• Today's Daily Devotion
Results, Not Excuses
TRAVER HAD never worked Control before, and hoped I’d direct him elsewhere. As the control sergeant at one of California’s medium-security prisons, I could have ...

RESULTS, NOT EXCUSES

Sergeant Trace Wedel, Badge No. 35123

California Department of Corrections

TRAVER HAD never worked Control before, and hoped I’d direct him elsewhere. As the control sergeant at one of California’s medium-security prisons, I could have made that call. Instead I said, “No, stay. You have to learn it sometime.” Control is intimidating to the uninitiated. I had to set up for that evening’s prisonwide inmate count, while Traver was kept busy handling nonstop radio traffic and phone calls, exchanging equipment between employees going home and those coming to work, and remotely opening entrance and exit doors.

About thirty minutes into the shift, I heard him tell a caller, “I’m sorry, I don’t normally work this job. They usually redirect me.”

After hearing him tell that to three callers I instructed him, “Traver, people don’t want excuses. They want results.” Though he wasn’t too pleased with the conversation, I continued, “People who call for information don’t care about your problems. If you don’t know the answer, politely put them on hold, and ask me. We’ll figure it out together.” The rest of the night Traver asked a gazillion questions, but together we got results. During the evening we began to connect (perhaps he reminded me of myself when I first started), and at the end of the shift I told him he did a good job. As we shook hands and parted I gave him my number, and told him to call me if he ever had questions or needed help.

He called me a week later and told me I’d made him angry when I had said, “People don’t want excuses. They want results.” Then he added, “But, the longer I thought about it, the more I realized you were right. Not just about the job in Control, but about me: I realize my whole life I’ve been making excuses. I really appreciate what you said.” That was the beginning of a fifteen-year friendship. We’ve both had our trials and tribulations, but remained friends. About three years ago he hit rock bottom with his alcohol addiction and finally turned his life over to Christ. He’s been sober and improving ever since.

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My purpose in keeping Traver in Control that night was not for punishment, but to help him grow in his job. He had looked at it as negative, while I meant it for good. Many times we resent where God has us, but the Lord has a reason for it. If we listen, as Traver did, I firmly believe the end result will be worth it.


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