Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Tapped Out

There I stood, alongside several hundred other Boy Scouts, gazing across the glistening waters of Carlisle Lake.  I was shivering, though the evening was warm.  But I was shivering, cuz I was nervous. 

The camp staff, costumed in glorious Native American attire, was softly paddling their canoes our direction. I stood shivering, yet still— stripped to the waist, wondering who was gonna be chosen this year. 

The Boy Scouts have a somewhat secret organization called The Order of the Arrow, a society called into existence to both honor the more seasoned scout, but even more, to further test his mettle. 

It was Friday night.  And we had gathered along the shore for the beautiful and impressive Tapping Out Ceremony.  As the Indians secured their canoes and began inspecting the long line of candidates, I reviewed in my mind that a nominee to the Order had to:

…spend the next 24 hours in silence,

…invest that day in service to others,

…spend the night alone in the wilderness, with only a handful of food that he’d have to find a way to prepare in order to sustain himself for what would be a very grueling day. 

Can you imagine the shock that ripped through my body when The Chief passed in front of me, spun sharply on his heels, raised his meaty hand into the air and slapped me sharply on the shoulder…not once, BUT THREE TIMES!?

My shoulder was still stinging when two braves pulled me from the ranks, shoved a tiny bag in my hands and pointed me toward the wooded darkness. 

There I was…chosen from among my peers.  Selected as one of my troop’s finest— yet absolutely terrified!  I groped through the darkness [no flashlights were provided], found what seemed to be a suitable place to bed down— and spent the entire night wondering, “Can I do this?”  “Do I have what it takes?”  “And even if I do, what exactly am I supposed to do?”

I was frightened, yet there was no one to turn to.  I needed instruction, but had no one to talk to. 

I felt like the guy who was tarred and feathered and ran out of town on a rail.  He said, “If it weren’t for the honor of it all, I’d just as soon pass.” 

That’s how I felt:

Honored, but unworthy. 

Tapped Out, but for what? 

Selected, but what do I DO now?


A similar event happened in Matthew 10 when Jesus “tapped out” the Twelve disciples.  He had selected them from among the multitudes of those who had been following Him.  But these were Jesus’ select Twelve who would become His very special lieutenants. 

Except they, too, were green, unskilled and woefully untrained.  Sure, maybe they were the pick of the litter, but that’s not saying much. 

That’s why Jesus, rather than handing them a Bible and pointing them toward the Harvest, took the time to give them some pointers for how ministry was supposed to happen.


         “These twelve Jesus sent out…”[1]

Note that:  Jesus sent them.  They didn’t volunteer.  They didn’t step forward and humbly offer their services.  They were “TAPPED OUT!”

**For the rest of the ministry principles given in "Tapped Out," listen to very special message given on 7/17/11.  Use the MP3 player to the right.  

[1] Matthew 10:5

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