Have you ever seen a beach ball with a rubber band tied around the middle? Or how about a belt around the planet earth? If you can imagine those things, you can begin to imagine the horror I threatened to inflict on kids in San Diego.
When I was youth pastor at Central Assembly in El Cajon, CA, I decided to take my youth group to the beach. Now, at that time I weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 430 pounds. That’s right, 430 pounds. I looked like a continent in Nike tennis shoes. I was so fat my blood type was Ragu. When I sat around the house, I sat AROUND the house. I can tell fat jokes forever, I got a million of ‘em. I’ve heard them all, and thought very few of them were funny.
Anyway, I announced the beach trip to my youth group and then casually tossed out this little tidbit of information: “Oh, by the way, I’m going to wear my new Speedo to the beach.”
The silence in the room was palpable. I looked at forty junior high, high school, and college age kids who all wore the same stunned expression. If they had seen the ghost of Elvis eating a Krispy Kreme and singing “Love Me Tender” they couldn’t have looked more shocked.
Finally, one of the junior high kids said, “You lie!”
“No,” I said, “I really bought a Speedo, and I’m going to wear if for the first time in public at our beach trip.”
The kids all looked at each other as if I had said something odd. What was so odd about a man wearing a Speedo? I had been to the beach plenty of times and seen men wearing these little skimpy shorts. Granted, none of them weighed 430 pounds, but a lot of them weren’t exactly models either.
I have never understood the concept of Speedos, or those thong bathing suits either. Every time I see somebody in a thong, all I can think of is the millions of times in my life when I have tried to nonchalantly remove my underwear from that region. No way I would ever put it there on purpose! Speedos are just a little too small to be a bathing suit. Underwear maybe, bathing suit, no.
The beach trip was still three weeks away, so I had three weeks of relentless questioning. “You’re not really gonna wear a Speedo, are you?”
“Yep, they’re very comfortable.”
“Won’t you be embarrassed?”
“Why would I be embarrassed, I see guys and gals wearing Speedos all the time.”
The night of the beach trip I wore sweats and a t-shirt, my usual drive the church bus to the beach attire. As we approached the beach, one of my youth staff came up to my seat and whispered, “Jerry, you’re not really going to wear a Speedo are you? I mean, it’s not decent.”
“I am going to wear it, so just get ready.” I could hardly contain the smile.
We pulled up to the beach, got all the stuff out of the bus, and it was finally time. My youth group stood around, sand between their toes, fear on their faces. I pulled off my t-shirt. The crowd began chanting, “Godsey, Godsey, Godsey.”
I pulled off my shoes and socks. The crowd changed their chant to, “Speedo, Speedo, Speedo.”
With a dramatic flair, I untied my sweats. A couple of the more squeamish shouted “Eww” and turned their heads. The crowd fell silent, the chanting had stopped.
I reached down and removed my sweats to reveal… my usual bathing trunks.
One of the kids shouted, “Godsey, where’s the Speedo? You lied, I knew you would chicken out.”
“Oh, but I AM going to wear a Speedo tonight,” I shouted. I reached down to the waistband of my trunks and pulled out a brand new pair of Speedo swimming goggles!
The crowd began chanting, “We hate you, Godsey, we hate you, Godsey.” Triumphantly, I walked toward the waves, Speedo covering my eyes, and not my ample behind.
Often the things we fear don’t come true. We spend so much of today’s energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33,34
I am learning to focus on today, and today only. God is in control, and my worrying and fretting won’t change anything anyway. So I won’t worry about fat guys in Speedos, or Osama Bin Ladin, the high price of Cheetos or anything else.
Heading to buy a new pair of Speedos (goggles or ?) … Jerry

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