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The Peach Truck Incident

August 15th, 2008  

Focus Text: Proverbs 1: 10-19 (NLT)

10 My child, if sinners entice you,
      turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
      Let’s hide and kill someone!
      Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
      let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
      We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
      we’ll all share the loot.”

 15 My child, don’t go along with them!
      Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
      They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
      it knows to stay away.
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
      they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
      it robs them of life.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I was the king of the world!  Invincible!  Well, that’s what I thought at the time.  I don’t remember exactly how old I was . . . probably seven or eight.  We lived pretty far out in the country at the same place where the birds attacked me. (Feel free to revisit that story entitled Barns, Bunnies, Birds, & Blitzkrieg at  
My family owned and operated (and still does) a professional lawn care company, so we’ve always had lots of equipment on our property.  Lawn mowers, weedeaters, trailers, and trucks abounded at my house.  One of these trucks was an actual old tractor-trailer that didn’t run anymore and was used for storage.  It had a peach color to it, so we always called it “the peach truck.”
One of the jobs our company did in addition to mowing was raking and bagging the leaves at all of our client properties every fall.  It was a huge process that produced literally hundreds and hundreds of huge bags of leaves that were stored on our property and later used as mulch.  In the kid world, the amount of piles of leaves that I had to play in was unrivaled in my neighborhood, piled as high as the heavens!
The other significant variable that makes this story complete is the addition of my older brother, Michael.  He is two years older than me and as children, I was his shadow . . . and sometimes his guinea pig.  Together, there were very few things that we would not consider trying- or at least daring each other to try.  Hence, the famed “Peach Truck Incident” was born.
Michael and I, no strangers to the art of climbing, scaled our way to the top of the trailer of the huge “peach truck.”  On the ground at the base of the trailer was a huge pile of bagged leaves from our work that fall.  Though I don’t remember every detail that happened next, I vividly recall the process that my brother and I went through to determine which one was “brave” enough to jump off the top of that trailer.
Of course, Michael’s courage surpassed mine and he broke the plane of our high-diving adventure, soaring from the top of the trailer onto the pile of leaves somehow unscathed and intact.  Therefore, the onus now lay with me to follow my leader, which I did.  The next hour or so found Michael and I becoming more and more creative in our jumps, backing up and running to jump “superman” style.  Jumping backwards.  Jumping with our eyes closed.  Jumping together.  We were on top of the world.
What happened next was unexpected.  Really, it was our own fault.  In our childlike thinking, we never stopped to think that recklessly flying from fifteen feet in the air onto less-than-secure bags of leaves might be dangerous.  We never imagined the possibility that when we ran to jump, that we could have tripped and fell off the truck headfirst to our demise.  We never conceptualized that if we would have jumped short that we would have hit the huge, steel platform at the back of the trailer, possibly paralyzing ourselves for life or worse.  We didn’t even consider for a second the thought that sticks or rocks could have been poking out of the leaf bags, skewering our little bodies.  Simply put, we hadn’t been injured yet, so we thought that everything was fine.
So, we decided to invite our Dad to come view our little “surprise.”  We refused to tell him what we were doing– we wanted him to bask in the glory of our superhero antics.  I mean, come on!  Surely he would rise up and cheer with tears of pride for his masculine boys!
I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I distinctly remember the look of horror that came over his face as both of his sons ran at full speed and leapt into the air from a height where statistically many people die from falling.  Did we get injured? No.  But were we ever allowed to jump from the “peach truck” again?  Again, negative.
As a father, I can’t imagine what emotions I would feel if I saw Sadie flying from fifteen feet in the air.  That’s what this passage from Proverbs is really all about: it’s the pleadings of a father to his son (or daughter) to avoid jumping into trouble. Again, it may seem harsh to the reader at first, but from the father’s perspective it makes perfect sense.  Michael and I were fine with the jump because we weren’t looking at the feat through father’s eyes.  The perspective of the Father is what we should take from this passage.
Hey, be careful who you run around with.  Don’t make plans to do wrong things because there’s more danger there than you realize from your perch on the “peach truck.”  Greed is a trap!  Get down from it before you fall!  Listen to your father: following the ways of the world and living a life of greedy gain will “rob you of life.
Yeah, from my present new viewpoint on the ground, it seems like pretty good advice.  What do you think?  Maybe we won’t get injured this time, but perhaps the words of the Father may be spoken for our protection.  Just maybe.


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