An airline pilot flying over the southeastern U.S. called the local tower and said,
"We are passing over at 35,000--give us a time check." The tower said,
"What airline are you?" "What difference does it make? I just want the
time." replied the pilot. The tower responded, "Oh, it makes a lot of
difference. If you are TransWorld Airline or Pan Am, it is 1600. If you are United or
Delta, it is 4 o'clock. If you are Southern Airways, the little hand is on the 4 and the
big hand is on the 12. If you are Skyway Airlines--it's Thursday."
Peter Dieson, The
Priority of Knowing God, p.91.
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter's Carpenter Shop
From: Jordan Management Consultants
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial
positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and
we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal
interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them
As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an
auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff
consultation, and comes without any additional fee.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education
and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have
the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of
experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely
no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place
personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that
would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew had
been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau; James, the son of
Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high
score on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and
resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high
places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as
your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Jordan Management Consultants
Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast,
Word Publishing, 1988, pp. 194-195.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Abraham Maslow quoted in Eating Problems for Breakfast by Tim Hansel,
Word Publishing, 1988, p. 54.
"It is a popular conception that to make rapid fundamental progress it is only
necessary to concentrate large quantities of men and money on a problem," said
"Years ago when we were developing the first electrically operated cash register I
ran into this type of thinking. My boss was going to Europe and wanted the job finished
before he took off. 'Give Kettering twice as many men so he can finish it up in half the
time.' When I objected to this idea, he asked, 'Why can't you? If 10 men can dig 10 rods
of ditch in a day, then surely 20 men can dig 20 rods.'
"I replied, 'Do you think if one hen can hatch a setting of eggs in three weeks,
two hens can hatch a setting in a week and a half? This is more a job of hatching eggs
than digging ditches.
Bits & Pieces, April 28, 1994, p. 16.
Baseball pitcher Tug McGraw had a wonderful philosophy of pitching. He called it his
"frozen snowball" theory. "If I come in to pitch with the bases
loaded," Tug explained," and heavy hitter Willie Stargell is at bat, there's no
reason I want to throw the ball. But eventually I have to pitch. So I remind myself that
in a few billion years the earth will become a frozen snowball hurtling through space, and
nobody's going to care what Willie Stargell did with the based loaded!"
Our Daily Bread, July 26, 1994.
Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by
all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse
like this had never been seen before -- such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.
People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused.
"This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. "It is a person.
could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a
friend?" The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.
One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see
him. "You old fool," they scoffed, "we told you that someone would steal
your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever
hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You
could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the
horse is gone, and you've been cursed with misfortune."
The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in
the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can
you know? How can you judge?"
The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers,
but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact is that your horse is gone is a
The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is
gone. The rest I don't know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can't say. All we can
see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?"
The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always
thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money.
But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it
out of the forest and selling it. he lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he
had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.
After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn't been stolen; he had run away into the
forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again
the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right
and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."
The man responded, "Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back.
State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this
is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can
you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only
one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?
"Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you
have is a fragment! Don't say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with
what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don't."
"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another. So they said little.
But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had
returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and
trained and sold for much money.
The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After
a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers
gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.
"You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen
horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now
in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."
The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don't go so far.
Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one
knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."
It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring
country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of
the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around
the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little
chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing
struggle. They would never see their sons again.
"You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows you were right. This
proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is
with you. Our sons are gone forever."
The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw
conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No
one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God
Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991,
It's something like what Coach John McKay of USC said to his team after they had been humiliated 51-0 by Notre Dame.
McKay came into the locker room and saw a group of beaten worn-out and thoroughly
depressed young football players who were not accustomed to losing. He stood up on a bench
and said, "Men, let's keep this in perspective. There are 800 million Chinese who
don't even know this game was played." That's what you call perspective.
Steve Farrar, Family
Survival in the American Jungle, 1991, Multnomah Press, p. 40.
A Different View
After all - it's just how you look at things. A man was driving in the country one day and he saw an
old man sitting on a fence rail watching the cars go by. Stopping to pass the time of day, the traveler said, "I never
could stand living out here. You don't see anything, and I'm sure you don't travel like I do. I'm on the go all the time."
The old man on the fence looked down at the stranger and drawled, "I can't see much difference in what I'm doing and what
you're doing. I sit on the fence and watch the autos go by and you sit in your auto and watch the fences go by. It's just the
way you look at things."
