Character

Quick to be Clueless

Author: Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brendon O'Dowd, USAF, (Ret.)

Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As a Second Lieutenant, I was clueless.

Patient Wisdom

What’s worse, I was quick to show everyone how clueless I was.  I tended to spout off new-found knowledge to seasoned NCOs (who were surprisingly patient with me) and I was quick to offer suggestions without considering the big picture.  I failed to follow the maxim: “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” and the proverb that says “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise” (Proverbs 17:28).

The Apostle Peter was, in many ways, quick to be clueless.  The second half of John’s gospel traces Peter’s quickness and cluelessness in vivid images.

  • (1) In John 13:36, Peter is quick to pledge his allegiance to Jesus only to be rebuffed by Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s three denials.
  • (2) In John 18:10, Peter is quick to pull out a sword to defend Jesus from the mob that has come to take Him away only to be reminded of Jesus’ ultimate mission.
  • (3) In John 18:25, Peter, who was all too ready to defend Jesus, quickly denies Him before a servant girl and a slave, and then runs away.
  • (4) In John 20:4, Peter runs to the tomb of Jesus to find it empty, forgetting Jesus’ earlier prediction.
  • (5) In John 21:7, Peter abandoned his fishing partners and their amazing catch, and quickly swam to meet Jesus on the beach.
  • (6) In John 21:21, Peter quickly changes the subject from Jesus’ stinging rebuke to a veiled concern about John’s future.

The Reflection of Intention

It is tiring just reading about all of Peter’s frantic activities, and everyone one of them comes from an anxious–slow to believe–troubled heart.  That sounds like me, and if you are willing to admit it, a little bit like you.

What about Jesus, what was He doing?  Most of the time Peter ran around like the world was on fire. While, Jesus remained calm, cool, and collected.  He was willing to wait for others, and even enjoy a nice quiet meal.  This is hard for us to understand in a world dominated by fast-food restaurants and families that rarely eat meals together.  Meal time for Jesus was a time to reflect, discuss, and enjoy fellowship and companionship.  It was a time to slow down and refocus.  Even Heaven has the picture of an extended wedding supper with our groom Jesus.

So why was I so quick to spout off my foolishness as a Second Lieutenant (and as a Lieutenant Colonel!)?  I desired respect and acceptance; the relational aspects most humans desire.  I unwisely believed that what I said would provide instant respect and acceptance.  Funny thing is, Jesus promises eternal acceptance at an eternal meal, and we don’t even have to pay for it.  He has done all the work to ensure the meal is free and fabulous (Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 21:6).

The more I sit down and dine with Jesus, the more I will become like Him.  I just have to slow down and admit I am clueless.  Are you ready to do the same?

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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