When Sightseeing is not Advised: Crash, Boom, Bang...

There are many beautiful places to explore on this planet of ours. Victoria Falls, with its majestic, roaring majestic waters; the Alhambra , with its astounding running water system from the middle ages; the fabulous Rockies with their numerous lush, blue lakes…

But how would you feel about visiting…the side of the highway? Would this trigger your curiosity enough to encourage you to travel thousands of miles?

No? Would you change your mind, perhaps, based on whether or not there was something unusual on the side of that highway?

Maybe? And what if that "something unusual" were only asphalt and grass! Nothing else! Oh, except for the occasional flapping butterfly or the wriggly worm!

That day last September we encountered three cars pulled over on the side of the highway. The occupants looked to be changing drivers, and all the while, they were chatting with one another, totally oblivious to the mayhem they were creating . . .

Cars on any highway tend to slow down when there is something unusual on the side of the road, and three parked cars fit the bill. The traffic, which was already heavy, immediately slowed to a crawl, and two cars in front of us, who had been speeding more than current driving conditions would allow, swerved off into the emergency lane to avoid hitting the slowed cars in front of them. It didn't help them much, however, as the second car slammed into the concrete divider, and then bounced off into the back end of the first car.

Sandwiched in the traffic jam as we were, there was nothing we could do to help them without causing another accident, and sadly, the "tourists" on the side of the road remained completely unaware of the accident they had caused.

Imagine our surprise to find a rest stop about five miles further up the highway! If the three accident-causing vehicles had only persisted, they could have done their driver changes and had their conversation in the relative safety of the rest stop! How many headaches could have been avoided!

So often we remain totally unaware of the outcomes of our actions. Innocent-looking decisions often lead to the downfall of others! A word has the power to destroy. An expressed opinion can discourage others from persevering. A look can lead into an addiction.

May we pay closer attention to our actions, our words and our attitudes! Let's follow the excellent advice from God's Word:

"Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5-6 NIV);

"They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." (Titus 1:16 NIV)

Our attitude should be as the One we are following: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…" (Phil 2:5 NIV)

What kind of attitude is that? It is one of humility, self-sacrifice and pure love towards others. We are here to serve, not to fill our pockets with self-interest:

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Phil 2:6-7 NIV)

We need to consider the needs of others as more important than our own needs. Only then will we make an impact in this world, especially if led by God's Holy Spirit:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil 2:3-4 NIV)

"Hey, look at that smooth pavement on the side of this thruway! Let's stop and explore it!"

If you stop, do consider the needs of others on the road. Is it wise to stop?

"Ahhh! It can't hurt anything!"

Crash, Boom, Bang!!!

"Oops! Now I see why. Better keep on moving!"

Rob Chaffart

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