People who have the right of way must help those who don’t.
Have you ever noticed that some people undergo personality changes when they get behind the wheel of a car?
Imagine a sweet little old lady who receives a two-hour pass from the nursing home. She sweetly hobbles on her cane to her 1988 Plymouth, which waits patiently for her in the parking lot. She gets in and starts the motor.
“Va-roooom, varoom!” She revs the motor and squeals out of there.
Let’s follow her in our drone.
Look, there she is shaking her fist at someone in another car. What’s that on the seat beside her? An AK-47! And what’s that she yelling at the man in the other car? Ooh! I didn’t know little old ladies knew words like that.
Anytime she even thinks someone infringes on her rights she goes ballistic.
Finally after two eventful hours of close calls, screams, yells and wild gesticulations she pulls back into the parking lot of the old folk’s home, gets out and gently shuffles back inside. She leaves her AK-47 on the seat. Fortunately it was unused, though a couple of times I was worried.
A Little Help From My Friends
I’ve spent a lot of time in my car during my life and I’ve discovered that if everyone treated driving as if it were a contact sport, there would be more misery in the world. The ones who make traffic flow are the polite ones, who actually cede the right of way occasionally.
When I drive to work I take a section of highway that is super busy. At times traffic stacks up like driftwood in front of a dam. One of the most dangerous moments is when you get on the main road from the access road. Especially when traffic moves freely.
The people already on the highway have the right of way and if someone doesn’t let you in, you may wait a long time. The right of way is theirs. They don’t have to let you in from the side road. You’re just a filthy beggar pleading to be let in.
If you try to force your way in, an angry grandma might ram you or whip out her AK-47 and show you who is in the right.
When I need it, some kind person who has the right of way usually lets me in.
I can’t help thinking how many times in life someone with the right of way let me in.
People Who Let Us In
I remember in 1973 when Pastor Van Horn visited and invited my wife and me to come work with him. We were in a hard place and without that invitation I’m not sure I would have continued very long in the ministry, but Bro. Van let me in.
I once knew a church which sent an old beat-up school bus to pick up poor children (and some not so poor). A lot of them were in tough situations. But, some of the kids who rode that bus have since lived fulfilling lives, helped others and serving God.
Some people let the poor kids in, instead of sitting in their comfortable church, hoarding all God’s goodies for themselves.
Then there was that wife who forgave her husband. She didn’t have to, but she did. She could have shut him out forever. It was her “right of way,” but she let him back in and their lives flourished because he didn’t abuse her generosity. He began to return it.
I know people who give so poor people in other countries can have clean water in their villages. “But we have needs in our country!” How much are you giving to help the poor in your country?
As good citizens of a free country, we scream loudly when someone tries to violate one of our rights. We can do it. The countries and the people who are closest to the heart of God, though, look around and see who is hurting. Yes, I know it’s hard to tell the difference between those who genuinely hurt and profiteers.
But, we’ve got to try.
We try because Someone else who had the right of way, opened the door to us who were excluded and let us in. I think the Lord Jesus is speaking to some of us today. He’s saying we need to open the door for someone who is outside.
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:5-11 The Message)
Entitlement. It’s my right.
I’m entitled by the American constitution or the Declaration of the rights of Man or … because everyone else has it or because someone else has it. We claim our rights. We get mad when we’re entitled to something on this earth and we don’t get it … whew!
But, when the Lord claims His rights on our life …