Anyone born prior to 2009 is probably at least familiar with the name Forrest Gump. As the 20th anniversary of it’s release approaches (originally released on July 6, 1994), I thought this post a timely one. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, I’m sure you are familiar with some of the colloquialisms derived from the film, as well as some of the pop-culture that was born from it. After all, ever hear of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.?
(Incidentally, they DO have boiled shrimp, popcorn shrimp, fried shrimp, jumbo shrimp, shrimp creole, BBQ shrimp, etc… but I digress)
Among his most famous “Gump-isms”, one phrase that is often re-quoted in normal conversation is one quote Forrest attributed to his momma.
Stupid is as stupid does.
Well, as living proof of that, allow me to share my own “Forrest Gump moment”. Recently, I was speaking out of town, but as it was not at an unreasonable distance, we decided to drive. There are a number of people who sometimes travel with me to assist with logistics, books, etc., and on this occasion, my travel companion was a gentleman named Brad. We got to the multi-evening event, and everything went great. However, due to a wedding I was slated to participate in back in Chattanooga, we had to leave immediately once I finished speaking at the last session, and begin the long drive back home.
On the last night of the event, upon completion of the service, we packed up all of our books and materials, said goodbye to the wonderful folks who afforded us the opportunity, and headed out to the truck (I drive an SUV). As we approached the vehicle, I realized something was wrong…
It was already running.
Now, this is a problem, since Brad had stayed with me the whole time, and had never come out to the truck to start it ahead of time. In fact, neither of us had been out to the truck since before the service started, a couple of hours before. As all of the potential reasons why it may have been running, as well as the potential consequences of such, raced into my mind, all I could come up with was a simple question…
“Brad… Did you leave the car running this WHOLE TIME????”
Without missing a beat, and seemingly unfazed by the directness of my question, Brad very simply replied, “No, I just started it remotely a minute ago.”
“You did WHAT?” I asked.
“What? You didn’t know you can start it remotely?” Brad asked with a touch of incredulity in his voice. He held up the remote to the truck. “Yeah, you push this button, then push this other one, and it cranks right up.”
So let me get this straight… I have had this vehicle for how-many-years, and never knew I could start it remotely? All of the scorching, southern days that I sat in the car, sweating until the AC caught up with the oven-imitating cab? All of the cold, winter mornings that I had to leave the warmth of my home to go out and crank the icy engine? You mean to tell me that, all this time, I could have simply pushed a button, and let the car warm up (or cool down), without the discomfort of my presence?
Ok… as I am so fond of saying in my sermons: “Hold up your sign” (you know, the one that says stupid on it).
Well, I guess I wouldn’t be a real preacher if I couldn’t find a spiritual application to my own misfortune (or stupidity), so here we go…
How many times have we all had something at our fingertips, and never realized it? How many times has the answer, solution, or tool we needed been within our grasp, but we are too focused on the complexity of the job to see the simple fix? How many of us are guilty of being creatures of habit to the point that, when a better way comes along, we ignore it and wallow in our time-worn inefficiency?
The Psalmist said…
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~ Psalm 103:2-5
Ok. Closer to home. How many of us are really good at “blessing the LORD”, and really bad at “forgetting NOT all His benefits”?
“Momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re gonna get.’” ~ Forrest Gump
We sing praises. We worship. We bless His name. However, when the first sign of trouble comes, we retreat into the “box of chocolates“, and we take whatever is handed to us — complain, worry, and fret — and forget that…
He crowns (rewards).
While life may be as unpredictable as a box of chocolates, it doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. You know, it’s a wonderful thing when a Christian does not get used to being a Christian. The ability to still learn, still study, still pray, still have a sense of wonder… still trust. Sometimes, we get lost in the life of being a believer, and forget what it means to actually believe. We must never lose sight that our God never gets old, never gets tired, is always creating, is always ready with a new “gadget” or two that may surprise us, and always has your best interests at heart.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my staff members sang a song on Sunday morning that he wrote several years ago. I think it is appropriate today. As you listen to it (video link below), remember that while the world may say you are stupid for believing in Someone you cannot see, as Paul said…
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18
So, maybe “stupid IS as stupid does“. But, if that means believing in the “foolishness” of the cross, and that putting my faith and trust squarely in Jesus is “stupid” — then stupid is something I can live with.
How about you?