Missing the Boat. Alive series, 22

Passing places on one lane wide roads in Scotland 

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matt 7:21-23, NIV2)

While we were in Northern Scotland last year, we discovered a quite unique feature to most of their roads: They were only one lane wide. Yet despite their lack of width, they are considered two-way roads. It's quite an adventure, trust me!

These roads are built on trust. When a driver notices a vehicle heading the opposite way, one of the two has to stop at one of the many alcoves (passing places) on the side of the road to let the other vehicle pass safely. The problem is, even in the passing places, there is barely room for two cars! Though she hadn't been looking forward to having to drive on the opposite side of the road from what she was used to, my wife jokingly stated that remembering which side to drive on wasn't a problem at all--There was only one side to the road!

Interestingly, when a car passes by a stopped vehicle in a passing place, the driver usually gives a wave of appreciation. Not everyone follows these unwritten rules, however, and some, especially tourists, don't even stop. Instead they push on forward, forcing others to back up to the last known passing place. It is truly as if they are saying, "Me first!" I must say that it is quite an experience to trust total strangers. I hope we can all learn to trust one another as the Scotts do on their one-lane roads!

The same is true with how we treat Jesus. We either trust Him fully, or we try to push ourselves ahead and insist on being first.

Remember Judas? "Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. . . They went out and preached that people should repent. Drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." (Mark 6:7,12-13 NIV2)

Wow! Judas, being among the twelve who were sent out, experienced God's power. He, too, had accepted by word to follow Jesus. Deep down in his heart, however, he remained in full control. Life was all about him. This is clearly indicated when a woman named Mary poured expensive perfume over Jesus' feet. Judas was furious! This was a waste of money! Why did Jesus allow this? And he wasn't too quiet about his grumbling, either: "But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 'Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.' He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief (He never had given his heart fully to God.); as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it." (John 12:4-6, NIV2). After all, in his own eyes, he was clearly right, and Jesus was completely wrong!

Judas' heart had never been completely on God's side. His self-interest and desire to remain in control was what mattered to him, and this eventually pushed him to betray Jesus. As long as Jesus could be his Santa, he didn't mind following him, at least from a distance; however this Jesus didn't fit in his personal plans.

Anyone who follows in Judas' footsteps and follows God as long as He acts like a Santa and provides all the things they yearn for, will sooner or later be bitterly disappointed. Life, after all, isn't about us, but rather, about our loving Father in heaven.

There are two kinds of believers:

1. Those who let circumstances dictate who God is.

2. Those who let God be in charge of all of their circumstances.

We either follow God with all our hearts, or we follow our self-interest. Those in the first group know what being fully alive means. They experience God fully, no matter what their circumstances. After all, it's through adversity that we learn to depend solely on our Father who always comes through for us.

Judas lost his opportunity to experience Jesus fully. Just like those who force their way on the Scottish one-lane roads, Judas' ego had been in the way all along. He completely missed the boat.

We either decide to be fully in control, or we let Jesus be at the steering wheel. Only by following Him can we experience Him fully deep down in our heart. Only then will we truly trust Him. After all, even Jesus depended solely on His Father: "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38, NIV2)

"Out of my way, you vipers! Don't you know I have important things to do! This is my road!"

Oh, really?

Rob Chaffart

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