This blog series has been written for leaders in faith-based organizations, and more specifically written for leaders in the Evangelical Christian world. I hope the series’ stories and ideas shared by myself and others have been unsettling – because it’s not until we become discontent with our circumstances that we move to change them. People with privilege and power have the ability to help those without either. So, to conclude this series, I’d like to share a story.
A newly married husband and wife save for a year and buy a 65 inch Samsung QLED television and mount it on their wall above the fire place. The couple never imagined sports and entertainment could be seen in such vivid color. They spend every evening cuddled up together watching movies, sports, and tv shows. It is how they spend quality time with one another, and it draws them closer every day. They never miss an episode of their favorite shows or a single minute of their favorite team playing. Watching tv together is not their only bonding, but it is the primary way this couple connects with each other.
One day the husband asks if he can invite a friend over to have dinner and watch a game. This friend has just moved his company to town and they are old college buddies – it would be great to catch up. The wife agrees, and they invite the friend over. The friend has just moved into his home, and has yet to get a tv. He remarks several times throughout the evening about how amazing the television is and how he’s going to get one for his house. After the game is over the friend leaves, the couple cleans up, and goes to bed. While they are sleeping, the friend breaks into the house, takes the tv off the wall, and takes it home.
The newlyweds wake up the next morning to find dangling chords and holes in the wall where their precious television once was. The couple is rattled and angry, but also confused because nothing else was stolen from their house. The wife, who had never met this friend of her husband’s until the night before, shares that she had a weird feeling about the guy. He seemed a little shady to her. She’s sure it was him that stole the tv, and the husband should confront him.
At his wife’s request he calls his friend and tells him what happened. Before he could finish telling his story, his friend cuts him off and says “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I know that it probably took you and your wife a long time to save up to buy a television like that. Come work for me. I’ll pay you a fair wage, and you can save for another year to buy another television just like the one you had.” The husband discusses it with his wife and agrees to leave his job and work for his friend.
After six months the couple starts to have issues in their marriage. The television is gone, so they have lost the quality time that was once at the center of their lives. The wife is still suspicious of the friend and still believes he’s the one who stole their tv. She quietly resents her husband for not standing up for their family. Now, instead of watching tv together every night, they argue. A few months later the husband’s work begins to suffer.
His friend/boss calls him into his office and asks why his work is suffering. He’s upset because the friend he hired isn’t pulling his weight. The husband shares that he’s having marriage problems that began shortly after their television was stolen, and he doesn’t know if their marriage will survive. The friend responds: “Man, that’s awful. I’m so sorry for you guys. I wish there was something I could do”. After work he goes home turns on “his” tv, and begins to feel sadness for the couple. He wonders what he can do. He comes to the conclusion that something has to be done, so he calls the couples house. The wife answers the phone. The friend says: “Your husband told me you two have been having a rough time. Is there anything I can do?”
The wife tells him that she knows what he did, and that if he really wants to help, he should bring their television back and mount it back above their fireplace. The friend confesses. He apologizes profusely. He recognizes that his actions were the catalyst for the distress in their home. After apologizing over and over again to the wife on the phone he asks, “Do you think you and your husband will have some time this week to come by and take your tv off my wall and remount it in your own home? I’m really busy, and I’m not sure I’ll get to it for quite a while.”
Who do you believe bears the responsibility for solving the problem these people now find themselves in?