I was walking down the stairs with Marty after one of our morning shepherding group meetings. Marty put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Tik, I am looking forward to seeing you tonight at the service. IT will be Bob’s last you know.”
I stopped on the stairs.
Tonight our night was our frat chapter meeting.
And tonight was my first monthly business meeting as Frat. President. In this meeting we would review the finances: cash in- vs. expenses vs. surplus and also vote on any issues that the frat members brought up.
In fact tonight, because of our excellent rush results (thanks to Sheila’s help from the party with her very large and old line sorority) we would propose a reduction in dues for the frat brothers.
I needed to be there, and in fact, was obligated to be there. I was elected President, it was my responsibility, and they paid me for it in free room and board.
Seemed pretty easy and simple to me.
I explained to Marty why I would need to miss the MCM meeting tonight.
Not only that but after the chapter meeting I simply HAD to hit the books- I missed a study group last night and that spelled danger.
Going to engineering school, at least for me, was like riding a bike at 20 mph just in front of a giant steam roller moving at the same speed. Everything was fine as long as you pedaled like mad. But slow down or stop and you would be run over and crushed. And I could feel the steam roller gaining ground on me. For I had studied little in the last two weeks due to all of my MCM activities.
A new look appeared on Marty’s face that I had not seen yet.
I am struggling now to describe it, so here goes: it was irritation combined with an attempt to soften it into compassion.
I mean, his face said, “You are irritating me,” but the tone of his voice was all compassion, sugar and honey.
“Well Tik, I understand what you have in front of you tonight, but this is a really critical time for your Christian growth and walk with the Lord. You are a baby Christian and babies need lots of feeding. It would be a real mistake for you not come to the service tonight. Besides there are at least seven sheep now from your frat, if you don’t come they probably will not come either.”
I really did want to be at MCM tonight and to hear what this new Prophet was going to say to us on behalf of God.
I wanted to this more than anything.
But there were lots of things that I wanted to do in my life, but did not do them, because of other things I was committed to; things I was both ethically and morally committed to do.
But Maranatha did have one thing right.
I was a man-pleaser and did not like to let people down. Now I was torn, do I let my new Shepherd down or my frat?
But what about my studies?. I simply had to study at least three hours or so tonight, say from 8-11 pm…and then I remembered that I was committed to Mike’s prayer group the next morning at 6am.
My heart sank.
“Look Tik, God looks at our heart and our actions. If you are truly committed to him then His things must come first. That is the difference between overcomers and watered down make believe Christians,” Mike intoned.
That decided it for me.
I would see if JD our frat VP would cover for me this one night. Then I would leave as soon as the service was over at 8:30 pm for the engineering library to crack the books.
“Don’t worry about me, ” I told Marty. “I’ll be there tonight.”
At the frat house I looked for J.D. our Vice President.
As I have told you we were NOT friends. He had run for President against me last spring.
I won becoming the first junior President of the frat. As a consolation prize he was elected Vice President. He continually second guessed me at the frat, I understood why, it must have been hard to have someone with less experience running “his” fraternity.
Now I would have to tell him I would miss my first business meeting which only occurred once per month.
As luck would have it JD was in Mom’s room. Mom was also graduate instructor for Dr. Carl. And Dr. Carl, who you have already met, if you have made it this far, was a not only a prof. for two of my classes this quarter, but was also my student advisor.
Small world, huh?
Looking back on it Mom did a good job of looking out for us and trying his best to keep a bunch of 20 year old males in line and from burning the house down.
Last year one of our guys had gotten some bad grades and decided to drop out and go to work for the Power Company. Mom had escorted him down to the Dean’s office and “un-dropped him out”.
The kid was still in school.
Mom and J.D looked up as I walked into Mom’s room.
“What’s up Tikie?” Mom yelled.
J.D said nothing to me. He seemed to concentrating on blowing smoke rings with a lit cigar that was hanging from his mouth.
“Well I was actually looking for JD to see if he could cover for me in the chapter meeting tonight.”
Mom’s red eyebrows cocked up and JD momentarily forgot about the smoke signals he was trying to send.
