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Thinking Aloud - Feb. 2020

2/1/20 | 2020 Thinking Aloud | by Rev. Dr. W. David Thomas

Thinking Aloud - Feb. 2020

    Years ago I attended a continuing education seminar by Stephen Covey at the University of New Hampshire.  I recommend his classic book Seven Habits of Highly Effective Individuals.

     The hall was filled with eager attendees with great diversity of age and appearance.  We were all given notebooks and pens at round tables.  A traditional podium dominated the front of the room, but for most of the day Mr. Covey wondered around the room interacting with the audience. 

     At one point he challenged anyone to take him on at arm wrestling.  He almost badgered several young, strong-looking younger men, until one of them accepted the challenge.

     Rules were established.  A time was fixed.  A judge was.  One table was to count his wins and another the wins of his opponent.

     All the while Covey was bragging about how he had trained for this event:  he lifted weights and worked at lower body strength.  “I am going to smash this guy!” he shouted.  We could not have expected what would actually happen when the judge shouted, “Go!”

     Covey let his opponent beat him!

     And not once, but he let him beat him time and again, until his opponent starting allowing him to win as well!  They were both “winning” (wagging their arms back and forth) so fast that no one could keep track of how many wins they each had, let alone who had the most.

     This is David Thomas thinking aloud that Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 16.31).  “Let each of you put the needs of others before yourself” (Philippians 2.4) says the Apostle Paul.  And again he says “Defer one to another” (Ephesians 5.21).  The Hebrew Wisdom says the person who gives freely, gains even more (Proverbs 11.24). 

     Most of the time we define our relationships by “them” and “us”.  We compete, not cooperate.  We assume that if “they win”, “we lose”.  We are afraid we will be taken advantage of, rather than acting to “serve one another” (Galatians 5.13).