An Outstanding Follower?

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Ted picked up the neat stack of paper in front of him, and crammed them roughly into his briefcase.  He shot an angry glance at Allen, the new guy.  Allen was surrounded by a number of his coworkers in a corner of the conference room.  They were all talking at once in excited tones.  It seemed like everyone was thrilled by Allen’s new proposal–everyone, that is, but Ted.

Ted was only too glad to reach the isolation of his office.  He closed the door behind him, and unloaded his brief case on his desk.  He was just about to sweep the contents into his waste basket, when there was a knock at his door.  Then the door opened without  his consent, and there stood Chuck, his coworker.  They had worked together on many projects.  Ted had always been the team leader and Chuck had been the “grunt” man.  Chuck was a faithful worker, reliable and industrious, but he had never been a team leader, never, that is until now!

“Allen choose ME to head up the testing phase of his software.  He said that he was impressed by my cooperative spirit.  He said that I could pick my team.  Joe, Pete, and Sam have agreed to be on my team.  I am hoping that you will join us, Ted.  Everyone knows your tech savy.  We need your expertise. ”

Chuck spied the stack of paper on Ted’s desk, picked up the cover sheet and started to read.  “Oh, Ted!  You were going to propose this!?  Wow!  Looks like you spent a lot of time on it, must be more than fifty pages here!”

Ted grabbed the paper from Chuck.  “What do you mean barging in here like that?  Has everyone around here gone crazy?  How could they give a lead project to Allen?  He’s only been here six months.  Looks like I will be submitting my resume to Tera Tech in Fallstown.  If I can’t lead, I will leave!  I need to go where I am appreciated!”

Chuck looked stunned.  “But I always thought that we were best friends.  You know that I love working with you.  I have been your faithful aide for ten years.  There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for you.  I thought that you felt the same about me.  Aren’t you excited about the potential for Allen’s project?  It could open up an entirely new market for our company.  I just asked you to be on my team, and now you say you are planning to join our competitors in the next town.  What is wrong with you Ted?”

Ted’s voice was cold and hard.  “Sorry to let you down, buddy.  (There was a touch of sarcasm in his voice as he said the word.)  It just wouldn’t work.  A leader like me has got to lead.  You are asking me to follow YOUR directions?  Are you out of your mind?  My self esteem would never allow me to do that!   You are just a work horse.  You don’t know a thing about leading people, giving orders, getting things done!   I would never stoop to work for a…a grunge worker like you!  I am outta here!”

Chuck was astonished! Could he believe his ears?  Was this really what Ted thought about him?   Apparently, Ted had accepted Chuck’s efforts because those efforts had elevated Ted in the eyes of their superiors.  Ted didn’t want friendship or even a good working relationship.  All Ted wanted was to show off his own leadership ability!

Chuck started to leave, then stopped at the door.  “Ted, everyone knows that you can be a great leader.  We’ve seen that.  The question today is, ‘Can you be a great follower?’  Or does your pride keep you from making important contributions to this project.  I know you are a believer.  You are at every men’s meeting in our church.

Remember what Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13,   “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am found, I can be content.   I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Why not accept the challenge?  See if God can change you into a awesome follower.  Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then he added, “After all, behind every great leader are a lot of great followers.”  Chuck grinned and winked, “I should know.”

Arizona’s Anomaly

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A lake in the White Mountains, Photo by Shawn Lockridge (age 12)

The Mogollon Rim in the White Mountains

At the high desert town of Holbrook, Arizona, we left Interstate 40 and turned south on state highway 77.  Our destination?  The White Mountains of Arizona.  Being native Coloradans and having recently made the trip from the Colorado/ Kansas state line to our Rocky Mountains, we expected the mountain ridge line of the  White Mountains to appear on the horizon, but after traveling more than half of the distance to Show Low, there was no irregular horizon with peaks and valleys visible.  “Where were the mountains,” we wondered?

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Image result for Mogollon RimOne thing that we did notice, however, was a marked change in the vegetation.  When we left Holbrook, only a few clumps of  sage brush survived in the harsh terrain (photo on the left).  A few miles farther south a few short, round trees began to appear (photo on the right).  These, we knew, were pinyon pines, some less than six feet tall–hardly trees by our definition.  As we continued south, they became more numerous:  crowning the rolling hills, and trailing into the drainages between them.

It wasn’t until we were almost at our destination of Show Low, that this meager vegetation changed.  Suddenly it seemed we were engulfed in a forest of towering giants:  Lon’s Spring Ponderosa Pines towering as much as 100 feet above the forest floor, and Douglas Firs reaching even greater heights!

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Pines in the White Mountains

A conversation with a service station attendant at Pinetop assured us that we had arrived at the highest point in the White Mountains.  Driving around fifty miles from Holbrook, we had gradually gone from around 5,000 feet to more than 7,000 feet, and had reached the top of a tilted section of the Earth’s crust known as the Mogollon (Muggy yawn) Rim.  The attendant explained that we had traveled an inclined plane, the long side of a right triangle.  Except for the marked change in vegetation, the change in altitude had been imperceptible.

As we checked into our lodging, a soaking rain welcomed us.  The air here was cool–the temperature in the seventies in mid-summer–welcome relief from the heat of the deserts surrounding these mountains.

On another day we set out to satisfy our curiosity about these “mountains.”  We walked out to the edge of the Mogollon Rim and looked across the fifty miles of broken terrain below.  Signs along our walk explained that we were standing on the crest of a fault.  The uplifted section of the fault lay behind us, the down-dropped blocks, products of numerous earthquakes, stretched out in front of us.   Much sculpting by water and wind had produced the landscape before us.

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The Mogollon Rim in the White Mountains

Our stay in the White Mountains refreshed us and demonstrated once again the immeasurable creativity of our Creator!  Obviously there is more than one way to make a mountain!

The Mogollon Rim will for us forever be a broken place in the Earth clothed with the grandeur of the Lord.

-Pat Lockridge