I recently had a life changing experience. At least I hope my life will be changed by it.
I was building a twenty-six foot retaining wall in my front yard. I needed to rent special saw to cut the concrete blocks. When I picked up the saw, I was told that if I had it back by closing time I’d only have to pay for four hours rather than for the entire day. I was determined to save $35 and get the saw returned within the hourly rental time. I made my last cut, loaded the saw, and headed back to the rental store. I knew that I’d be cutting it close to get the saw back on time.
While driving back to the rental store, I happened to noticed a child running across the fifty-mile per hour, four-lane road. Since this was an industrial area, I thought that it was odd for a child who looked as young as he was to be there. As I passed him I quickly glanced around looking for other children or adults.
“Should I stop and check on him?” I thought. I looked at my watch. “I have two minutes to get the saw back. There must be someone with him.” I convinced myself and kept going to return the saw. When I got back in my car I was still thinking about that little boy. “Why didn’t I stop? What if he was alone? If I hurry, maybe I can find him.”
I drove back and saw him standing on the sidewalk. “Thank God,” I said as I pulled over and got out of the car.
“Hey buddy, what’s your name?” I asked.
“Robert” he replied.
“How old are you?” I inquired. He held up two fingers.
Robert, what are you doing out here?” I asked.
With tears in his eyes he replied “I wanna go home! I want my daddy.”
Right then I realized what I had done. I was so wrapped up in my busyness and my concern about saving a few dollars on a concrete saw that I didn’t stop for a lost child! That is when my life changed.
Another driver stopped and called the police. After talking with the boy, we were able to figure out that he had wandered away from a birthday party at an indoor trampoline park. While the other woman waited with the little two-year old for the police, I drove to the party center where I saw several staffers and a father frantically searching the parking lot. I explained that the boy was found and was just down the road. As I pointed down the road, the police were arriving. Happy ending for the family, not so much for me.
For the next few days, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. What if the boy had tried to go back and had been hit by a car? What is wrong with me that I am so busy that I couldn’t stop to help a lost child? Have I filled my life with so much busyness that I no longer have any margin in my life to stop and help someone in need?
A few days after this I was reading the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and it dawned on me that I was like the priest and the Levite. Busy people with no margin to serve.
First, I prayed for forgiveness. Then I prayed that the Lord would help me with my addiction to busyness. You see, I like being busy. I thrive on it. It’s like a badge of honor to be busier than others. Over the past few weeks, I’ve prayed that God would deliver me from my need to be busy and would open my eyes to the needs around me.
In this time of exceptional busyness, I pray that each of us can leave enough margin in our lives to care for those who may need us most.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” -Luke 10:36-37