Choices & Opportunities
Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. – Luke 10:31
I had just finished making an early morning hospital visit. As I was headed back to the parking garage I realized that if I hurried I could beat the morning rush and be on time for a meeting back at the office.
There was one car ahead of me in line to pay for parking. Because it was early no attendant was at the pay booth. I noticed that the driver in front of me was having trouble navigating the automatic payment system. Though I couldn’t see his face it was obvious that he was confused.
Annoyed at how long he was taking I backed up and drove to the other payment lane. As I drove off I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed that the driver was still trying to figure out how to pay.
As I got on the highway I felt a wave of relief as I realized that I was ahead of the wave of morning traffic. But I also began to feel something else. It was a wave of regret. I had made a choice to focus on my own agenda, and in so doing I had missed an opportunity. An opportunity to help someone in need. An opportunity to die to myself. An opportunity to share the love of Jesus and even meet Jesus in the face of a stranger.
I had acted like the priest and the Levite in the story of the good Samaritan, essentially crossing to the other side of the road to avoid getting my hands dirty, attending to my own priorities. I got to my meeting on time, but had missed a much more important meeting. I had missed an opportunity.
The experience reminded me that even seemingly little choices matter. They open or close the door to opportunity, opportunities for God to use us. And more often than not the choice to focus on our own agenda closes doors.
In a world that seems bent on violence and hatred I dare to believe that every choice matters. I believe that God has created all things in such a way that every thought, action and attitude impacts the world in ways we can’t imagine. And so, I’m praying that the Spirit would guide me to make better choices. I’m hiding these words in my heart, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others”. (Philippians 2:3-4)
What choices will you make today? What doors of opportunity will those choices open or close?
Take a moment to listen to this song, and let the words speak to you.
Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN