"Pause" Series from Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley just wrapped up the 4-part series "Pause" which addresses the subject of temptation. It was another reminder of why I get up at 6:30am each Sunday to attend North Point Community Church.

I ignorantly thought that the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness was stupid--how could Jesus who is God who is perfect possibly succumb to temptation? And the temptations weren't the kind I could relate to anyway. Andy did a great job of laying out how we can all relate to each of the three temptations. The first temptation was to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way, the second temptation was to use God for His own personal gain, and the third temptation was to take a shortcut.

"King of the Hill" was the title of yestday's sermon, and Andy argued that driven people are sometimes tempted to take shortcuts or even just a small temporary shortcut to meet their goal. In the moment of decision, however, one discovers who they are and whose they are. I was fortunate enough to have brought along the person I respect and admire most in this world--my Dad. As Andy shared the story of a friend who declined an opportunity to take a "shortcut" (which wasn't sinful or inherently bad), I couldn't help but think of how my Dad has been my living example of one who doesn't take shortcuts and is willing to sacrifice for his family.

Twenty two years ago my Dad took a leap of faith and left a 20-year career to move our family from Reading, Ohio to Bedford, Texas when he took a new job in Dallas. Five years later the Dallas office was closed, and he was offered a position in Cleveland. The no-brainer option was to move to Cleveland, but my Dad recognized that my brother and I had a lot more opportunity in Texas than Ohio. He chose to stay in Texas and find another job. My Dad worked in a niche industry that was on the decline, so he knew he'd probably be changing careers. His core skills in inventory control management could be applied to any manufacturing or retail business, so none of us expected him to be without employment six months later... but that was the very position he was in.

While unemployment "benefits" expired after six months, bills still needed to get paid. For someone in his mid-40's who should have been entering his peak income-generating years, my Dad started looking for opportunities outside of anything he'd ever done before. Growing up, my brother and I never did without, but we lived a lower middle-class lifestyle. While my parents were "savers" they never made a lot of money, so my Dad didn't have the luxury of time to find his dream job. With time running out and money running low, my Dad became an assistant manager at a Quik-Trip. He could have looked at it as a shitty interim job, but that's not my Dad. He's got a work ethic I admire and try to model. I'm sure it was one of the most humiliating things he's ever had to do, but in doing so he earned "hero" status in my eyes. He did find a job a year later which matched his skills, but to this day he's never made a derogatory or resentful comment to me about Quik-Trip or not taking that Cleveland job.