firefighting

photo (c) Paul Mata, used by permission from http://www.sxc.hu/
photo (c) Paul Mata, used by permission from http://www.sxc.hu/

When I was growing up there was a man who was famous for fighting oil rig fires. His name was Red Adair. On one occasion an oil well in Kuwait burst into flame and the alert went out: “Get Red Adair!”

But Red Adair was fighting a fire in Texas and couldn’t help. The oil company chairman was frantic. Without the famous Red Adair they were in real trouble.

“Why not try Orange Adair?” Suggested the oilfield manager. The oil company chairman had never heard of him but as the flames grew higher and higher he thought, “Why not?”

Orange Adair was contacted and offered £1 million to do the job. Within a few hours the oil engineers were amazed and delighted to see a large air transport land in the desert. They gasped as the nose of the aircraft lifted up and a truck, with Orange Adair and his crew on board, hurtled out of the aircraft towards the fire. They watched in astonishment as the truck approached the wall of flames and disappeared into the heart of the blaze.

As they watched they could see Orange Adair and his men leaping about, jumping and stamping out the fire with their feet. Finally, coughing, singed and blackened they emerged from the smoke to the cheers of the incredulous admirers.

There was a large media presence at the scene and as Orange Adair staggered away from the charred embers a reporter asked him, “What will you do with the million pounds?”

“The first thing I’ll do,” coughed Orange Adair, “will be to get the brakes fixed in the truck.”

I first heard that joke years ago and only recently rediscovered it. The point I want to make is that we can never be sure that assumptions we make about somebody’s motivation are correct. Appearances can indeed be deceptive. Assumptions can be wrong. I have discovered through experience that it is usually better to ask than assume, even if the asking can sometimes seem awkward or clumsy. Jesus had the ability to know what people are thinking. Since I lack that ability (my mind-reading is an illusion) it is better for me to ask. That way if there is something I need to address I can do so and if there isn’t I can relax.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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