It seems that no matter what anyone says or does lately it sets off a media storm and some average Joe’s cannot hold back spewing their anger laced opinions. ‘I am right, you are wrong’. ‘I am better than you are or smarter than you’. Who is the greatest (or worst)? The division amongst all parties has produced far more enemies than friends. I had a quick pre-flight lunch stop at Quizno’s this week that led me to stop, think, and be inspired too – Quit Quibbling.
We all desire to be first, how would you feel about being better than first?
I ordered my favorite sub from the Quizno’s at CLT airport and had this exchange:
Quizno’s subs cashier – ‘your order number is 00’
Me – with a sarcastic chuckle, ‘well that sure makes me feel important.’
(We both laughed) but then her face turned slightly and brightened like a light bulb flashing when the chain is pulled;
Quizno’s subs cashier – ‘Well it should make you feel important, 00 is better than #1’
Me – hmm, ‘Thank you for that, the last place I expected to have my thoughts challenged was standing in line at Quizno’s, great thought.’ She smiled back seeming to know she had just stated something profound.
I pulled my reading glasses out and viewed the receipt, it surely said #00, I kept it out just in case and looked for a stand-to-the-side spot to wait on my classic Italian on whole wheat.
As I stood off to the side thinking about my ‘number’ I thought of one of those church messages I’d heard before how God sees us as special valuing every hair on our head. But, soon I pendulum swung back to my earlier thoughts about feeling like a cow in a herd on this crowded Monday morning. TSA was on extra guard and everyone was clearly on edge as ‘protesters’ were present and arrested the day before at this very airport.
On this day, their anger was about immigration. The arguing and protesting over every word stated by anyone has gotten to the point where I do not feel like reading a newspaper, turning on the TV and definitely staying away from social media. If you are reading this at another date, it is probably a different thing the President did or did not do. Of course, those on the other side are telling how great he is fixing the mess the former one did or did not do, or the one who lost would have done. There are arguments on both sides that are right and wrong. It seems like it never ends. All I wanted was my sub as I glanced at the long waiting line, as I was becoming hangry.
Impressively the Quizno’s workers were on a roll as sub after sub was prepared and delivered. The wrapper called out sub 84, 85 and before we knew it 96 .. 97.. 98,
I saw a guy edge closer to the counter. He was doing a lot of impatient sighing and his face seemed to say; I am next as I have the number one ticket. Instinctively I moved slightly ahead while readying my feet and putting my hand on my roller bag. I was all set to grab my Italian on whole wheat and was hoping they held those black olives and replaced them with hot peppers.
‘Sub #99‘ was shouted out. The man brushed by nudging my shoulder scooting in front of me without an excuse me. Perhaps my hangry-ness was increased by the bump, or maybe it was because ten others, while I was standing and waiting, had bumped into me. I felt my blood pressure increasing and the heat rushing to my ears.
Time seemed to freeze for a moment as I thought about explaining to him that first, he was rude, and had no manners. I formulated my argument that he in actuality was not next in the sub line (which really was not a line at the Charlotte airport; we all stood haphazardly trying to be comfortable and doing our best to not get in the way of the many passersby).
I was better than number one, the Quizno’s cashier had just told me. I could almost see her winking at me from across the room as Mr. rude was edging up to grab his sub at the next sub announcement.
My mind flipped to thinking about bumping against the ‘protesters’ that had been arrested the day before at this very airport. I asked myself, ‘why do so many people today put their feelings of superiority ahead of ours?’ They bump, push, and shout ‘I am right, you are not’ messages to your face and across social media. The temptation to be rude right back is hard to hold back. The temptation to get in a back and forth text-to-text or comment-to-comment written argument is so strong. Wisely, I have opted instead to hold back from hitting the post button many times. Why lose friends or get in a never-win argument with someone?
