Passing the Buck…

Hello Friends,

How are you doing today? Can you believe that it is March already? As I type this message, the temperature is Spring-like, it is raining, and the trees are swaying in the wind. It certainly feels like and looks like Spring, but Spring won’t come for a few more days. As a matter of fact, there are only 17 days until the first official day of Spring, 9 days until we spring forward, 14 days until St. Patrick’s Day, 37 days until Easter, and 297 days until Christmas…. life is moving pretty fast. It almost feels like winter is “passing the buck” to Spring. Are you ready for Spring to arrive?

Speaking of “passing the buck,” I was reminded of this phrase a few days ago when someone was passing around a dollar bill–“a buck”–during church. Did you know that “passing the buck” originated from a ritual practiced during card games. Card players used to place a marker, called a “buck,” in front of the person who was the dealer. That marker was passed to the next player along with the responsibility of dealing. Eventually “passing the buck” became synonymous with passing on responsibility.

“Passing the buck” is sort of like the game “Hot Potato.” When I was a child, we played a game called “Hot Potato.” You just pass the potato around. You would wind it up and it would ding and vibrate and explode at some unpredictable time. And the quicker you would pass the potato, the more likely you were to not get caught with the hot potato exploding in your face. Hence, passing on the responsibility.

I have been thinking a lot about this simple phrase, and how I have passed the buck in my life. Whenever I got in trouble as a kid and was caught with the “hot potato,” I would pass it to my siblings and try to get them in trouble because I didn’t want to get in trouble. I didn’t want to be sent to my room, to not be able to watch television, or to play outside with my friends. So I figured if I could pass it onto my siblings, I would be safe and be allowed to play with my friends. My plan of action didn’t always work, though. Knowing that you did something wrong, have you ever tried to blame someone else? If you have, you aren’t alone. Even people in the Bible tried to “pass the buck.”

Do you remember Adam and Eve? God had placed Adam, along with his helpmate Eve, in the Garden of Eden. They had it “made in the shade” in the Garden. There was only one big no-no. “You cannot eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” The serpent sees Eve, that crafty creature that he was. “Did God tell you, you cannot eat from any tree in the Garden?” “Well,” said Eve, “from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the Garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’”
“You’re not going to die,” said the serpent. “God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Of course, Satan is full of lies, as he is true to his nature. The fruit looked so beautiful. It was delightful to the eyes. And she really wanted to be wise. So she took from the fruit and she ate. She said, “Hey, Adam, have a bite.” Their eyes were opened. Then they hear the sound of God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. They hide from God. Adam, knowing that he is in trouble, passes the buck to Eve.  “The woman you gave to be with me – she gave to me from the tree and I ate.” Then remember what the woman did? She passed the buck. “The serpent deceived me,” she replied.

You see, even Biblical people, who God chose to do His work, sometimes don’t always listen and try to get out of trouble. But God knows who we are–our good and our bad. He knows when we are trying to “pass the buck” as we try to not be in trouble. Instead of “passing the buck,” or playing “hot potato,” we should be honest with God, our parents, our siblings, and our friends. Sure we may not be able to watch television or play with our favorite toy or go outside, but being honest is way more better than blaming someone else. Who knows, maybe being honest will help you get out of the situation? God does not want you to “pass the buck,” but instead be honest and truthful in all that you do and say.

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!


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