Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, March, 2011

posted Feb 27, 2011, 8:27 PM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Apr 1, 2011, 8:37 AM ]

A Little Nudging Needed -- Lent 2011 

I’ve heard it said that humans have four basic needs which are as follows. First of all there is the need to be nurtured. Next is the need to be needed. Third, the need to be noticed. And fourth and finally, there is the need to be nudged.

As for the nudging part, it is typically rather difficult to know just exactly what kind of nudge is needed to accomplish the desired end. Consider this situation involving a small boy who resisted all nudges to quit banging a drum. Various attempts, without any noticeable success, were made to do something about quieting down this extremely noisy and boisterous child.

One person even forcibly sat the boy down, cautioning that if he continued to make so much noise, this would definitely perforate his eardrums. This reasoning was much too advanced for the child, who was neither a scientist nor a scholar.

A second person told him that drum beating was a sacred activity and should be carried out only on special occasions. A third person offered all the neighbors plugs for their ears; a fourth gave the boy a book; a fifth gave the neighbors books that described a method of controlling anger through biofeedback; a sixth person gave the boy meditation exercises to make him more placid and docile. All of these attempts failed totally; it appeared absolutely nothing was going to work.

Eventually, a wise person came along with an effective motivation. He looked over the situation, handed the child a hammer and chisel, and simply asked, "I wonder what is INSIDE your drum?" That solved the issue; problem eliminated!

Sometimes we too, like the boy with the drum, need to be nudged. At times, we may need a little nudging into healthier behaviors. Or maybe nudged out of destructive relationships or patterns. Or simply nudged to think a little bigger; to do or become involved in something more challenging and less mediocre.

Writer Antoine de Saint¬-Exupery said, "If you want to build a ship, don‘t drum up the men to gather wood, divide up the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." Perhaps at times we all need just a bit of a nudge to desire something magnificent or sublime.

Effective leaders know about this basic human need to be prodded, challenged and encouraged. They also know that the best way to nudge someone is often just a matter of inviting them along a path that is more appealing than the one they've chosen heretofore. The best leaders teach us to dream and tempt us to do more than we ever thought possible. They challenge us to be a part of something great.

What does it take to provide us motivation enough to try a better path? Perhaps our observance of Lent, which begins this year with Ash Wednesday on March 9, could provide a nudge in the right direction. Have you thought about attending the Wednesday evening Bible Studies here at church, or the community Lenten breakfasts? (Leola UMC hosts on March 16). You might want to try it!

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries