I proved today that if you are going to engage in a battle of wits, you should exercise care in your choice of combatant, lest someone “clean your clock.”
We left hours before the crack of dawn this morning to take someone to Newcastle Airport, then stopped for “grub and gab” with good friends in the Borders before wandering back north. By the time we got to Edinburgh, we decided to stop for lunch at Ikea (reasonable cost, quick).
So we’re going through with our trays, and Terri passes the checkout and says we’re all together, and heads for the tea (why anyone wants tea is beyond me, but that’s way off-topic, so I won’t even put in a parenthetical statement about it). Emilie goes on through, and I bring up the rear.
Everyone who knows me knows I always carefully evaluate the situation, considering the circumstances, the potential hearers, and what I’m going to say, before I try out my sense of humour. I never, ever, in all my life, not even once, have tried to crack a joke and have it fall flat or upset someone. Never. (What was it we said as kids? Yes, that’s it, “Liar, liar, pants on fire….” If you don’t know the rest, you probably don’t need to, you get the idea.)
So anyway, after engaging in my usual rigorous analysis of such situations for my usual quarter of a micro-second before opening my mouth, I say to the lady waiting to take my money, “You mean I have to pay for them AGAIN?” (The silly WordPress editor doesn’t like “lady” — says it is “bias language” and suggests I change it to “woman.” But let me tell you, this lady was a LADY, because wow, does she deserve respect.)
So this sweet older lady looks at me disdainfully, and says, “You came through the queue last, ya silly-billy. Of course you have to pay.”
Score: Lady one, Jon nil. (Does that make me a nil-wit?)
I’m silenced. I grin, give her my card, enter my PIN, get my card and receipt, and am ready to move on. But she’s not done with me yet. When someone starts to wipe the floor with you, there’s not much you can do until they’ve finished the job, if that’s what they choose to do, and she chose.
She looks at me, and says, “Next time, come through first, at the head of the line, and just keep walking.” She pauses, and then says, “But then, you’re a man. So you wouldn’t do that.”
Game, set, and match. Straight sets whitewash. Conquered by both wit and wisdom. “Nil-wit” seems about right, indeed. Stare admiringly, nod, grin, and go get your coffee before anyone who heard it breaks out laughing at you. Do so gratefully, recognising it as a generous compliment as well as a totally hilarious slap-down.
Because when you’re a man, you don’t want someone else to pay for your family, you want to do it yourself.
“But then, you’re a man” — so though you’ll accept generosity from others, you’d rather be the one giving, and you will when you can.
We live in a broken world, so circumstances arise where a man can’t always be the one to provide for his family, but when a man’s a man, he always wants to be the one to provide, and if he could, he would.
When you’re a true man, you don’t want to depend on handouts from government or anyone else. That’s the way God made us. Even pagans / infidels know that a real man isn’t a sponge. Everyone loses respect for a male specimen who depends on others when you full well know he could stand on his own two feet.
When you’re a man, it isn’t just financial. It’s everything. You want to carry your own weight in ministry, too, and in every area of your life. A man doesn’t want to be carried, he wants to be the one doing the carrying. Even when he has to be carried, which can happen to anyone, it isn’t what he wants. That’s the way a man functions when he is behaving and thinking the way God made him to behave and think. He wants to be depended upon, not to depend upon others.
A man wants to actually, well, be a man. He has been been made in the image of God, and so he wants to be strong, dependable, caring and providing. He doesn’t want to take what isn’t his, even if it is something he’d enjoy having. In fact, he’d rather give what is his than be given what isn’t his. That’s what God is like, and He put that in His creation.
A real man doesn’t try to take the emotional affection of a woman if he has no right to do so, let alone taking more than that. He doesn’t try to get acclaim for something he hasn’t done, nor more acclaim than is due for what he has done. He doesn’t actually care whether people think he is smart or talented or handsome, because he knows that these things are gifts from God and say nothing of a person’s worth. He doesn’t pursue pleasure or comfort for their own sake, but for the sake of honouring the Lord and rejoicing in His gifts. He’s not a little kid about his own pleasures or comforts. He’s a man.
When you’re a man, and not some hybrid that is a lot less than really a man, there are a lot of things like that, things that are well-described this way: “So you wouldn’t do that.”
I Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.