Sunday, January 7, 2018

Much, Much Too Busy For You

"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you." 3 John 1:5 (NIV)

Running late, I ran back through the rain and into my house to grab my purse and phone. On the sprint back to my van, I noticed a man by the side of the road bent over the hood of his van, phone to his ear, rain sliding down his utility coat. 

Poor man must be soaked I thought, backing out of the driveway. Hopefully he'll find some help soon.

I looked over one more time to see him pacing back and forth in front of the van, talking furiously on the phone.

I knew what I should do but it was raining. I was late to work. I had a million other things to get done today. I just didn't have the time.

Do you live like this? Rushing here and there, always running behind, trying to get everything done with no time left to spare? No time left for anyone or anything but your to-do list?

I find myself in this position a lot. Not because I want to be there but somehow I seem to end up there, more often than I would like. And this day in particular, I was most definitely there.

When my kids were little, they loved to watch Veggie Tales. One episode was a retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan. As both asparagus walked by the stranger laying hurt on the road, they sang this song:

"I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You've no idea what I have to do.
Busy, busy, shockingly busy
Much, much too busy for you."

The word 'Busy' seems to be the theme song of our world right now. Ask anyone, especially a woman, how she's doing and most likely she'll reply, "Oh, busy." And the person asking the question will probably reply with a nod of her head and a "Me too".

In  3 John, we find a letter written by the apostle John to encourage his friend, Gaius. John heard how Gaius was generous, showing hospitality to Christian sisters and brothers who were traveling missionaries needing help and a place to stay when they came into town. For Gaius, hospitality to the stranger was his habit, and his reputation for friendliness had spread, so much so that John wrote to commend him. 

Gaius stands in stark contrast to another leader mentioned in the letter, Diotrephus, who refuses to welcome the traveling missionaries of the time.  He not only refuses to help them, he tells others not help them also. 

The people we come across in our day may not be traveling missionaries but the theme of 3 John should cause us to ask, how do we see the stranger among us? As someone to welcome in with generosity and kindness? Or as an annoyance or an inconvenience?

On that rainy day the stranger on the side of the road was initially an inconvenience. I was busy and had things to do. Thankfully, God caused me to pause and rethink my hurriedness. 

Pulling my hood on tight, I put the van in park and walked over. 

"Do you need help?" I asked. 

He nodded vigorously and pointed his beat-up phone in my direction. "My son," he said, "my son."

No english. No idea where he was and no vehicle to get him to work. His son interpreted for me. I wrote directions on the scrap of paper he pulled from his pocket, rain smearing the ink as I wrote. 

"Thank you, thank you," he nodded as we parted. 

I hopped back into my van. I wasn't late for work. I still got done all that needed to get done that day. And I had a lot to reflect on and pray over because of a certain stranger by the side of the road.

This New Year let's determine to reflect Christ in how we treat the stranger among us. May we stop our hurry to open our hearts, our minds, maybe even our homes, so we can touch others with His love.

This post is also over at Getting Real Ministries. Please head over there and check it out!


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