Dale’s Rules for Life – Of Steaks and Seafood

Over the years I’ve collected a set of rules for living life. Some are born from walking with Jesus, others stem from my own fears and failures. While they’re in a numbered list there is no ranking, well, for the most part. There are a few, like number 22, that trump all others. Neither are they recorded chronologically by discovery or even alphabetically. The order isn’t important. So, while this particular rule is marked as number one it is not primary, it’s simply the first on the list.

The rule is — Never order seafood at a steakhouse or steak at a seafood restaurant (unless it’s surf and turf). Sounds flippant, perhaps a bit on the silly side. However, every time I violate this rule I come away disappointed. Especially that one time when I ordered lobster at an Italian restaurant. Bad move. The rule, however, does have a broader meaning. Lean into what people are good at, but don’t expect them to be good at everything. You could say it another way – lean on the expert. Don’t consult the electrician for a plumbing problem.

Yes, the expert may cost more in either cash or humility. Consulting an expert will have a short-term cost but definitely, yields long-term gains. The tricky part isn’t finding an expert, it is recognizing when I’m not one. Maybe the humility factor is why guys (including me) are slow to ask for directions.  

This rule applies to just about anything. No one has all knowledge (although I’ve encountered a few folks that thought they did). I know that I certainly don’t. The hardest part is putting a spotlight on our lack of knowledge or ability. The second hardest is letting others know about it. For example, asking directions means I’m lost and I don’t want to acknowledge that to myself or anyone else. But the rule says differently.

Now I could stop right here and most folks would nod with agreement. But we often forget or fail to acknowledge that there is an expert who specializes in us, each one of us. Someone who knows our life, where it’s been, where it’s going, and our range of possibilities better than we do. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father (in Heaven). But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29–31, NASB95) We may be willing to call the mechanic to fix our car, the plumber to fix our pipes, the steakhouse to prepare our ribeye, but are we willing to call on God when we’re broken, confused, or lost?  After all, God is an expert on the subject of Dale and in the subject of you.

Whether you adopt this rule about steaks, seafood, plumbers, electricians, or directions is up to you. Leaning into what others are skilled at does make life go easier. I do encourage you, however, to adopt this rule when it comes to matters of the soul. Lean into Jesus, trust His expertise about you. After all, He knows you better than you know or understand yourself.

Dale Heinold
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