Imagine my surprise the other day when I heard a CNN news anchor talk about the Nashville Gas Shortage! What? Just Nashville? I thought this was something people were experiencing nationwide!
Nope--just Nashville. According to mainstream news sources, a rumor was started in Nashville that there was going to be a shortage, and so, people went nuts. It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: We acted as if there were going to be a shortage, and consequently, there was.
Obviously, the rumor mill is alive and well in our entertainment-driven city. It's downright surprising who knows whom and how we all seem to be connected. The lovely has a friend who works at a burger joint Taylor Swift frequents. The guy who was my lab partner in Biology at MTSU is now a Big Cheese at the Grand Ole Opry. Willie Nelson's granddaughter babysat my kids when they were little. A friend's grandmother was one of Elvis's costume designers. (However, I'm not sure that she was responsible for the white jumpsuit!) It goes on and on. So it seems natural that tales are spun for fun and otherwise around here. But to think that folks are spending hours in gas lines, fighting like cranky toddlers, and exhibiting sheer selfishness because of a rumor? We have clearly sabotaged ourselves. That's why the Bible warns us against not only gossip, but greed. In this case, the two are tightly knit. Gossip led to a "better look out for ME" mentality. The shortage continues because, instead of merely getting enough gas to get by, folks are taking their cars, boats, plus containers of all shapes and sizes in order to get "more than enough."
At the same time, I've found a great lesson for my middle school sons in this. Their uncle, a smart, savvy guy, found a better way to get the gas he and his wife would need for the week. Rather than wait in endless gas lines, he set his alarm Friday night for 2:00 AM the next morning. He took his and his wife's cars (one after the other) down the road 'til he found a working gas station and filled up. At that hour, there were no lines, no fuss, no muss. He got what he needed, what she needed, and went back to bed. He did the inconvenient in order to accomplish the necessary.
I guess it's a lot more convenient to dish about a gas shortage and call all your friends and get everyone hyped up and filling up. In fact, I know it is. When I'm tempted to gossip, it is always inconvenient to shut my mouth! But in this, as in so many other areas, we are asked to do the inconvenient in order to accomplish the necessary.
Where do you find yourself taking convenient shortcuts? And where do you find yourself going the extra mile--doing the inconvenient in order to accomplish the necessary? I'd love to hear your thoughts, both from a spiritual viewpoint as well as a practical perspective.