Charlie Brown was a turkey. He fell for Lucy’s ploy time and again. Charlie Brown, truth be told, was the “Thanksgiving Turkey.” Yes he tried, but what he needed to do was to deal with his inner inhibitions and to tell Lucy he was tired of playing her dumb game and playing by her stupid rules. Sometimes you have to CHANGE the rules. So stop playing by the world’s standards. Stop letting those that don’t mean you well dictate the circumstances. Change the rules. Make them work in your favor.
Turkey is sort of an outdated slang term for coward. Now it means chump, sap or sucker. In this case it’s sort of a pun: turkey refers to Thanksgiving as well. Charlie Brown was a coward because he was afraid to change. He was afraid to confront. He was afraid to contend. He didn’t change. So don’t be a turkey. Change the rules. Change the meaning of the word.
In bowling turkey doesn’t mean coward. It means just the opposite. It is a sign of sustained victory. All bowlers know that a “turkey” is three consecutive strikes thrown by a bowler playing ten-pin bowling. There is no recorded derivation of this term but Chuck Pezzana, the historian of the Professional Bowlers Association offers a likely origin. During the Great Depression of the 1930s many bowling alleys began to hold sweepstakes events during the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas offering food as gifts to the winners. The common award for bowling three strikes in a row was a live turkey. If a person accomplished this feat his or her teammates would all shout, “turkey!” letting the proprietor know that the prize had been won.
So don’t be a turkey. Be bold enough to dare to change the rules. John the Baptist changed the rules. When he was born, the family wanted to call him Zechariah Jr., after his father. But Elisabeth said no, and she looked to her husband, Zechariah, for support and confirmation. Zechariah, a mute at the time because of his unbelief, when asked what the child’s name should be, wrote on a tablet “He shall be called John.” As soon as he wrote the prophetic name of this, his son of promise, “his tongue was loosed, and he spoke, blessing God” (Luke 1:64).
Courage comes when you believe God when others don’t and won’t. You don’t get courage to believe, you get courage when you believe. Don’t be a turkey. Don’t be afraid to stand firmly for your faith. Be confident in your theology; be competent in philosophy; and don’t be arrogant in your spirituality. We know that our God is the only wise God, but we don’t have to put others down when the goal is to build them up. So change the rules. Seek ways to share your faith without denigrating or disparaging others.
Don’t play by Lucy’s rules. Don’t be a turkey.