Not long after we moved into our current residence I decided that we needed a flagpole in our front yard. Now I’m proud to be an American and especially proud to display the majestic Red, White and Blue in front of our home. So, I gathered the necessary items, a pole, some Quickrete, and last but not least… a flag. After finding what I considered to be the ideal place for the flagpole I began the project.
It was one of those family moments still sweet in my memory. The kids were younger and enjoyed putting their initials and the date in the drying cement. After the flag was raised I called Terri outside to behold the fruits of our labor. But instead of gazing in rapt awe of the patriotic emblem of our great nation, she laughed, yes, she laughed! Then she said, “Where’s the flag?”
Let me pause here and say that I am a Tim the Tool mankind of guy and the flagpole that I chose was a bit lengthy. But what could be more inspiring than a flag flying high in the wild blue yonder for all the world, or at least our neighbors to see? Reluctantly, I had to admit that the flag was a little concealed by the maple tree in the front yard. In addition, from the road all you could see would just be pole towering alongside the tree with no flag in sight. “But honey, from the house” I countered, “isn’t it beautiful to see the flag against a backdrop of maple leaves.” “Yes” she said, “but it’s still very high, Dear.” It was a good idea, but a bad location. Or better stated, I was doing the right thing the wrong way!
This episode at the Throckmorton homestead reminded me of story I read regarding a lighthouse in California. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse to be exact, which stood watch over the entrance to San Diego Bay for 36 years. In 1851, a year after California entered the Union; the U.S. Coastal Survey selected the heights of Point Loma for the location of a navigational aid. The crest seemed like the right location: it stood 422 feet above sea level, overlooking the bay and the ocean, and a lighthouse there could serve as both a harbor light and a coastal beacon. Construction began three years later. Workers carved sandstone from the hillside for walls and salvaged floor tiles from the ruins of an old Spanish fort. A rolled tin roof, a brick tower, and an iron and brass housing for the light topped the squat, thick-walled building. By late summer 1854, the work was done. More than a year passed before the lighting apparatus – a five foot tall 3rd order Fresnel lens, the best available technology – arrived from France and was installed The
light had only a short life because the seemingly good location concealed a serious flaw: fog and low clouds often obscured the beam. On March 23, 1891, the keeper extinguished the lamp for the last time. Boarding up the lighthouse, he moved his family and belongings into a new light station at the bottom of the hill. Today you can see the “New” Point Loma Lighthouse from the Whale Overlook, 100 yards south of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Again, the right thing done the wrong way
Doing the right thing the wrong way has been a problem mankind has faced for ages. David learned this principle when he tried by his own devices to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem his own way. It was a costly mistake that cost a man his life. It was not a mistake to bring the ark to Jerusalem, but it was wrong the way he did it. When he looked to the scripture for direction the task was completed successfully. You see, he was trying to do the right thing; he was simply going about it the wrong way.
His son Solomon would write years later “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” That’s pretty good advice, don’t you think? Good advice for flagpole installers and Christ followers as well. God’s plan done God’s way always produces the best results. We must be sure that the beautiful example of Christ’s love flies beautifully in our lives where it is most visible and most effective. The Right thing… the Right Way!
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406