I once saw a birthday card that began its greeting with “Everything I love in life is illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
March 19, 2021
The year was 1978. I had published a book on drug abuse which had received national publicity. I had also opened a drug prevention center on High Street (a poor choice of street names for a drug center). So it was no surprise when I was suddenly heralded as an expert and found myself on panels explaining the dangers of drug abuse.
On one occasion I was on a panel with a well-known doctor and the local drug squad in front of six hundred locals. After the meeting, one concerned mother approached me with her two young boys. Unbeknownst to me, at the conclusion of the meeting, the drug squad lit a marijuana joint so that parents could become familiar with the smell of pot, and it was being passed around so that the smell would be widespread. As I answered the dear lady’s questions, her two boys looked on admiringly. I guess I was their hero—fighting the evils of illicit drug use.
As I talked to her, someone tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the still smoking joint. I was so caught up in the conversation I hardly gave any thought to what was being passed to me. I simply took the joint in my hand, and while I was still talking…took one quick puff, and passed it on.
Do you find yourself doing dumb things? I do. I bruise people, smash things, get lost, accidentally delete files, and embarrass myself almost daily. I have caught myself on fire, boarded the wrong planes, accidentally stolen cars, showed up at the wrong church to preach, and entered the wrong house one night. I also sneeze so loud strangers stare at me.
Just last week I cooked dinner for Sue and placed a plastic colander (pasta strainer) on the gas stove (the stove had been turned off for a minute or so—I’m not stupid). But when I tried to lift the colander off, the dimwitted thing was stuck to the still-hot surface. Sue rolled her eyes as usual, and I mumbled something about her knowing what she was getting when she married me. She said she didn’t.
Mark Spence, the Senior Vice President, has witnessed me do so many dumb things that it has dumbfounded him. When he witnesses yet another, he simply shakes his head and says, “Behold, the Lord’s anointed.”
People tend to look up to those who preach from pulpits. They put us on a pedestal as though we were something special. They tend to do the same thing with authors and TV show hosts. So if you are tempted to think that I’m something I’m not, just remember that I do dumb things so often that my Arab son-in-law, E.Z., wrote a song about it. The tune is catchy, and the words stay in your head forever. It goes like this: “When everything is breaking, and everyone’s left aching, then there is no mistaking, Ray Comfort’s in town. When you hear a thunderous sneeze, and someone saying, ‘Did you get one of these?’ When a Jew befriends a Lebanese, then Ray Comfort’s in town.”
So, if you can identify with me and know that you would easily qualify for a chapter in Everyday Living for Dummies, take comfort. God speaks through donkeys. He uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, the weak things of this world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). And also, don’t get too impressed with people, because everyone does dumb things from time to time.