The Legend Of Travis
I have never met Travis. I suppose he is in his thirties now. In 1986 I went to a sales convention in Dallas Texas. Many of the big names of the company were there. One of the biggest was a man named Mike Tuttle. Mike lived in Texas and people at those conventions are always looking for the keys to success. I was no exception and I listened closely as MIke laid out his stories. Mike seemed to be more of a quiet thoughtful guy unlike some who came on like blockbusters in the rah rah mold. Since Mike had enormous success and was making hundreds of thousands of dollars everyone wanted to hear how he did it.
Mike didn’t disappoint. He gave many different ideas of things we might try. He told stories of people he met and things that happened and how he turned ordinary situations to his benefit. Lastly he told a real personal story about his young son Travis. I think Travis was maybe seven or eight years old at the time and Mike and his wife had recently got him involved in a soccer program. It was frustrating to Mike and his wife because they were rooting very hard for their son (as any parent would do), yet Travis was always behind the pack. Everyone could tell that little Travis just wasn’t trying and MIke was frustrated. Game after game the same thing happened. Mike stated that it was embarrassing going to the games because his son wasn’t putting forth the effort Mike desired. While other parents were pleased with their kids efforts and celebrated the wonderful goals they scored, Travis seemed to be slowly trotting way behind the action as if he didn’t care. One day MIke talked to Travis as only a father can talk to his son. He talked to him out of love. “Travis”, Mike began “You just don’t even seem like you are trying out there” he sighed “while the other kids are running for the ball and getting involved and competing, you seem like you don’t care.” “If you would just give an effort out there you would make us very proud.”
Two of the writers of the Gospels mentioned the following parable that Jesus told. You can find it in Matthew 25 verses 14-30 or Luke 19 verses 12-28. It is a parable about a man going on a long journey and entrusting his property to his servants until he got back. He gave each one amounts according to their abilities. To one he gave five talents, to the second two talents, and to the third one talent. A talent was about twenty years of a day laborers wage. One translation talks about bags of gold. In any case the example is about some kind of currency that is valuable and it is left with the servants to manage it until the master returns. After a long time the man comes back and settles accounts. The first servant states “Master, you have entrusted me with five talents I have gained five more.” “Well done my good and faithful servant”, the master states, “you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!” The second servant said “Master, you have entrusted me with two talents and I have gained two more!” “Well done my good and faithful servant” was again the reply. “You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your masters happiness!”
Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Thinking about the parable I wondered what would have happened if there was a loss instead of a double gain in the first two servants accounts? The answer it seems comes from the reply to the third servant. “You wicked and lazy servant!” The third servant made excuses as to why he didn’t put the effort into it. He didn’t want to bring the master back any less than he was given. The first two undoubtedly got involved and took calculated risks to try to gain a profit for their master. My conclusion is that even though the master would have been disappointed with the results, he would have known that his servants made every effort to increase his wealth much like he would have done if he were around. In that light whatever the results he would have known that they took what was given to them and did everything they could to make an increase.
The next game Travis looked like a different kid. Instead of hanging in the back uninvolved, Travis was all over the field. The whole game went on like this as his parents almost had to do a double take to make sure it was their kid! They were so proud of his effort that they were smiling and shaking their heads in amazement! Through the whole game nobody had scored and it looked like the game would end in a tie. Somehow as all the kids scrambled around, the ball ended up far down the field toward the goal. Running after it ahead of the pack was none other than Travis! Travis caught up to the ball and with a swift kick sent it right by the goalie and into the net! His whole team mobbed Travis and everyone celebrated by going to a pizza place after the game!
As they were driving home from the celebration of the win Mike again had a little talk with Travis. “Travis, I want you to know how proud I am of you!” “But I want you to know why I am proud. I am proud of your effort! Your effort was what made it possible for you to score that goal! Whether you scored a goal or not I would have been proud because you tried!”
All of these years later I still remember this story! It’s the legend of Travis in my mind! It’s a story of love and making a father proud. I think the story stayed with me all this time because the truth of the message is so powerful! It isn’t the results that count as much as the effort to achieve the results. Many times however the results have a way of following the effort expended! Our Heavenly Father has given us all abilities and one day he will have us give account. Will we be able to say that we made every effort to maximize all that he has given to us?