Saturday, April 9, 2011

the samaritan

The shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line.

I plan out the morning.  I remember to pack snacks and diapers and a change of clothes.  I put the little one down for a nap at just the right time so she can sleep enough to make it through the afternoon's activities.  I put on his shoes and socks.  I bring hers but don't bother putting them on.  We hop in the car and go.  We have plans.  We are on our way to point B.

How often do you look along the road you are driving down at the gifts God has given you?  Do you notice the blooming trees?  Maybe the billowing clouds?  Do you see the roadkill flattened on the side of the road?  How about the woman standing at the bus stop?  Do you see her?

For much of the past ten years I have tried by my own power to please God.  I thought I was being successful.  I was/am a miserable failure.  It is not until I have learned to humble myself in overwhelming gratitude that I have come to understand what it really means to please Him.  

I used to sing along to the Matt Redman song that goes, "I'm coming back to the heart of worship. And it is all about you...."  I thought I was living for God, but it was all about me before.  It was in my time, by my strength, and under my conditions.  I used to drive down the road of my life thinking I was living for Christ while on my way to a women's Bible study.  I made it a priority.  I planned my morning around that important part of my living for Christ.

But have I been missing something crucial all this time?  Have I been driving down the road with blinders on while I live and serve in a way that pleases ME?  I used to make it all about me but not any more.

In Luke 10, a man asks Jesus what he must DO to inherit eternal life.  The Son of God responds with a story that is arguably the most well-known in all the Bible.  Jesus answers with a question back at him.  As if to say you already know the answer.  But somehow in our heads we think it can't be that easy.  What ELSE must I do?  We read the Bible.  We pray before meals.  We go to church.  We think these are the things God wants us to DO.  But somehow those things are still by our own power.  "What can I DO?" we ask.  "But you know the answer," he says.  What do you mean?  A beaten, naked, half-dead man is lying on the side of the road.  Two (by all intents and purposes) godly men walk by.  They are on a mission.  From point A to point B.  They aren't looking around.  And if they do manage to notice, they don't think that man is part of God's plan for them.  They are headed to Bible study or work or a birthday party.  Their day was all planned out and it didn't include this beaten man on the side of the road.

WHAT?!?!  We all read this story and say, "How could those godly men (the priest and the temple assistant) not help him?  Where is their compassion?  That is just crazy."  But aren't we guilty of this very same thing EVERY SINGLE DAY.  We get in our own little world and we make serving God about us.  But do we look along the road of life and thank God for every moment and every experience and every person in our path?  Or do we huff and puff and react with ingratitude when we come to a red light when we are running late or someone cuts us off in the check-out line.  I need to be somewhere.  I am serving God!  Shouldn't we see that we are His hands and feet and make ourselves available to stop our plans at any time to serve Him wherever the road we are on takes us?


Oh Lord!  Open my eyes.  Open my eyes.  Help me to see.  Use me.  Use me.  Not JUST in the church or where it is convenient.  Show me how you want me to serve you today while on my way to point B.  Give me enough time to accomplish your will for my life every day.  And Father, when I stop on the me to serve wholeheartedly as if I were serving the Lord, not people like it says in Ephesians 6:7.  Don't let me just put a bandage on the need and walk away.  Show me how to go above and beyond for your glory like the Samaritan.

My God, help me die to self and not make my life about me.  Use me for your glory.


AuntieBee said...

Amen! Your words are such a blessing. Keep talking!

Clara Jane said...

I can feel the spirit of our living God in your words. He is moving in you and opening your eyes. Thank you for sharing these thoughts b/c it is all too easy to get caught up in our own little worlds are forget to care for his sheep. After all, when Peter responded to Jesus' question of whether or not he (P) loved him (J), Jesus' command was 'take care of my sheep.' Thank you for sharing this exciting new journey God is taking you on. Look forward to following the journey!