Read Matthew 11
My time as a newspaper manager gave me insights into our human condition that I might have overlooked before. I had some unique insights from my time in the Corps, but it was the newspaper that rounded out my experience with people. Regardless of the circumstances, service never met the expectations of some, mainly because the expectation could never have been met by a newspaper.
A customer would complain that the paper was supposed to be on the porch. I asked where it was. It was on the porch but a full 14 inches from where it was the day before.
One of my contemporaries received a photo from a subscriber with about 9 X’s taped on his front porch where the paper had landed over the past two weeks. It wasn’t a bad grouping. Most of the masking tape X’s were only a few inches apart. The manager asked the subscriber to remove all of the X’s except the one where he wanted the paper so both carrier and customer could agree on the target.
I had one customer who despised his carrier. He liked the paper but did not like the carrier. If the paper was 10 minutes late, I got a call. Realize that the customer had his paper when he called but he wanted to make sure that I knew he had waited for an extra 10 minutes. Usually, this was because the truck from the Oklahoma City area had run late and put everyone else late in turn.
That same customer called me one rainy morning to tell me that he did not get a paper. I called the carrier. The paper had been bagged and was place extra close to the front door as an extra measure against the weather. At that time of year, most carriers used red bags.
I talked with the customer again and told him that there should be a red bag on his porch with his paper in it. He said that he had seen the bag earlier and did not know what was in it so he threw it away. He wanted to know if we could bring him another paper.
The Oklahoman had this promotion that if you already subscribed to the Sunday paper, they would add the daily paper at no additional charge to the customer. Some liked this and some didn’t but the marketing people would add the publications nonetheless.
One customer called the local carrier about this. They talked and the customer understood that the carrier was required to deliver the publications listed and as a result, they made a little more money in the process because the Oklahoman paid the bill for the customer. Actually, they just included the price of the daily papers in the price of the Sunday subscription so as not to make these daily papers as something that was free. Most newspapers make their money in advertising and by adding these free papers, they can charge their advertisers more.
This one customer in Mangum just did not want these daily papers. They stacked up or went directly into the trash. The carrier offered a unique solution. She said that she drove right by the subscriber’s trash can on her route and asked if it would be ok if she put the paper in the trash can when she delivered.
The paper was deliver as required and placed exactly where the customer wanted it. Sometimes you get exactly what you want. I’m sure that the advertisers that paid a little extra were not too happy about this arrangement, but it worked perfectly for the subscriber and the carrier.
Jesus noted that it didn’t matter what those whom God had sent did, it didn’t meet the expectations of some. Some people just won’t be happy with anything.
There was this one customer in Lawton, Oklahoma. She was an elderly woman and called the main office with her complaints. That meant that they showed up in written format on my morning’s paperwork which I could view online the evening before. She said that she had not been getting her paper.
I called and she answered. I told her I was calling about her not getting her paper. She said that she had been getting it but she wasn’t happy with it. Sometimes she thought her neighbor wanted to steal it. The neighbors hadn’t taken it yet but they might. Before I could proffer a solution, this lady launched into a thirty-minute nonstop monologue about everything wrong with her neighborhood.
I listened attentively hoping she would take a breath and I might be able to work out what we needed to do with her newspaper. She never took a breath.
Out of the blue she said, “I’ve been talking a lot about myself. I want to hear about you. Where do you live?”
I said that I lived in Burns Flat.
She remarked that was where the spaceport was and she asked if I had been into space.
I chuckled a little and said no.
Her reply was not anticipated. She said, “Are you afraid?”
I tried to explain that nobody had gone into space from Burns Flat, at least not so far. I noted that if the space industry did get into the tourism business as they were promoting, tickets for the few minutes in space might be just beyond my price range.
We parted cordially after another twenty minutes and her last words were don’t be afraid to go into space. The discussion never returned to the newspaper. I was in Lawton about a week later and stopped by her house but she was not there. That probably saved me half a day.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, say or don’t say; some people are just not going to be happy. Some people won’t accept what is right before them if it doesn’t meet their expectations of reality or logic or philosophical leaning. It’s just not good enough if it was not what they were expecting to see.
I have to practice extra restraint for the next few weeks. Some of you know that the political scientist emerges from within me a few times a year. It’s fun for me. It’s disturbing for others as I often cite obscure references such as the Constitution of The United States or the United States Code, and occasionally an epistle or two from our Founding Fathers.
The former presumed to be binding; yet the latter often offering insight into the former.
I have noted that the presidential election does not occur until the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. For 2020, that translates to 14 December. That gets me labeled a racist. I can’t make the connection, but that’s the response.
When I proffer that about half of the electorate didn’t vote for the guy that is presumed to have won and we would be wise to let the system run its course so that claims of fraud and misuse of power and authority by states can be adjudicated, I am told that this has resulted in a dictatorship.
Again, I can’t make the connection. Some people are not happy with anything other than their own thoughts. I won’t preach politics from the pulpit, but I will preach that we should be able to have civil conversations and use the sound mind that God gave us to reach our decisions on any subject without hating each other or venturing down the path of perpetual name-calling that is so popular these days.
Some of you have probably figured out from my political musings elsewhere that the guy I wanted to win, probably won’t. Believe it or not, I don’t always get what I want. The other guy or gal has won many times in my life and I didn’t throw a temper tantrum or cry that the sky is falling as some are apt to do with anything that doesn’t go their way.
I would like to know that the elections were legitimate and that if there was fraud or corruption that it was dealt with regardless of whether it changes the immediate outcome or not. Those thoughts usually land me in the hater category.
It’s tough to be Constitutionalist in the age where no one reads the Supreme Law of the Land.
It’s tough to be a writer in the age of memes.
It’s tough to desire civil discourse in the age where emotions rule to the exclusion of coherence.
Enough about me.
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
For some, neither John nor Jesus met their expectations. These were expectations rooted in the world. The Kingdom of God would require people to leave their comfort zones. They must repent of the ways of the world. They must turn around and let go of the things that were not of God.
People might find out that what they envisioned as the proper course for the world was not in God’s plan.
Jesus would liberate people from the chains of sin and death, but some were not up to seeing or hearing what the God of love had in store for them. Some would not receive the good plans that God had for them.
Wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
We are blessed to not seek reasons to remain in our worldly comfort zones but to seek God and his kingdom and his righteousness in Christ Jesus. Our wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and continues into professing Jesus Christ as Lord.
We don’t always get what we expect.
So often we are blessed not to get what we deserve.
We are thankful to receive the gift of life that is freely given.
Thank you, God, that we have eyes to see and ears to hear that Jesus Christ is Lord!