Yet now, I was have a trivial thought tirade in my mind. I was ready to have a face to face stand-off with a guy over the standing position in the Quizno’s sub line. I thought about telling Mr. Rude to back up, my sub number was about to be called and it would prove that I am right and he was wrong. My lips, just like the fingers on a keyboard, were ready to spew. Instead, I decided, the right thing to do was to let Mr. Rude think he was right and let it be.
‘Sub zero...’ Mr. Rude started moving towards the counter to grab his sub …
I did not move at all, knowing that certainly, my number was coming up. I fought the temptation to be smug with my knowledge that my number was coming up and not his.
The sub maker’s lips started to shout the number when he stopped mid-sentence to glance at the monitor as he wrapped the sandwich to recheck the number.
I assumed he was a little perplexed at the double zero as I lifted my travel roller bag in position to roll.
Mr. Rude glanced out of the corner of his eye, and I knew he was thinking ‘where are you going pal, I am #1.’
The Quizno’s sub wrapper cleared his throat for the next sub grab…
‘Sub ZERO ZERO‘… I moved my roller bag smugly and then slammed the brake as he continued ‘AND 01, your subs are ready’.
I burst out laughing. Mr. Rude looked at me like as if I was nuts. Little did he know all that had been processing in my mind. And surely he did not know that I had my next mini-story topic to write on; how a Quizno’s line reminded me that trivial matters are not worth quibbling over, so Quit Quibbling.
It also reminded me of the most basic of basics lesson that is so hard to for all of us to carry out, perhaps you will want to hear it if you dare to enter the Portico…
(If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, please read the Do you Dare tab to understand the shift, tap the red line before you read below and come on back ‘if you dare’)
This travel experience had me heading to the company headquarters for the annual national sales meeting. Sales meetings are all about looking back at the performance of the company and individuals and recognizing accomplishments. It would be a total lie if I said it did not matter if I received a reward and that being #1 was not at the forefront of motivation during the year. Discussions during the week, of course, were filled with opinions on who had what title and whether they deserve it or not. In addition, quibbles over new quotas and job assignments reigned throughout the time. I vowed to avoid the negative, and most of the group did fairly well through the four-day gathering. In all reality, though, it is never easy to stay away from quibbles.
Such was the case even amongst Jesus’ disciples. You would think in having the perfect leader in all of history would cause His followers to feel content, privileged and happy as can be. However, such was not the case:
It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request. “What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest place of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.” Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?”
They said, “Sure, why not?” Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
– A side note – We had a great motivational speaker during our time, Rich Redmond who is a drummer who also heads up his own leadership training company called Crash Course For Success. One quote Rich made about great leaders resonated;
‘great leaders are not offended when you ask them a question.’
I could not imagine having the gall to ask the question James and John (via their Mother of all things) asked Jesus, let alone His response. He not only was not offended but He actually answered the question after much thought, in a positive way. We should not be afraid to have conversations with those in authority, nor should those in charge be so high and mighty that no one dares ask them a question.
But of course, those who heard the conversation were more upset than He was. Our nature is to want to see people put in their place. Even more fun (sarcasm), is holding the position as leader to squash someone. Jesus recognized both how to respond to the question, and to deal with the quibbling;
24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” Matthew 20:24-28 (The Message)
I will not dare add to this section and try to bring color to it knowing how many quibbles I have not only participated in, but also led the charge in starting them. In fact, I spend more time arguing and quibbling with myself than I do with other people. I changed the title of this mini-story several times, I had; Better than #1, Who is right? Who is first? Who is the greatest? How to tell someone they are wrong even when they think they are right. In addition, I changed the meme twenty times as well, first changing Q from red and green (Quizno’s colors because I did not want to be sued) and changing the words multiple times. Not arguing and seeking to be ‘right’ is without a doubt one of the most difficult areas to control.
Whether we sit at the very highest position of power or the lowest; God’s definition of who is the greatest goes to those who choose to put themselves below other people. In His kingdom, though, there is no number one, because all who enter are better than number one.
The challenge in all situations, especially amongst fellow believers, is to work towards unity as Peoples. Let us be the ones who queue up words of love and togetherness, and do our best to completely Quit Quibbling.
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