Newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan | May 2023 | Volume 67, Number 5
BILLY BOB WINGNUT
Tim Patterson – BSCM Executive Director/Treasurer
For the sake of the story let’s call him Billy Bob Wingnut. He was born and reared in Iron County, Michigian and has never ventured farther south than a hunting camp in the Pines region of North Central Michigan. The one exception being, he did take his family to Cedar Point in Ohio, so that, in his opinion, makes him a world traveler. Everything he knows and does comes from the combined learning experiences he has accumulated from the people and surroundings of his Northern Michigan hamlet.
He drives a four-wheel-drive truck that has for its major color “bondo-pink” and carries a four-wheeler ATV in the back that is worth more than the truck. He pays more for his annual hunting lease than he did for the truck and ATV combined. Just a few days ago he decided that he really wanted and needed a new Ford F-250 4x4. He had spotted one at the Ford dealership and knew his buddy that he went to high school with was now a salesman there and would give him a “Yooper” deal.
He took the day off from work and loped his old clunker over to Marquette and pulled into the lot where a fleet of brand new 2016 model trucks were waiting his selection. One glistening gem after the other were lined up like ladies in a beauty pageant just waiting his inspection, but his mind was already made up. The bright red one with an engine big enough to pull a locomotive and wheels all shiney and bright, was the only girl for him.
Her curves were as supple and smooth as the Boone and Crocket qualifying deer mount that hung proudly over the fireplace in his den. As he walked around her, she flashed
2016 Ford F250 Pickup truck (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company)
with the passion and appeal of a thousand WWF pay-per-view programs. She exuded an excitement in him that could almost not be contained. She was the only one he had looked at that brought tears to his eyes. He knew she was the one for him and he had to have her. No waiting. Now or never!
His high school chum guided him into his office and started drawing up the papers that he would have to sign. There were at least a dozen places for his full signature and many more for his initials. It was at that very moment Billy Bob told his friend that he really didn’t want to sign a piece of paper, but that he just wanted to take her home for a year or so and see if this was what he really wanted. He wanted to make sure that she would do well in the woods of the U.P. and that a good trial run for a number of months would be the best proving ground. Besides, he really loved this truck and wanted to prove it would all work out. His friend, looking incredulous said, “Listen Billy Bob, if you want to take her home you have to commit to being responsible for her and sign on the dotted line.” “But dude, what difference does a piece of paper make if I really love her?” respoonded Billy Bob.
You might be saying, “No one would be so foolish as to try to buy something as expensive and as important as a new vehicle without a commitment in writing.” Yet over my 40 plus years of ministry I heard a myriad of individuals tell me, “Well if we really love each other, what difference does a piece of paper matter? We’re just going to try it out for a couple of years.” Friends, a marriage relationship is far more important and of greater worth than any four wheel drive. If a car dealer demands a written commitment for something as temporal as a vehicle, shouldn’t you demand as much for that which is supposed to last for a lifetime? Trucks and cars come and go. Marriages should not! Girls, the next time Billy Bob Wingnut tries to tell you that a piece of paper really does not matter, tell him you are not in this for an extended test drive. Either sign on the dotted line or find yourself some other ride. “I’m worth a lot more than a truck and we will have a written commitment.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.