As we near the end of this April 1st, I am reminded of all the practical jokes and pranks that I have been a part of during my life. But let’s face it – all of us have done foolish things – sometimes to hurt one another or to elevate ourselves, and sometimes because we just didn’t know better. Either way, when you look at the results, they fall short of what we should wish for one another. And when I think of some of the really foolish things I have done, I can’t help but look back over the years and nervously laugh. Hopefully, each of you can think of similar situations that you wish you could take back.
But to share with you just a few of mine, here they are; a top five list of really foolish things I have done.
When I was seventeen, my friend Phil and I made a powerful acid with our chemistry sets on the floor of their family garage. Suddenly, all the rubber stoppers and materials that held the whole experiment together started to melt. There was acid everywhere and Phil got out the hose to wash down the garage and dilute it. Unfortunately, the opposite thing happened and it seemed the whole garage floor was smoking. Anyway, Phil’s dad was getting home from work, with the new family car, and Phil was embarrassed to tell him what we had done. So, he told his father we were cleaning the garage. Anyway, his dad thanked us, drove the new car in, and within several minutes there were four small explosions as the acid melted all four new tires. We were in big trouble.
Or the time, also with Phil, that we made gunpowder and packed empty cardboard M-80 cases with our mixture. When everything was ready, we were anxious to see if they would explode, so we lit one in his bedroom and tried to throw it out his bedroom window. Unfortunately, he forgot to take the screen out and the thing bounced back on the floor. Phil picked it up, kicked out the screen, and in the nick of time, threw it out into the flower bed below, where it promptly blew a hole in the ground. But what if it had gone off in the bedroom? Again, big touble!
How about the time that I was practicing snuffing out lit candles with a BB gun in my basement at home, and I set the basement on fire? Or when I was horsing around with my brother Doug, picked him up, couldn’t hold him, and broke his tailbone when I dropped him on his lower back.
And probably the supreme one of them all – the time that I was making 180 proof alcohol in our basement when I was in eighth grade and poured cold alcohol into a hot flask. Anyway, the thing exploded in my chemistry lab, this very tiny area under the stairs, in the basement, and all I saw were blue flames EVERYWHERE. And I mean EVERYWHERE! I was in the middle of a fireball, and but for the grace of God, I would have incinerated myself. But, miraculously, no damage, except to my ego. When our son Andrew and I visited where I grew up on one of our trips to Chicago, I actually knocked on the door of my childhood home and when we were let in, I showed Andrew my lab and where the fireball occurred. The shelves for all my chemicals were still there! You can tell that one really impacted me!
Anyway, sometimes when I write these posts, I wonder if I will ever run out of stories, but something tells me that won’t happen. Here I am using five really good stories all in one post. But the point is, each of these stupid stunts could have been avoided if I had been smarter. And I could have told dozens more, but I think you get the idea, and I do have to save something for later; just to keep you coming back…
So what is the point tonight? The Scriptures make it quite clear – and the verse is Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” If I had been smarter, Phil and I would not have done such stupid things. After all, his dad was a chemist, and could have helped us. But we were afraid.
And it never occurred to me that I could not lift my brother, and that I should not have been playing with fire in the basement – either with the BB guns, or with the 180 proof alcohol. Dumb stuff that I wish I could take back. And as I get older, I find that I reach out to other Christians far more often to get a second, or third, opinion of stuff I am thinking about doing.
So no big lesson here – just common sense. My encouragement tonight is that you will seek counsel before doing things that can hurt others, or jeopardize yourself or are just plain poor judgment. And my prayer, of course, is that you will listen to those folks who love you, and are experts in their respective fields, so you can make better decisions about your life. Because none of us can live effectively in a vacuum; we need to surround ourselves with one another – to advance God’s agenda here on earth.
So, I hope that you made it through this April 1st safely and without incident. Because we need you – healthy and safe. And that’s no joke. Grace and Peace to you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.