“Got an emergency Tik?” Mom asked.
It was unusual for the president to miss a chapter meeting much less the monthly business meeting. I had missed last week’s chapter meeting and had gotten a little grief from the frat members because of this.
And now I stood there telling them I was going to miss two in a row including tonight’s business meeting.
I stood there trying to figure out what to tell them…then Bob’s admonition came to my mind that, “Jesus said don’t hide your light under a bushel,” sounded in my head.
So I said, “I promised some guys I would attend a church service tonight.”
“But I was sure that Chris’ study (Chris head of BSU) did not start until 8:00 pm on tonight,” “Mom” said. “Our business meeting starts at 7:00 pm and we will be finished by at least 8:00 pm.”
Chris of BSU and “Mom” were allies but not friends.
Neither really approved of the other, but “Mom” saw Chris as a restraining influence on us and Chris appreciated the fact that “Mom” really tried to look out for our welfare, well at least as he saw fit to.
JD was silent; watching me as he puffed his cigar. Had he spoken to Sheila about what and who I was involved with? I knew they were friends.
“No,” I said, “it is not a BSU function; it is a new ministry called Maranatha.”
“You mean that guy that was here with the band a while ago who was yelling and screaming like some two-bit carney?” JD asked.
Mom laughed, “You are a grown man Tik, at least you ought to be one. You really have an obligation to be here at this chapter meeting, for God’s sake you are the guy in charge here.”
“Sorry guys, I made a promise.”
“Bullshit Tik!” said JD. “You made a promise first to the frat.”
“I know JD,” I said, “but that was before I made a commitment to put Jesus above everything else; to commit myself to him like the early Christians did.”
Mom twisted his red mustache.
“Tik everyone knows you are a straight arrow religious guy.”
Mom continued, “You know I don’t go for that crap; but I have never given you a hard time about it! You go to Rat’s and Chris’s studies almost every week and are at Sunday School every Sunday morning. For Pete’s sake what is so special and urgent about tonight’s church meeting?’
“Look,” I said standing up,”I realized I was a lukewarm Christian and have to take a radical stand for Jesus. He died for me so the least I can do is to put Him first.”
JD waved his hand at me.
“Cut the preaching Tik, alright? I don’t need it and I am not going to listen to it. So stop it. I am going to cover for you, okay? But what do you want me to tell the brothers? Huh? ”
“Tell them truth,” I said.
“You really want me to tell them that you have cracked up?” snorted JD. He walked out of the room in disgust.
I started to leave.
“Wait a minute Tik, have a seat,” said “Mom.
“What in the hell’s gotten into you Tik?,” asked Mom. “I can’t remember you missing more than one or two chapter meetings since you were initiated as a frosh over two years ago. Now you have missed two straight. What is going on with you?”
“Don’t push me Mom I made a commitment to go!”
I caught myself, I was almost yelling. Mom continued to stroke his mustache.
“Tik- who is this group that you have gotten yourself involved with?”
“They are committed Christians, that’s all .”
I turned and walked out of Mom’s room and went down the hall to the door to my room.
As I put the key in the lock I looked down the hall and there was Mom, standing in his doorway, stroking his mustache and looking at me.
That evening was Bob’s last night to preach, at least for a while.
The Band was in great form and I ended up talking to Becky, the little sister who had broken down at the frat house. She was on fire for Jesus!
The service broke up around 8:45 pm and I reached for my backpack. I was planning on heading to the engineering lab to try to catch up on my studies.
All of the sudden Sam and Marty were by my side.
“Brother, we were so glad to see you here. I know that God will really bless you for your commitment tonight. We are going to be doing a study with a young man who is on the verge of making Jesus Lord and we would like you to sit with us, to give him your testimony and perspective on the study.’
“Will you help us Bro?”
What could I say? They had sacrificed last evening for me, so I would do the same for this new kid. Isn’t that what Jesus would have wanted?
I stuffed my back pack under my chair and went upstairs with Sam and a blond-haired kid who looked like he was 12 years old.
I was excited. I was going to help Marty and Sam bear fruit for the Lord.
My engineering studies would have to wait yet one more night.