Challenge: ‘Learn to rake leaves in the wind’

Delvin Atchison, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Great Commission Team, delivers the Willson Lectures at Wayland Baptist University. (WBU Photo)

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PLAINVIEW—People who want to make a difference in an imperfect world cannot wait for perfect timing and perfect circumstances, Delvin Atchison told students and faculty at Wayland Baptist University.

Atchison, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Great Commission Team delivered the Willson Lecture during at chapel service at the Plainview campus.

He told a story about a college friend who worked with a crew who tended the grounds on campus. One day while his friend was raking leaves, the wind picked up and started to blow.

As his friend stood leaning on his rake, frustrated by the circumstances, the college dean saw him and offered wise counsel. The secret to life is learning to rake leaves in the wind, he said.

No perfect people

Learning to rake in the wind begins with understanding there are no perfect people, Atchison said.

“God uses broken people to minister to other broken people,” he said. “We need to celebrate the common humanity of all mankind.”

In dealing with peoples’ differences, Atchison said, he takes the salad approach. Each person’s distinctiveness adds to the overall flavor, and the blood of Jesus is the dressing that ties it all together, he said.

Once people understand how each part adds to the whole, then people will begin to appreciate the differences in others, he added.

“Part of being the solution is to understand that you are made in the image of God,” Atchison said. “When you understand that, then you will start helping others.”

No perfect perceptions

The second step in learning to rake leaves in the wind is to understand there are no perfect perceptions, and no one knows everything, he said.

No individual’s knowledge is as great and comprehensive as the collective knowledge of the whole group, he noted.

It is important to understand people may need to risk something in order to learn from others, he added.

No perfect predicaments

Furthermore, people who want to learn to rake leaves in the wind must realize there are no perfect predicaments, Atchison said.

“The timing is never right,” he said. “Don’t get trapped into not making changes.”

If people wait for the perfect timing, they will accomplish nothing, he insisted. Atchison cited the biblical examples of the three men in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and the death of Jesus to show that in the worst of times, the power of God shines through.

“Don’t wait for everybody to love everybody,” Atchison said. “But in the face of a broken world, learn to rake leaves in the wind.”

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