Collusion, Lies, and Deceit




I recently became the unwitting victim of a vast conspiracy involving collusion at the highest levels. The plot against me involved lies and deception that stretched its nefarious tentacles even into my own church!


It all begin innocently enough. I attended Bible Study and church on Sunday morning, which was wonderful, heart-warming, and fulfilling. This was not out of the ordinary at all.

Another “ordinary” aspect of my Sundays is a trip to my in-laws where I ordinarily flop myself into a recliner and take a nap until late afternoon, after which we play a few hands of ordinary cards. After that, we ordinarily enjoy a lovely supper and maybe play another game of cards. 


It’s all very relaxing and I actually look forward to the rejuvenating effects of resting on the Sabbath just as the Lord told us to do. 


After church, my lovely wife (a.k.a MLW) informed me that our daughter (age 24) wanted to ride with us to her mom and dad’s place, but she couldn’t do so until 2:00 p.m. because she had to take a test for her online college class. There was nothing terribly out-of-the-ordinary about that, so I readily agreed as I enjoyed a bowl of left-over chili for lunch. After I finished my lunch, MLW said that her mom and dad’s Chihuahua (Rosie) had fleas, so our Chihuahua (Sophie, daughter of Rosie) would have to stay home. Again, not terribly out-of-the-ordinary. 


After lunch, I settled into my recliner and valiantly fought the urge to nap, despite a belly fully of chili and decades of habituated snoozing. Soon, it was two o-clock and MLW informed me that she had left her glasses at church, so we really should stop and pick them up. “No problem,” I said. “I have a key.” The church was on our way, so again, nothing unusual or weird going on here.

As we arrived at the church, I saw a young girl inside the church run past the door. I was not aware of any event going on at the church, but people frequently have events at the church that I have been told about but have forgotten were going to happen. Besides, it meant the door was probably already open.


MLW pulled up to the side door because there is construction going on at the front door and I found it unlocked, just as I had expected.


I walked down the short hall into the sanctuary and found about 50 people standing there, all of whom shouted “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” the moment they saw me.


Among them were my in-laws, my brother, many members of our congregation, and many of the staff of Kinship Christian Radio –and almost all of them were wearing plaid flannel.


Something very OUT of the ordinary was going on here.

As I surveyed the situation, I found there was red and black plaid flannel everywhere. The table cloths were plaid flannel. There was a table piled with gifts wrapped in flannel. There was even a cake decorated in red and black plaid flannel inscribed with “Happy 60th Birthday Dan.”


It was approximately at this point that I became seriously aware that I was not going to get a nap that Sunday afternoon.


Upon further examination, I found a large piece of poster board with dozens of pictures of me throughout my life wearing plaid flannel and often holding fish I had caught. Some of the fish were fairly large and some were remarkably tiny. There were also some touching photos of me with my lovely wife and/or beautiful daughter. None of the pictures will ever put me in danger of being considered a hipster fashion guy, even though I was wearing plaid flannel a half-century before it finally became fashionable. Those in attendance had written birthday greetings and blessings around the margin of the photos.


My lovely wife and daughter along with many relatives and friends and brothers and sisters in Christ had conspired and colluded to deceive me. I later learned that the event required a full year of plotting and scheming to pull off.


And they were absolutely successful as I had no clue at all any of this was coming.


But, gradually, as I greeted those in attendance and opened gifts and accepted blessings and the occasional good-natured ribbing about being “over-the-hill” I did get a clue. All of this was done for me. All of this was because there are a whole lot of people in my life who actually and truly love me.


And that’s humbling because the whole time it was going on, I knew I didn’t earn it and I didn’t deserve it. 


My daughter wasn’t taking on online test, my wife had left her glasses at church on purpose, and Rosie didn’t have fleas. But the conspiracy was necessary because if I had known the truth, I would have tried to stop people who loved me from blessing me and that would have denied them the blessing of giving. 


One of the hardest lessons I have ever learned is to accept grace graciously and with gratitude. I still don’t do it very well. So, deepest thanks to all of you loving conspirators for your extraordinary love and skillfully-wrought plans.


Thank you.


May the Lord bless you as you have blessed me. 


Today’s Praise

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)

Written by Dan Jones

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