The high school football team was called the Bulls, so the local café in this small Texas town was the Bull Pen. Every morning, the town fathers would gather for eggs, sausage, and news.
Lately, the big discussion was the lottery. It was 57 million dollars. That gave Clay an idea.
Clay was the Justice of the Peace and a notorious prankster.
The night previous, just after they announced the winning ticket number. Clay went to the Diamond Shamrock and purchased a ticket with the winning number. He knew nobody would check the date and time on the ticket. Next morning Clay put the “winning ticket” into his shirt pocket and headed for the café.
“Hello boys,” he said cheerfully as he entered.
“Oh, Hi Clay,” someone said.
“Hey Clay, did you win the Lotto?”
Clay replied, “You know, I haven’t even looked at my ticket yet. Check it out and see. I need to go to the bathroom.”
Clay threw his ticket on the table and went to the restroom where he could hide his reaction.
Outside the bathroom door there was a silence. Muffled numbers being recited. Then an eruption!
“CLAY WON! HE HAS THE WINNING NUMBER!”
The place was bedlam. Someone yanked open the door just as Clay was toweling off his hands. “Clay, you won! You have the winning number! You are rich!”
Clay tried to act surprised, “I am? I’ve gotta go!”
With that, he grabbed his card and rushed out the door.
He laughed to himself as he got into his truck and drove away.
News spread through that little town like wild fire. “Clay won the big lottery. Clay’s rich!”
By late afternoon Clay’s phone starting ringing. People wanted money. People needed help. The fire department called asking if he would donate a new $200,000 fire truck.
The thing was starting to backfire.
It took Clay the better part of the week to squelch the rumors.
People enjoyed the joke a lot more once the punchline turned out to be at Clay’s expense. And Clay learned a powerful lesson. Things don’t always go according to plan. Is that ever true! Ever have a great idea that backfired? Here’s a verse that helps me through those days.
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
That means, we might think we know the best way, but God still in control. Even of the backfires.