Prophets Are No Fun at Dinner Parties

Have you ever met anyone perfectly designed for his or her job?
Today, as we make our preparations to welcome Hurricane Irene into our living rooms, I’ve been thinking about the unique nature of emergency personnel.

My dad’s been a fire chief for nearly fifty years and he’s still an active firefighter, not a desk jockey. Right now he’s attending a conference of International Fire Chiefs in Georgia but I’ll feel much better when his flight lands tomorrow and he’s back in town before the anticipated storm.

If you met my dad at a party or dinner somewhere, let’s just say that he might not strike you as someone you’d go to for life advice. He can be something of a “One-note Charlie” and if no one is discussing fire fighting or disaster preparedness, he feels no need to contribute to the conversation.

Like, no need.

Like, he’s fine just sitting at the table eating and not speaking for the duration of the meal.


(Okay, sometimes he talks about sports but only the Patriots, the Red Sox, or the URI Rhody Rams. That’s it. Oh, mention JC Penney and he may have something to say, too. Because that’s where he buys the khakis that perfectly complement his shirts for work at the fire station. But that’s pretty much it.)

Or, if he does jump into the conversation, it will be some completely random and unrelated comment that would require Columbo or Monk following the clues to find the connection back to the actual conversation.

And it will probably be politically incorrect or wildly inappropriate.

Like, once I witnessed this conversation between my dad and a hefty acquaintance of his:

“Fred, I’ll be right back. My wife is giving me a ride to pick up my car at the shop.”
(Dad, eyes him up and down) “From the looks of you, you could do with the walk!
“Hey! I workout at the gym several times a week, Fred!”
(Dad looks him over one more time) “Are you sure you’re doing it right?”

Yeah, that’s him. He’s special.

But, here’s what’s wild about my dad, the fire chief. If you’re faced with a fire, a rescue, a flood, a hurricane or any other disaster, he’s the man you want.

When others panic, he remains calm. When others stand and wonder what to do, he just knows and he acts. When others hesitate, considering their own safety, he doesn’t even pause.

Suddenly, the man who was such a bore at the dinner party, who kept going on and on about fire suppression systems, who cited you for your outdated sprinkler system, who frustrated you with his insistence that you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors right now, and who seemed so overly cautious about crazy things like black ice, fire extinguishers in the kitchen, staying off the unsafe pond, or monitoring the path of the storm, suddenly this guy looks like – well – a hero.

And it’s not just my dad, there are others like him out there. These are “Break glass in case of emergency” kind of people and there are plenty of emergencies to keep them in business. When things are calm for a while, people around them wonder why they even keep that guy or girl around but when all hell breaks loose, these are the folks in the lead.

Prophets can be like that.
 I mean, how annoying would it have been to have Noah over to dinner. Yak, yak, yak about water falling from the sky, building a stupid boat in the desert, and obeying a God no one has heard from in years. What a whacko, right?

Or Moses, getting all worked up about making sure we put that lamb’s blood EXACTLY over the doorpost, like THAT’S so important!

Or Lot warning his daughter’s intended husbands to get out of Sodom quickly without hesitation. What is he talking about, man? It’s a gorgeous night and we’ve got stuff to do downtown.

Or Jeremiah going on and on and on about obedience – BORING! Would somebody PLEASE send that prophet on vacation? He soooooo needs to lighten up.

Or your brother-in-law, your mother, your sister, your neighbor, your coworker, your high school friend talking all crazy about old-fashioned stuff like heaven, hell, end times, sin, Satan, Jesus Christ – I mean, seriously, they should just shut up and stop trying to shove their religion down my throat! Right?

Prophets are no fun at dinner parties.
 But, when fire falls from the sky – oh yeah, you’re going to want those prophets around on that day.

Or when the diagnosis is cancer.

Or the police show up at your door about that car accident.

Or when your son makes that stupid decision or your daughter’s marriage falls apart or even on that day when you’ve achieved all your goals in life and suddenly you realize how empty it all is –

On THAT day, you’re going to want someone designed for a very specific purpose – some “One-note Charlie” who seems to spend all his or her time studying the Bible or talking to Jesus or going on about God. Suddenly, that person is going to look like – well – a hero. Because they are.

Storms are coming, loved ones. But don’t worry. There are people who are designed to see you through them, rescue you when you get lost, and defend you against the trouble you’ve brought on yourself by ignoring all the warnings.

They’re called the Christians in your life.

Go ahead. Break the glass.
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    The Conversation

  1. Carmen says:

    Lol…fun post…and serious too. That’s what I like about you.

  2. Maurie says:

    Lori, Great post…Love the “break the glass” finale. You are gifted…Keep writing.

  3. You both have absolutely made my day! Thank you!

  4. Lesley says:

    I.LOVE.THIS! ♥

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ah, so true.

  6. Cheri says:

    Great post, Lori!

    Praying for you and yours as you face Irene.

    Love and hugs,

  7. Powerful, powerful post. Thank you!