This morning I pulled out of the driveway and started through the pre-dawn darkness on my way to the coffee shop. But just a block down the street I noticed a very ugly and annoying sight. It was a “gross gathering” of 15, maybe 20 trash bags piled up at the curb. In a few of them, the contents were overflowing into the street and yard. Making it even worse, I knew this yucky pile of trash had been there for several days already and, with garbage day not until Saturday, it would be there for quite a while longer. As a matter of fact, because of new limitations, it’s going to take a few weeks before this stuff gets hauled away.
It was a really offensive, maddening mess.
However, here’s the more important thing. In paying attention to my neighbor’s heap of refuse, I myself came way too close to driving into a truck that was parked on the curve across the street. Looking at my neighbor’s unsightly example of irresponsibility nearly created my own (and more costly) example of irresponsibility. Yipes.
The morals of the story? They’re uncomfortably obvious, aren’t they?
1) There is danger in distractions. Oh sure, I “pride myself” in my attentive driving and I studiously avoid devices or practices that might in any degree lessen my concentration when behind the wheel. And yet, here I was this morning, driving in a dark neighborhood with my eyes focused NOT on where my vehicle was heading, but on a point off to the side where my mind was stuck. That distraction was only a couple of seconds but it almost cost me (and the owner of the parked truck) big time.
And 2) As soon as I straightened out my car, the Lord made a second point very clear to me; namely, “Don’t be so occupied by another man’s trash that you fail to perform your own duty. Because, when it comes down to that, Denny; you’ve got enough of your own rubbish to clean up!” True, my “trash” may not be piled up on the curb for all the neighbors to sniff at and criticize, but I’ve certainly got my own “sanitation” duties to accomplish. Now, this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t justified in believing that my neighbor’s actions are wrong. They most certainly are. Nevertheless, my priority must always be to take care of my own business first and foremost.
So, I drove on to the Paradise Cafe deeply grateful for the grace Christ had poured out. For He taught me a clear and memorable lesson this morning without requiring me to smash up my car in order to learn it. Thank You, Lord. Now, I ask You to help me to extend the applications of that lesson to all the areas of my life where it’s needed. Amen.