Which Disturbs me More?
The other day I recalled an interesting situation that happened a long time ago when our children were young. Funny how something one has not thought of in years, can suddenly come to mind. At such times I often figure God might be trying to teach me something. Here’s the story:
Another family was visiting at our house for a few days. Our friends’ children and our kids were having a great time playing outside together. All of a sudden one of the guest children ran over to our middle son, who was riding his tricycle. The visiting child loudly ordered our son to get off the bike so he could have a ride. When our son refused, the guest grabbed the handlebars and tipped the bike, causing our son to tumble onto the pavement. The other boy promptly jumped on the trike and rode off with our son yelling.
My husband John had witnessed the whole incident and rushed over to console our son. The other father had also seen what transpired and did nothing to correct his child. John took little Timothy aside and spoke quietly with him, “What your friend just did was very unkind. I know that you were on the tricycle first and it was not nice of him to take it from you like that. But actually, the family will soon be leaving and you will be able to ride the rest of the day. Maybe this is a time when you can return good for evil, just like Jesus taught us to do.”
Without another whimper or word of complaint, Tim wiped his eyes and ran off to play with something else. John congratulated himself on our son’s self-control and good attitude.
Our guests did, in fact leave shortly after this incident. Later that afternoon John had to run to a store and asked Timothy to ride with him. They parked in front of the store and John, who is always prone to notice vehicles, took note that they were parked next to a big old Cadillac. They went into the store to make their purchase. When they returned to the car just a few minutes later, John was dismayed to see the passenger door of our vehicle. Evidently the driver of the Cadillac had opened their door into the side of our car, making a nasty dent and scratch. Of course, by now the Caddy was gone, so there was no way that John could speak to the owner about the damage. He began fuming and muttering under his breath about how inconsiderate, irresponsible and selfish some people can be.
He told me later that at that moment he became aware of the Lord speaking to him… a quiet whisper which came to his thoughts… “John, earlier today you instructed your son as to how he should respond when he suffers unjustly. But right now is when he will really learn that lesson. He will see how you respond when something of yours is rudely taken from you.” John simmered down immediately, put a smile on his face and chose to forgive and even prayed a blessing on the driver of the other car.
I had forgotten about that incident until last week when I was sorting through some old papers of my father’s. The following article, along with the memory of that long-ago Saturday, made me take an inward look at my own priorities. What things disturb me? And what does that tell me about the state of my own heart? It has served to be a good reality-check and is helping me stay alert to ways I need to be reacting more like Jesus. Perhaps it will do the same for you.
Which Disturbs You More?
A soul lost in hell or a scratch on your new car?
Missing the worship service or missing a day’s work?
A sermon ten minutes too long or lunch half an hour late?
A church not growing or your garden not growing?
Your Bible unopened or your newspaper unread?
The church work being neglected or housework neglected?
Missing a good Bible study or your favorite TV program?
The millions who do not know Christ, or your inability to keep up with your neighbors?
The cry of multitudes for bread, or your desire for another piece of chocolate cake?
Your tithes decreasing or your income taking a drop?
Your children late for Sunday School and church, or late for a game?
Which really disturbs me more?