“You wanna hear a bad joke?” Asked the instructor at last month’s Bellevue KIROS event at Maggiano’s Little Italy on June 12, 2015. The audience groaned as they knew a bad joke was well on its way regardless of how they would respond.
“Jump out of plane without a parachute! Now that’s a bad joke!”
There were actually more courtesy laughs than I would have expected; perhaps it was in his delivery.
Why is this even relevant in a review of Rod Jones speaking about Life Transitions? Keep reading, you are about to find out.
Rod had the perfect life and everything was going according to plan. An entrepreneur at a very young age, Rod showed off his business savviness by delivering papers, mowing lawns, and anything else that would yield a return.
A former collegiate athlete Rod transferred to the University of Michigan where he received his degree in Mechanical Engineering. Success continued as he received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford and eventually an MBA from MIT. Tall, dark, and handsome, Rod had it all. He was the President of Fluke Biomedical Thermography, had a wonderful and supportive wife, two beautiful sons, and although not mentioned, you would assume a family dog.
Rod had grown up in the church, there was no tragedy that he arose from, no awesome rags to riches story, just a good kid that figured out how to be successful. But his picture perfect life was missing something.
It started with his travel schedule while serving as the President of Fluke Biomedical. The time away from his family started to gnaw at him which brought about a complete evaluation of where he was at his life. His daily responsibilities as the President of Fluke Biomedical had sucked his entrepreneurial spirit dry. Was this really what he wanted? Rod prayed for a year about what he should do, you see, problem solving came easy for Rod; yet this problem seemed to get the best of him.
All through life Rod had a backup plan to the backup plan. Stability was important and Fluke Biomedical gave him the opportunity to not only take care of his family but build a future that would care for his children’s children.
“You wanna hear a bad joke?” Rod said with a grin referencing the joke earlier, “while waiting to board the Disney Cruise liner with my family I called my boss at Fluke and gave my resignation.” Rod paused, you could sense he was reliving that very moment in front of all of us. He continued, “I was the one who jumped without a parachute.”
The joke didn’t seem funny anymore. It felt real. Very, very real.
Three things happened immediately for the man who had a backup plan to the backup plan.
- He was humbled
- He sought after God first
- God began to guide him through the unknown.
One Sunday while attending church, Rod’s pastor preached on Luke 8:22-25.
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
The Lord spoke directly to Rod through this passage and showed him that his fear was the same fear that crippled the disciples in the boat. Rod’s life felt very much like a squall with wind and raging waters.
“And you know what?” Rod said to the group as we listened intently, “I didn’t care that I was falling without a parachute.”
Wow. Who would have thought that an unexpected bad joke at the beginning of the breakfast would be used as a metaphor we could all relate to? Rod’s transparency gave us an example that God is bigger than the wind, the rain, raging waters, and an empty knapsack.
Rod learned and shared that with fear there are three options to choose from.
Avoiding fear is impossible, the effort put into avoiding fear is careless. Accept it, and as Rod put it: PRAY THROUGH IT.
What was interesting was Rod admitted that he was hesitant to speak to the group for his ‘journey’ wasn’t complete. Al Erisman, who is responsible for bringing in the speakers for KIROS, assured Rod that an incomplete journey was his greatest testimony and just what we need to hear. How right Al was.
As you may guess someone of Rod’s background and obedience to the Lord would eventually land on his feet and that is just what happened.
Rod is now the CEO/President of Battery Power Systems, a company he purchased this year. Travel is light and his entrepreneurial gifting is being utilized and challenged on a daily basis. Apparently, a parachute isn’t needed when God gives you wings to soar.
Isaiah40:31- but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Join us next month on Friday, July 10, 2015 to hear Eddie Wang share on the role of intergenerational friendship and mentorship in his life, and how this has informed his perspective on what it means to work for Jesus. He will show these mentoring relationships are both biblical and good for business and how they bring value to both parties involved. Eddie brings a unique and fresh perspective on Working for Jesus – An Ongoing Journey from Student to Servant. Register here.