Well, we made it to and from the beach safely, and I really appreciate those of you who prayed for us along those lines. Not surprisingly, my next few posts will involve stuff that I experienced while on vacation.
I’ll start with something that happened on our last night out on the town, the Thursday night before we checked out Friday morning. Since the boys had never been in the attractions and stores of Ocean Boulevard, we drove up there and made a night of the whole scene. Royce went into the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure while Ryan went into the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. Then they both went into one of the arcades and played some skeet ball. That’s the game where you roll the ball up the ramp and try to make it jump into certain holes. Some holes are worth more than others, and in the end you are rewarded tickets based upon your point total. You then take those tickets to the counter and swap them for a prize. The more tickets you have, the better prize you get.
Okay, so Ryan goes to one lane and Royce goes to another. When Ryan finishes his game, his tickets start rolling out of the machine appropriately. But when Royce finishes his game nothing happens, even though he has accumulated enough points to earn some tickets. So now Tonya and I have a decision to make. Do we let the injustice go and chalk it up to bad luck? Or do we take the time to go and tell a worker what has happened? We decided to go and tell. (I’ll admit that our decision was helped along by the fact that Royce was none too pleased about not getting any tickets while Ryan did.)
After we reported the problem to the girl at the counter, she came over and very politely said, “I’ll call our maintenance guy, but this will take a few minutes. Will you wait?” At this point, I was beginning to regret saying anything. Who knew where this dude might have to come from? But as the old saying goes, “In for a penny, in for a pound,” so we agreed to wait.
Thankfully, the young man wasn’t too long in coming. He took a quick look at the machine and saw that it was simply out of tickets. He then pulled out a big roll of tickets and reloaded the machine. That’s when things got interesting. As he finished the reloading, he said, “Now get ready because whatever number of tickets this machine should have been giving out is going to come out, and your boy is going to get them all.” Ever the pessimist, I thought to myself, “Sure, sure. We’re probably talking four or five extra tickets here. The thing probably ran out just before Royce played it.”
But then those tickets started rolling out and spilling down onto the floor! My eyes lit up and so did Tonya’s. Royce squealed in delight. Ryan, the classic older brother, stood there green with jealousy because he had actually gotten a higher score than Royce and should have ended up with more tickets than him. On and on the scene went. A few seconds into it the worker grinned at us and reminded us, “Remember, I’m giving him all these tickets.”
So, what was that final total? We ended up with approximately 275 free tickets. To put that total into perspective, Ryan had won about ten with his game and Royce had earned even less than Ryan. Obviously, that machine had been out of tickets for a long time and a great number of kids had played it and taken their losses without reporting the problem. We ended up splitting the tickets between the boys and letting them go nuts cashing them in for multiple gifts at the counter.
And that brings us to the spiritual application to all this. It’s a simple one, really. Since God has called us Christians to be “salt” and “light” in this world, He will bless us when we take the role seriously and speak out when something is wrong. You see, He doesn’t want us to just sit back and let wrong go unchallenged. He doesn’t want us to act like the rest of the world and just accept things as they are. The state of things never gets any better that way. Somebody has got to put in the time and effort to say something.
Christian, could it be that you are right now in the throes of some situation in which you are wondering whether or not you should speak up? Could it be that you are the one whom God is burdening to throw out some salt or turn on a light? Believe me, I know that speaking up is not the easy thing to do, and I’m not trying to needlessly stir up trouble for you here, but the plain fact is that sometimes life’s skeet-ball machines don’t get fixed until someone points out the problem. And, Christian, there are times when that someone has just got to be you because the situation has your name all over it.
Now, will the person whom you correct appreciate your attempts? That’s tough to answer because it depends upon the person. But keep in mind that you aren’t responsible for how the person responds. Once you’ve gone to the counter and reported the problem, once you’ve thrown out the salt, once you’ve turned on the light, your job is done. And God will then reward you somehow or someway with some tickets of blessing. I can’t say exactly what those tickets will be, but you can rest assured that you’ll be satisfied with them.