Last Sunday we finished a four week series on "The End," and between the last message of the series and an encounter I had at Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon; Ive come to realize that God has been telling me to SLOW DOWN. Between the balance of a job, ministry, family, friends, other relationships, and just the odds and ends that each day entails; its so easy to become so busy with life that we loose sight of eternity or better yet the people around us with dying needs waiting for someone to slow down and tend to them.
Pastor Chris told us a story about a friend of his who said that he was "too busy" for small groups and "too busy" for church. After hearing Pastor Chris's loving response to this man, my life has been challenged in a different way.
Pastor Chris told this man that we're never to become too busy for eternity, we should live our lives too busy for life and what the world has to offer. He proceeded to explain that so many of us have our stock here on Earth, when our hope is in Heaven.....where our treasures are to be stored. Our focus and energy should be directed to Jesus and to Him alone. What a challenge! Especially for someone like me who LOVES to run errands, and is easily consumed with spending time on pointless details that no one else notices or even cares about.
I ran a "quick" errand to Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon to get some groceries to scrounge up a dessert for our "small group" we were having later that night. I had my buggy flying up and down the isle, mowing people over, trying to get what I needed, get back to the house, finish cleaning and straightening up, and to make this dessert.......When I say I was mowing over people, I literally was. I could use all ten fingers to count the times I had to apologize for either smashing into people or for rudely cutting them off to get down the isle. Not to mention it was a Saturday afternoon and apparently EVERYONE does their grocery shopping around 2PM on Saturdays. It was packed and apparently I was "too busy" for people and their traffic......until, I ran into a man (more like RAN OVER this man...literally) who was in a wheelchair trying to push his buggy WHILE wheeling his own wheelchair. I cry every time I think of this encounter. With one hand on the wheel of his chair and the other trying to push his buggy through the chaos, he looked up at me as I nearly collided with him, and gave me the most helpless look I have ever seen. I know this thought had to of been running through his head....."lady, I'm trying! Have a little mercy, patience, compassion, love, understanding, and so on." I stopped in the middle of the isle and wanted to burst into tears. Here I am worried about my little get together, wanting everything to be just perfect, when there are people with deeper needs than my petty need to make a dessert and to have the house perfect for guest.
I walked out of Wal-Mart and once again God began telling to me. Slow down and refocus! And since this encounter, Ive been reminded about the parable in Luke where Jesus explains what it means to love your neighborhood as yourself. He uses the example of the good Samaritan who stopped to help the Jewish man who was robbed and nearly beat to death. For so long, Ive criticize the Priest and the Temple assistant for passing by him. When now, I question myself what would I have really done?? Who knows? The priest could have been "too busy" and in hurry like myself to stop. He may have been in a hurry to preach a message or tend to his family? The past week Ive been asking God to help me slow down so that I NEVER again let the busyness of my life rob me of the love and compassion that HE commands me to have. Jesus said to inherit eternal life we must love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, and strength AND to love your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes we think our neighbor is the people we surround ourselves with everyday.....
And it is! But right after Jesus informs the religious expert that loving your neighbor is more than loving your friend, He proceeds to tell the story of the Samaritan who stopped to help the Jewish man. I believe my neighbor was this man in Wal-Mart just barely making it up and down the isles. I pray I NEVER become "too busy" or better yet I pray God strips me of my self-absorbed tendencies so opportunities like that never pass me by.
Everyday, since Saturday, God has reminded me of this instance in Wal-Mart and pray He always does!