“Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!”
-Proverbs 6: 1- 5 (MSG)
Here’s a real-life parable:
With the seller’s permission, Dad arranged to tow the boat down to the ocean — over three hours away — to use the boat for the weekend and to allow the prospective buyer to take it for a test drive. That was the plan, anyway. Our family did get to take a brief boat ride that first evening, After that, we hardly saw the boat all weekend.
- Leave some slack – When tying a boat to the dock, leave some slack to account for the tide. But in every other circumstance, leave yourself some margin. Things can go wrong. Don’t make life harder for yourself
- Don’t assume – In any endeavor involving another sentient being, discuss your expectations in advance. You can avoid a great deal of unhappiness by getting your respective expectations into the open.
- Leave it better than you found it – If you borrow it, take care of it and return it. If you lose it, replace it. If you break it, get it fixed. Monk and my dad turned a catastrophe around for the owner of the boat, who was grateful.
- Excellence is miraculous – When a man excels in his work, hopelessness disappears. Although I never saw him again, it’s a joy to think about Monk and his work ethic all these years later.
- Honor is paramount – It’s always time to do the right thing. You don’t know who may be watching, or the impression you’ll make.
- Plan what you’re willing to give in advance – I believing in generosity and I teach and practice tithing as the Biblical minimum. Outside of that sphere, I’m not towing the metaphorical boat to the shore unless I get to use it. Only a handful of people have a legitimate claim to my time. Everything else is up for evaluation. A man should recognize the value of his time and figure out how much of it he’s willing to spend on activities, causes and people that don’t bear fruit.
There’s an old saying that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat — and the day he sells it. I got to see those played out over the course of a long weekend. I’ve enjoyed boating since, but have not had the desire to own a boat. I wonder why…