Who’s this idiot? That’s me!

Our family business’ first trip to the then Soviet Union was an interesting experience. Our objective was to sell the Soviets (as they were called then) our offshore pile driving equipment for their offshore oil production work. Their idea was to get us to sell their diesel pile driving equipment and other Soviet technology in the U.S. (We eventually got there, but that’s another story altogether.

Needless to say, this was a recipe for confusion. One good thing that came out of it was our visit to the Monastery of Trinity-St. Sergius in Zagorsk, the administrative centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.

We did finally meet with the offshore oil people. It was strange too; when the babushka receptionist asked where we were from and we told them we were from the U.S., she jolted upward in her seat and exclaimed, “Oh, my God!” (this in an atheist state!)

Finally we had our closing meeting with our Soviet counterparts. This was during the age of perestroika, which simply means restructuring. This ministry was doing its own shuffle, so the chief negotiator unfurled the new organisation chart for the ministry. He spent a great deal of time going through everyone’s new title and position. Our agent got impatient with this presentation, so he thrust his finger at the centre of the chart and demanded, “Who’s this idiot?”

“That’s me!” the answer came back.

It doesn’t take being in a socialist organisation to make us feel that we’re “lost in the shuffle,” just another cog in the machine or just another “idiot” working in an structure that neither knows or cares whether we stay or leave. We get to the point where we look at ourselves and life in general in this way.

But that wasn’t God’s plan for us. We have a God who loves and cares for us, who created us and had a purpose for us from the beginning (“negative infinity,” as we say here.) Just because others who have their own purposes–if they have any clear objective at all–try to define us as part of their machine doesn’t mean that the God of the universe agrees with their assessment. He does not and neither should we. If we make him first in our lives, we will find his purpose for us and then we will never again be “this idiot.”

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