a game between Florida and Florida State, and there he was. We have all seen him and identify with him: the Ultimate Fan, jumping and cheering and waving his hands. He was painted the school colors. One side of his head and face was orange; the other, blue. The opposite sides of his shirtless body were painted, too—blue and orange. My first thought was that this guy should not go out in public without a shirt.
The next few moments, though, were literally life changing. As far as I can remember, I had never before heard the voice of God as an audible sound, although more than once I have felt God speak to my heart from within. But in the inner parts of me, God was talking out loud to me. The voice was real and most profound.
“That is you, Bud. The man you are looking at is who you are. Bud, you know the songs, you know the plays, you know all about the game. You can stand and cheer and sing. But the problem is that while you are cheering and singing, a battle is taking place on the field, and it is time for you to get into the battle.”
I knew. I knew those in need, the people Terry had been talking about, were the field, and the work Terry had been insisting we could do was the battle. That was what the voice was referring to. Time to do something, anything, to help someone in need.
The next Saturday I went to our regular men’s group meeting, a breakfast meeting. As the conversation waned, I shared just a small bit of my New Year’s Day revelation. Then I asked our pastor, “What do we do?” Immediately he said, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10, the Good Samaritan story. Time to buy some hats and shirts.
And so began “Go and Do Likewise,” touching lives by helping others.
God is amazing. Two guys, 55 and 64 years old (I am the younger one), set out on a journey.
to be continued