Atchison is Raking Leaves in the Wind

September 6, 2017

Man standing at a podium talking
Delvin Atchison, Director of the Great Commission Team of the Texas Baptists, addresses faculty, staff and students during the Willson Lectures chapel on Wednesday at Wayland Baptist University.

PLAINVIEW – The audience sat in rapt attention as Delvin Atchison, Director of the Great Commission Team for Texas Baptists, addressed students, faculty and staff during the Willson Lecture series held at Wayland Baptist University on Wednesday. He used the platform to build on Wayland’s #BeTheSolution emphasis that seeks to answer the questions of how education and faith can affect social issues.

Atchison told a story about a college friend of his who worked with the grounds crew. One day while raking leaves, the wind picked up and started to blow. As he stood leaning on the rake he was challenged by the dean who said the secret to life was learning to rake leaves in the wind.

Turning to Ecclesiastes 11:4 Atchison summarized by saying that if someone waits for perfect timing, he or she will never get anything done.

“How can I make a difference?” he asked. “Learn to rake leaves in windy weather.”

Atchison said the first step in learning to rake in the wind was to understand that there are no perfect people.

“God uses broken people to minister to other broken people,” he said. “We need to celebrate the common humanity of all mankind.”

In dealing with peoples’ difference Atchison said he prefers to take the salad approach in which everyone’s differences add to the overall flavor. The blood of Jesus, he said, is the dressing that ties it all together. Once people understand how each part adds to the whole, then people will begin to appreciate the differences in others.

“Part of being the solution is to understand that you are made in the image of God,” Atchison said. “When you understand that, then you will start helping others.”

The second step in learning to rake leaves in the wind is to understand that there are no perfect perceptions and no one knows everything. While some people think they know everything, Atchison said it is understanding the no individual is as great or knowledgeable as the collective group. He said it is important to understand that people may need to risk something in order to learn from others.

Atchison’s third key to learning to rake leaves in the wind is learning that there are no perfect predicaments.

“The timing is never right,” he said. “Don’t get trapped into not making changes.”

He said if people wait for the perfect timing, they will accomplish nothing. He used the Biblical examples of the three men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6), the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15), and the death of Jesus to show that in the worst of times, the power of God shines through.

“Don’t wait for everybody to love everybody,” Atchison said. “But in the face of a broken world, learn to rake leaves in the wind.”

Atchison also addressed a gathering of faculty and staff over lunch, and participated in an afternoon panel discussion where panel participants spoke about dealing with social issues such as racism and marginalization.