For the first time in many years, I embarrassed myself last evening while speaking to a small group. I’ve been playing the scene over and over again in my mind, and I’ve come up with some lessons that I’ll share. Perhaps my chagrin will keep some of you from being trapped in a similar setting.
First of all, I was asked to address a difficult topic without time for research, study, and preparation. That in itself is an invitation to disaster.
Second, I found the assigned topic to be obscure, complex, and quite frankly not worthy of much conversation. I couldn’t present a convincing case because there was little high ground, or any other ground, that I could find. I didn’t have any footing, and so of course I was “flying by the seat of my pants.”
Third, the lesson others seemed to derive from the text was replete with moral flaws. Dishonesty was praised. The cheats were rewarded. The heroes resembled nothing that I considered worthy of adulation.
I suppose some of this was unavoidable. The setting didn’t allow time for careful and prayerful deliberation and discussion. And most in the group were in a similar vice, cramped and cloistered without opportunity for the deep thought required for such a perplexing moral, ethical, and spiritual conundrum.
So I share this with you and pray it will be helpful.
By the way, the topic was “The Parable of the Crooked and Conniving Manager,” found in Luke 16: 1-9.