Lawyers get a bad wrap. I am blessed that I have several friends who are, or have been, very good lawyers, and who have helped me shatter the lawyerly stereotype.
However, a few years back I had an encounter with a guy who accelerated the stereotype. Greasy slicked back hair. Overpriced sports car in the “Lawyer Parking Only” parking spot. Overdone “power-outfit” for our meeting in the hallowed office library. And reeking of cigarette smoke and possibly a little alcohol from his lunch break.
We were being sued by him, as he represented a client bringing a charge against our youth group related to a fundraising event, and we all met before a mediator who would hear the case. At one point, I think he actually put his fancy leather shoes on the table, leaned back and asked a question that was obviously intended to “go for the jugular.” I was thinking, “Bro, you’ve watched too many TV lawyer shows!” He even tried raising his voice to a shout while repeating, “Didn’t you!?!? Didn’t you?!?!” at one point in the questioning.
Thankfully, the mediator was seasoned and unimpressed, and we won our case. But if it hadn’t been for my good friends who represented the legal profession well, I would have walked away thinking all lawyers were like that guy.
Thinking about this reminded me a blog I wrote a few years ago. So for today’s #tbt blog post, I offer you some thoughts about the best lawyer I’ve ever met:
A few months ago I had the unfortunate opportunity to be in court with one of our church members. This person was facing charges that continue to have a significant impact on their life. I was a silent observer and watched them, as well as all the other individuals there, appear before the judge. One by one each person took the stand and faced the charges that were before them. And in each and every case, the one on trial had an advocate that tried to get the best possible outcome for the court case.
On two occasions, there was a lawyer who was particularly zealous and I thought, that’s the kind of advocate I’d want if I were on trial. Some of the other lawyers seemed to just be going through motions, moving clients like cattle. In one case, the lawyer and the client had not even met until the moment the accused was called to the stand. The lawyer asked the judge for a few minutes reprieve while they discussed things with their client and three minutes later — the case began!
When you bring up the topic of lawyers, people generally have pretty strong opinions. I’m reminded of the Robin Williams joke from the movie Hook (which by the way, is an all-time classic movie!): “Research scientists have started using lawyers instead of rats in their lab tests. Two things emerged: One, the scientists were less attached to the lawyers and; Two, there are some things even a rat won’t do”. [cue laugh track] On the other hand, I have several good friends who are lawyers and who work their tails off to be accurate, honest, ethical and compassionate. They are very good at what they do; they are the guys I’d want defending me if I ever came under a court’s judgment.
I don’t really know [or care?] what you think about lawyers, but you need to know this: You have an advocate before God who has created access for you, so that you may enjoy the richness of a relationship with the Chief Judge. Just as I would want my friends Sean or Caleb or Warren to represent me before a human judge, trust me — you want Jesus representing you before the Great Judge.
And here is one of the cool reasons why:
Since ancient times
no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him
I love how Paul states this verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9:
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared
for those who love Him
1 Corinthians 2:9
I love the thought that we have a God (not a god, but a God!) who has unheard of plans for His children. We serve a God who will act on our behalf if we will but trust Him. God’s plans for you are HUGE, but He waits for you trust, love and follow Him as He unfolds the unthinkable for your life. God is eager for each of His followers to leap out of the comfort that the boat provides them and to spend their lives walking on water — living out lives that others will find irresistible.
Unfortunately, too many of us are best described by Donald Miller as, “unwilling victims rather than grateful participants” (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, p.59). We live our lives reacting to everything around us in stead of proacting* on the greatness of being intentionally designed by a God who has unbelievable plans for our lives. We’re like a dog in a country song that gets repeatedly run over in a sad series of life-events. That’s not the life the Great Designer had in mind.
No eye has seen what God has in store for His children. No ear has ever heard the grand plans He has made. No mind can even fathom what greatness is in store for those who enter His court. Our Father, Designer and Judge asks only that we love and trust Him — He will do the rest. Living the Overboard life requires utter and total dependance on God, but is a life worth living. Are you living in the comfort of the boat or are you out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom?
Go ahead and take the plunge — life is better on the water!