Defending John Chow

A while back, John preached a sermon.  Within the sermon, he told a story to help illustrate a point.  I won’t quote it verbatim, but here’s the quick version of the story:

It was a mission’s trip in Thailand and the team had just spent a week at an orphanage in the mountains.  While the team was housed there, they had found many opportunities to play and interact with the kids; so naturally great bonds and friendships were formed.  Of course, after a great week together, it’s hard to say goodbye.  John had ordered a couple of vans and drivers to take them to the second part of the trip.  With the drivers being paid by the hour, you can imagine how anxious John was to try to stay on schedule as much as possible.  Kids are crying, people are hugging, the team is snapping last minute photos with their favorite orphans, kids are savoring every last second they can with the team and the drivers are off to the side smoking a cigarette because they’re waiting on them.  And after telling the team to finish and get into the car multiple times only to have it fall on deaf ears, John yells “GET IN THE CAR NOW!”.  It kills the mood and everyone obediently files into the vans and they leave.

I remember that day.  Everyone on that team does; it’s so iconic.  Every team since then has joked about it.  I bring this up because there’s one minor detail that John left out.

I was in the van.

Yup.  Dedicated and obedient Josh was following orders and diligently sitting in the van while all of this was going on.  The whole time I watched my friends and teammates dilly dally as I wondered if I was doing the right thing.  I made my goodbyes quick and simple since I was never good with goodbyes to begin with.  The whole car ride to our next destination I couldn’t help but think “why didn’t these guys just follow directions?”.


I know, I know, the point John was trying to illustrate was to not let your emotions lead you to sin and other bad things.  He went on to admit that he regretted his actions and that the rest of the team probably did the right thing after all.

But really team.. Why were you all so defiant?

And that’s probably one of my bigger pet peeves too, loitering.  I know it’s probably not the same as the way people loiter before going to lunch on a Sunday.  But what happened that day was probably a mixture of thinking “oh, no one else is in the van, I’ll just keep doing this” and abusing the mantra of “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”.

Well anyway, I followed your orders John.  I understood your thought processes and logic.  And I don’t think you can fault yourself too hard.



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