Posted by: pmarkrobb | January 27, 2014

one-for-four

It has been bitterly cold of late … dangerously cold.  My mind has been perpetually fixed on the battle that far too many have, just to stay warm.  I have also been in the midst of a conversation with Jesus for more than a week, about something he said during his “sermon on the mount.”  The conversation started in the darkness of the morning over a week ago, as I turned the key to start my car and noted the external temperature reading … -2!  I sat for a moment and spoke a prayer for those in the direst need who were at that moment suffering in the cold.  I put the car in drive and headed for work.

A block from my place of work, I sat first in line at a traffic light.  As I waited, I caught a small figure in my periphery.  As she got closer, I began to see more detail.  My goodness, what was she doing out in such cold with what amounted to a light zip-up sweatshirt?!  And why was it not zipped?!  The unzipped sweatshirt revealed a McDonald’s uniform.  This was a young woman walking to work … in the snow and cold … and by my quick calculation, she had another couple of miles to walk.  The light turned green and I drove right past her.

A hundred questions assaulted my mind that day.  Chief among them, how could you sit and pray before heading to work and then drive past an opportunity to offer warmth to someone in need of it?

My conversation picked up two days later, as I passed an elementary school very near my work.  The school was closed that day (due again to dangerously cold temperatures) so the neighborhood was unusually empty.  As I neared a four-way stop, I caught a glimpse of a middle-aged woman walking in the street, bundled up in a puffy jacket with a fur-lined hood pulled up over her head to shield her from the biting winds.  Although my foot danced back and forth between the gas and brake pedal, I once again drove on.  “What was my problem?!” I wondered aloud.  What is going on?!  Why did I not stop?  Why did I not at least pause and roll the window down, and extend the offer for a ride?

Several days passed, with random moments of revisiting the two scenes, feeling increasing guilty and continuing my conversation with Jesus.  Then came Friday of this past week, and the crescendo of my conversation with Jesus.  The day began with another opportunity as I drove by a “live” Christmas tree lying in the middle of the street, directly in the path of oncoming traffic.  This time I finally turned back to help … after six or seven intersections, AND someone had already done the job as I arrived back at the scene!  This seemed like the final cruel straw in my repeated failures to be obedient to the words of Jesus that I had read over a week ago.  Read, but must have left lingering on the page, not bound up to my heart, hands and feet in following Him.

My story “ends” on Friday evening as I was returning home after picking up dinner.  As I pulled up to a neighborhood intersection less than a mile from my home, a large sheet of clear plastic was blowing across the road.  My first instinct was to let it blow by so it didn’t get caught under my car as I drove by, but then it finally happened … I put the car in park, opened the door and finally stepped out.  I retrieved the large sheet of plastic, rolled it up and opened my back door to throw it inside.  I had noticed an oncoming car approaching the intersection when I had first stopped.  That vehicle was now beside me as I opened my back door.  The driver slowed, rolled down his window, and proceeded to praise me for doing something “many wouldn’t do.”  I smiled politely and waved as he drove off.

As I got back in my car, I was honestly ashamed.  “Really, God?!”  This is what I finally do … and not as a first instinct, I might add … and you direct someone my way to praise me?!  I should have waved for the driver to stop and told him about the first three times I had the opportunity to help.  I should have told him my “big” act amounted to me going 1 for 4 in my chances to do the right thing.  I should have reminded him that this was just a piece of trash, not a real person … or two real people who were out in the cold and could have used a warm ride.  But as I drove, my indignation turned to thankfulness.  Thankful that the God I serve is unfailing in grace and mercy when I fail Him.  Thankful that the God I love is sovereign in caring for those two women, when I did not.

One-for-four would never get you into the Hall of Fame, but the kingdom Jesus proclaimed is not for career .300 hitters.  The kingdom is for the lowly in spirit, the meek and the broken.  Help me, Father as I continue to read the words of your Son.  Help me Spirit, in the opportunities I have to put hands and feet to my faith.  Help me Jesus, to be a true follower of you.

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. Well said Thanks

  2. It’s good to be reminded of these things, thank you

  3. Having just come in from record breaking cold this morning, my attention is drawn to all the times Jesus has stopped for me – in less than convenient and conducive circumstances. Brrrrr….

    Father, might we better know and enjoy the heart and mind of Your Son. Might we better know the heart and mind we call our own, as You know them. Might these two meet in Your transforming power of light and truth. Might we better know what You mean in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 – “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” That all may see “that this all-surpassing power (to stop and help) is from God and not from us.” Father, continue to remove the veil from our minds and hearts that hinders our knowing You, and sharing You, as the “maker” and “giver” of our ability to reflect Your Son’s glory! 🙂

    Thanks for the conversation and invitation to observe, examine and think! 🙂


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