Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow let’s go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit.” (James 4:23 WEB)
Yesterday I had everything planned. Our son, Evan, is one of the lead roles in the spring musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I was recruited to manage the sound system needs. It’s one of those good relationship efforts between the mission and the school. Besides, I enjoy it and it gives me a chance to see the play multiple times without buying a ticket! Of course, my able-bodied assistant, set designer and wife, Beth, must be with me otherwise I couldn’t slide the potentiometer up and down properly.
I put things in order at the office, told the folks in the office I was off for the afternoon and headed to the car. Along the way I picked up a wooden ladder, another prop for the play, some shoes for Evan and high tech pink noise generator and spectrum analyzer to adjust the sound system to the room characteristics. It really impresses the High School students when you make a loud noise in the speakers while walking about the room with a funny looking device making measurements.
I drove through the beautiful city of Perchtoldsdorf, onto the Autobahn, through the interchange onto the main highway north. There it started. Traffic was creeping along. For thirty minutes I sat, I rolled a few feet, I sat, I rolled a few feet. Five hundred meters in 30 minutes. This was ridiculous. I was going to be late. It was all planned. The tests, the equipment, the timing. It was only two in the afternoon! What was the problem.
For the first fifteen or twenty minutes I listened to the radio. The traffic report informed me there was a traffic jam, as if I couldn’t figure that out. Then I started to fidget, and my halo slipped as I started to get mad at the traffic jam. I felt I had a little justification. I don’t know about you but I always feel justified. I’m wrong but at the time I think I am right.
Eventually my forward crawl came to a halt. People started getting out of their cars and standing on the side of the road. It was totally stopped. I climbed out to enjoy the sun and regain my composure and try to re-affix my halo at the proper slant. It was then I noticed, about ten cars ahead of me, a helicopter. I didn’t hear it arrive because of the traffic noise. This was a major accident. Someone was so seriously injured a helicopter was called to whisk them off to the hospital.
About twenty minutes later I watched the bright yellow helicopter take off toward a hospital. Within a minute I was in my vehicle and back on my way. The road ahead was clear after such a long stoppage.
As I drove away I felt convicted. I was concerned about what I wanted, where I needed to be and how the world around me was impeding my progress. The traffic made me angry at the thought I might not arrive in time. But, in the middle of the highway someone was in trouble. Someone was seriously injured. Someone needed help and all I could do was think of why I was late.
This, someone, is one of the people our ministry seeks to reach. He, or she, is a person for whom Christ died. He, or she, is someone in need of salvation like me, like you, like all of mankind. Instead of being concerned for their well-being I was concerned about my frustration. I’m sorry Lord. My eyes were on the goal, not the one who called me to the goal.
Next time I’m stuck in traffic, or the next time you’re stuck in traffic, it might be good to consider who is at the front of the line. Injured or just slow they are in need of a savior. And, I still arrived on time!