Wherever you may be in the Northern Hemisphere, bathtub water will form a vortex as it goes down the drain -- almost
always spinning in a counterclockwise direction. But in the Southern Hemisphere, the bath water will spin in a clockwise
direction as it runs away. One in a few centers of population where the tub's plughole is directly on the equator, such as
Nanuki in Kenya, will the water run away twisting as often one way as the other or forming no vortex at all.
Magnus Pyke, Butter Side Up!, Sterling.
Dear Abby: Our son was married January. Five months later his wife had a ten-pound baby girl. They said the baby was premature. Tell me,
can a baby this big be that early? -- Wondering
Dear Wondering: The baby was on time, the wedding was late. Forget it.
From Dear Abby.
Get the right perspective. When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, "He's so big we can never
kill him." David looked at the same giant and though, "He's so big I can't miss."
God Can Make It Happen (Victor).
How Do You Look at It?
A shoe manufacturer who decided to open the Congo market sent two salesmen to the undeveloped territory. One salesman
cabled back: "Prospect here nil. No one wears shoes." The other salesman reported enthusiastically, "Market potential
terrific! Everyone is barefooted."
Dear Mom and Dad,
Just thought I'd drop you a note to clue you in on my plans. I've fallen in love with a guy called Jim. He quit high school
after grade eleven to get married. About a year ago he got a divorce.
We've been going steady for two months and plan to get married in the fall. Until then, I've decided to move into his
apartment (I think I might be pregnant).
At any rate, I dropped out of school last week, although I'd like to finish college sometime in the future.
(On the next page the letter continued)
Mom and Dad, I just want you to know that everything I've written so far in this letter is false. NONE of it is true.
But, Mom and Dad, it IS true that I got a C- in French and flunked my math class... and it IS true that I'm going to need
some more money for my tuition payments.
Failure can sound like success. It just depends on the perspective. The measuring device we use to evaluate our success
or failure is often more important than the success or failure, for to a large extent, it determines that success or
Once the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. "What did
he find?" asked the cohort.
"A piece of the truth," the Devil replied.
"Doesn't it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?" asked the cohort.
"No," said the Devil, "I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it."
Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths - Living with Biblical
Tensions, 1990, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 35.
To please his father a freshman went out for track. He had no athletic ability, though the father had been a good miler in his
day. His first race was a two-man race in which he ran against the school miler. He was badly beaten.
Not wanting to disappoint his father, the boy wrote home as follows: "You will be happy to know that I ran against Bill
Williams, the best miler in school. He came in next to last, while I came in second."
Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, p. 12.
When the other person acts that way, he's ugly...
When you do it, its nerves.
When she's set in her ways she's obstinate...
When you are, it's just firmness.
When he doesn't like your friends, he's prejudiced...
When you don't like his, you're showing good
When she tries to be accommodating, she's apple-polishing..
When you do it, you're using tact.
When he takes time to do things, he's dead slow...
When you take ages, you are deliberate.
When she picks flaws, she's cranky...
When you do it, you're discriminating.
Anonymous, Christopher News Notes, June 1992.
A young couple rented a vacation cottage for a week. One afternoon the husband looked out a window at the swimming pool
and exclaimed, "Let's change our clothes and go get some exercise!" His wife, who was washing the dishes in the kitchen
and looking out the window watching some people play tennis, quickly agreed. While she dressed for a tennis match, he put on
his swimming trunks. The window a person chooses to look out at the world often
determines that individual's perception of reality.
Lyle Schaller, Activating the Passive Church, p. 19.
There's a charming story that Thomas Wheeler, CEO of the Massachusetts Mutual Life
Insurance Company, tells on himself.
He and his wife were driving along an interstate highway when he noticed that their car
was low on gas. Wheeler got off the highway at the next exit and soon found a rundown gas
station with just one gas pump. He asked the lone attendant to fill the tank and check the
oil, then went for a little walk around the station to stretch his legs.
As he was returning to the car, he noticed that the attendant and his wife were engaged
in an animated conversation. The conversation stopped as he paid the attendant. But as he
was getting back into the car, he saw the attendant wave and heard him say, "It was
great talking to you."
As they drove out of the station, Wheeler asked his wife if she knew the man. She
readily admitted she did. They had gone to high school together and had dated steadily for
about a year.
"Boy, were you lucky that I came along," bragged Wheeler.
"If you had married him, you'd be the wife of a gas station attendant instead of
the wife of a chief executive officer."
"My dear," replied his wife, "if I had married him, he'd be
the chief executive officer and you'd be the gas station attendant."
Bits and Pieces, January 9, 1992, pp. 3 & 4.
