Back in 2000, Mel Gibson starred in a movie that was titled The Patriot. It was a fictional tale about a Revolutionary War militiaman named Benjamin Martin. In a battle toward the end of the movie, his unit was stationed on a rise in the center of the American lines. As militiamen were hit by British fire, some began to retreat. Then more began to retreat. Then the entire unit ran away in panic. Seeing this, the commander of the British forces gave the order to “fix baronets” and charge after the cowards. Or so it may have seemed to the British commander.
When our son Jonathan was a toddler, I would keep him home with me sometimes instead of taking him to his babysitter. On one occasion, I was eating lunch at the living room coffee table and Jonathan was playing on the floor in front of me. He’d waddle over occasionally to beg for a bite of what I was eating. I’d give him something to eat, and he’d waddle off again to play. On one of his trips back, he stopped in front of the coffee table, and was waiting for his next serving. But as I cut up something for him, he grew impatient and reached out to grab it for himself. Instead of grabbing the food I was cutting up, however, he grabbed the blade of the knife.
In 1980, a movie theater poster asked “Terrorized in the toilets? Chased after school? Shaken down for your lunch money?” The posters then suggested: “Get a bodyguard!” The movie those statements advertised was titled My Bodyguard, and it was about a teenage boy named Clifford. The movie began with Clifford being bullied at school. Then one day, another student named Ricky rescued him. Everyone was afraid of Ricky because he was said to have killed several people, including his brother. That gave Clifford an idea. He offered to pay Ricky to protect him. Ricky declined. But then they became friends, and Ricky began to protect Clifford anyway.
I grew up in New Jersey. By the time I graduated high school, I had only traveled outside the state a few times. At college, I was assigned a roommates from Maryland and Zimbabwe. Since I hadn’t traveled much, it would be logical to assume I would have had an easier time becoming friends with the guy from Maryland. But that wasn’t the case. The guy from Maryland had been raised in a Christian home, but was only there to get a business degree so he could make money. He didn’t even want to be at a Christian college, but that is where his parents were willing to foot the bill. The guy from Zimbabwe had also been raised in a Christian home, and was also there for a business degree. But he was there to learn how God could use him to help the people in his country start businesses, develop economically, and rise up out of poverty. Since I also saw my degree as a tool for making a difference in the world, you can guess which one became a friend.
As you may know, we have a “houseguest” named Jack. Jack is staying with us because one of Jonathan’s friends lost his apartment. When Jonathan found out about Jack’s plight, he asked if I could find him a temporary home. I was more than willing to do so. After all, it wouldn’t cost me anything; all I would have to do is type up a post on Facebook. After no one offered to help, Jonathan mad a second request that could cost me something: “Could Jack stay with us?” The reason that request could cost me wasn’t that Jack’s food would be expensive. The cost would be the chaos that might ensue since we already had two cats who might not take kindly to a “houseguest,” as well as an 80 pound Lab who might intimidate a 12 year old cat.