Whistles. Teachers on playgrounds sometimes have them. Referees at football games always have them to use for whenever infractions occur or the play is deemed ended. People who train dogs use them. Cops often use it when directing traffic. Movie directors use them. Sometimes even parents have them when they take the little guys to a crowded playground. The one who has the whistle and uses it is typically the authority in that moment. He’s blowing the whistle to draw attention to others around him that he’s in control of a particular situation at that moment in time. In a way, the fact that he has the whistle is a sign to others that he’s in charge, he’s the boss.
The greatest (and funniest) example of “the whistle holder is in charge” I ever experienced came years ago when our local Nascar track first opened up. It was the first race held there, and it was at a time when Nascar was a really big deal for those who enjoyed racing. Consequently, the traffic trying to get into the parking lots was nothing short of chaotic, and those (mostly volunteers with not a lot of pre-training) were quite frazzled by the experience. The group of men I was with were trying to find the handicapped parking lot. The driver was legitimately handicapped and had those plates on the van as well the placard hanging from the inside mirror. We had to go through multiple check-points in the line of cars that were moving at a snails pace. Unsure of where we were headed our driver finally asked a young lady directing traffic at one of those check-points where the handicap parking lot we were supposed to go to was located. It was clear that she was frazzled by the volume of cars and the stupidity of some of the drivers intent on “bending the rules”. Her reply was out of frustration–“I don’t know. You gots to ask Charles. He gots the whistle” while pointing vaguely off into the distance.
A group of men and I recently came off of a retreat weekend for men. It was a deeply spiritual weekend, one at which the presence of the Holy Spirt was shown in clear and multiple ways many times. As coordinator of the retreat I had worked with the staff team throughout the year leading up to it, and our united prayer was that we all be keenly attuned to inevitability that He would be present, and that when that was sensed that we stand back and allow an audible in the proceedings so He could have His way. The theme of the retreat was Die to Self, and many men did just that on the weekend. They surrendered their whistles to Christ as they relinquished control and turned it over to Him.
We humans are a funny lot. In spite of all that the Bible says about who is in charge, God, we love, love, love to carry the whistle when it comes to our lives. To put it in its simplest terms, because we have this inner desire to know the outcomes (or we fear the possible outcomes), we feel that we must be in charge, in all ways, of our lives. We gots to have the whistle! That is contrary to what we are taught throughout the bible. And thus it really reflects on the state of our proclaimed faith doesn’t it.
It’s a funny thing how when we break through that desire for control, and finally realize that it is really God who gots the whistle how strongly our faith can grow and how differently we look at both grace and blessings. Even though He gots the whistle, we don’t always hear it do we? Sad.