When I think of perspective I am often reminded of a conversation between me and my son
in the summer he turned four. That spring Mark had asked for a spot in the family garden
to call his own. He turned the soil, broke the clumps, and planted his favorite vegetable--corn. Toward the middle of July, Mark was concerned
that his corn was not growing fast enough. I tried to reassure him that the corn was doing just fine by quoting him the familiar
benchmark used by farmers, "...knee high by the fourth of July."
My lesson came with his retort: "My knees or yours?"
Nicholas Mokelke, Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 2.
Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw mud, one saw stars.
A canny Main farmer was approached by a stranger one day and asked how much he thought his prize Jersey cow was worth. The
farmer thought for a moment, looked the stranger over, then said: "Are you the tax
assessor, or has she been killed by your car?"
In How Life Imitates the World Series, Dave Bosewell tells a story about Earl Weaver,
former manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Sports fans will enjoy how he handled star Reggie
Weaver had a rule that no one could steal a base unless given the steal sign. This
upset Jackson because he felt he knew the pitchers and catchers well enough to judge who
he could and could not steal off of. So one game he decided to steal without a sign.
He got a good jump off the pitcher and easily beat the throw to second base. As he shook the dirt off his uniform, Jackson smiled with delight, feeling
he had vindicated his judgment to his manager.
Later Weaver took Jackson aside and explained why he hadn't given the steal sign.
First, the next batter was Lee May, his best power hitter other than Jackson. When Jackson
stole second, first base was left open, so the other team walked May intentionally, taking the bat out of his hands.
Second, the following batter hadn't been strong against that pitcher, so Weaver felt he
had to send up a pinch hitter to try to drive in the men on base. That left Weaver without
bench strength later in the game when he needed it.
The problem was, Jackson saw only his relationship to the pitcher and catcher. Weaver was watching the whole game.
We, too, see only so far, but God sees the bigger picture. When he sends us a signal, it's wise to obey, no matter what we
may think WE know.
When other people take a long time to do something, they're slow; when we take a long time, we're thorough. When they don't do
something, they're lazy; when we don't, we're too busy. When they succeed, they're lucky; when we do, we deserve it.
Bits and Pieces, November, 1989, p. 16.
During WWII General Creighton Abrams found himself and his troops surrounded on all sides. With characteristic optimism, he
told his officers, "For the first time in the history of this campaign, we are now in a position to attack the enemy in any
A young couple decided to start their own business. He was an engineer and she was an advertising copywriter. They wound up
buying a small salmon cannery in Alaska. They soon discovered they had a problem. Customers opening a can of their salmon
discovered that the fish was gray. Sales sagged. Investigation revealed that the problem was a result of the way they processed the fish. "This
is a technical problem," said the wife, "and you're an engineer. You have to
find a way to fix this." A month later, the husband announced that they would have to
replace some machinery and make other changes. It was going to take at least 10 months to do the job and it was going to cost a lot of money.
have to do something sooner than that," said the wife, "or we're going to go
under." For the next two days she pondered the problem and came up with this
solution: There was nothing wrong with the salmon--it tasted fine. The problem lay in its
looks. So she changed the label on the can. In bold letters, right under the brand name,
the labels thereafter announced, "The only salmon guaranteed not to turn pink in the
Bits and Pieces, June, 1990, p. 9-10.
Perspective, like punctuation, makes a vast difference in meaning: he is a young man yet experienced in vice and
wickedness he is never found in opposing the works of sin he takes delight in the downfall of his neighbors he never rejoices
in the prosperity of his friends he is always ready to help in destroying the peace of society he takes no pleasure in
serving the Lord he is uncommonly active in spreading hatred among his friends he takes
no pride in helping to promote the cause of Christianity he has never been careless in
trying to tear down the church he makes no effort to overcome his evil passions he strives
hard to build up Satan's kingdom he lends no aid to the support of the Gospel among
heathen people he contributes largely to the devil he will never go to heaven he must go
where he will receive his just reward
A man read an ad in the newspaper, "Hunting dog for sale, $2,500.00, but well worth it." He called the number and the man
told him that he had to see the dog in action. The next morning they met and went hunting early. The dog flushed two birds from
a clump of bushes and when they fell into the water, he walked on top of the water,
grabbed the birds, and walked back on top of the water. The man was amazed, and bought the
dog on the spot. The next day he persuaded his brother to go hunting with him. They
flushed a couple of birds and the dog again walked on top of the water, retrieved the
birds, and walked back to their boat on top of the water.
He asked his brother what he
thought of the dog and the brother replied, "So, you bought a dog who can't