Mossy Butts

Author: Hunter S. Thompson

Author: Hunter S. Thompson

After opening the service in our small college chapel with the usual formalities, our guest speaker, an old man with a weathered face stepped to the podium. He wasn’t smiling as he began. “Most of us,” he said, “have moss growing on our butts.”

There was a collective, gasp from the conservative faculty and student body. I am certain the word “butt” had never been uttered within the walls of that little chapel. One of the deans rose halfway from his metal folding chair—then sat back down.

The speaker continued. “The moss grows and spreads to the benches where we sit because we never take action. We end up sitting in the same spot for years, asking God for some kind of sign.  “If you want me to do something Lord, open a door and I will respond.’

“Over the years,” the man continued, “the moss grows thicker as we wait for the door to open.” The dean was standing now.  I’m sure he was wondering how to end all this mossy butts talk.  But, the old man wasn’t trying to be gratuitous—he was making a powerful point.

Then we saw a mischievous twinkle appear in his eyes. “My life,” he continued, “has been filled with excitement and adventure. My life has been like a whirlwind ride in a powerful speed boat.” Now his eyes danced with fire. “I’ve trusted that all along that I was born to serve. I’ve used common sense faith in Scripture and prayer as preparation and I’ve never slowed down. I’ve driven my speedboat at full throttle, testing every opportunity crying out as I raced along, “Lord, If you don’t want me in there, you better shut the door!”

The old man flashed a full beaming smile as he turned his back to us and exclaimed, “Look—there’s no moss growing on my butt!”

I’m sure there were some people who thought this man was crude. Some may have dismissed his choice of illustration as the inappropriate ramblings of a senile mind. But he caught my imagination that day.

His mind was not senile. He hadn’t lost his bearings, but he described people who have done so. This elderly missionary convinced me the call is already in place. The next step of faith is to MOVE!!!  I just might have those words engraved on my tombstone.

Ken Davis

Lived Moss Free

Died Going Full Speed Ahead

When is the last time you did a moss check?

When is the last time you stepped out your comfort zone?


  1. Great post, Ken! I especially liked your engraved tomb idea. I want to be remembered as someone who lived beyond my comfort zone instead of just always playing it safe.

  2. Powerful illustration, Ken. Who would want moss growing on our butts? It’s much more enjoyable to live the adventure. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared inadvance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We have work already prepared for us to do. Now we need to get off our butts and do it–living fully in Christ!

  3. I love it!! And its so true. God has used me and blessed me in the past and by his strength I have stepped out of my boat and serve in ways I didnt think I could. But I have failed and quit on God sometimes thinking I couldnt go on because I wasnt worthy. Now I am trying to do my best in the areas God has me but afraid to listen to him and step out again. I know he has more for me to do. Praying the rest of ny life I can live more as you say “fully alive” Thanks Ken for all you do for the Kingdom! Marty from MinneSNOWta

  4. Ken, I can’t help but wonder if you and Mr. Bob Goff conspired against me this morning. First, Mr. Goff tells me to take of my shoes, pick a fight, and run barefooted towards it. Then, you go and kick me in my mossy butt!
    Wonderfully encouraging story, Ken.

  5. GREAT Illustration! Reminds me of the sobering statement, “Life’s not a dress rehearsal”… THAT one REALLY spoke to me in High School when I first heard it! For me at the time, it translated as, “You only get ONE Chance at life and this is the REAL DEAL! Your days & hours are limited so lose the inhibitions, give it your best shot, and & get on with it already!”

    I have to admit, I’m a bit of a procrastinator & perfectionist (especially when I was younger), but as the passing years have increased my confidence & reference of experience, I HAVE overcome a good portion of my inhibitions, and better know how to dip more than my Big Toe into the pool.

    It’s been a journey though… a process, I think, we all have to muddle through & overcome in order to grow, hit goals, & become what God wants us to be ~ and that takes time. I think He sometimes allows those “delays” in order to accomplish that, but I also believe He gives us cues when it’s time to stand up & step out ~ we just have to learn how to recognize them, then muster up the courage to listen & act on them.

    I guess the bottom line of reality is,…
    however daunting or scary the responsibility, our job is to figure out how we fit in, what our contribution is, and how to successfully execute it.

    The best way I’ve found to tackle that is to pray about it, get yourself educated, hone your skills for your life’s passion, then release your “creative balloons” into the air and let the rest take care of itself.

  6. I absolutely loved this refreshing perspective! The “moss on our butts” metaphor might have raised a few eyebrows, but it packs a powerful message about taking initiative and not idly waiting for opportunities to knock. The wisdom of this elderly missionary is a valuable reminder that our calling is already within reach; all we need to do is embrace it with faith and action. It’s like how taking a ssea moss supplement can proactively boost our health – decisive steps pave the way for positive results. As the joke goes, “the only moss that I allow in my life.” Such a memorable lesson!

Leave a Comment