I just had a life changing experience. At least I hope my life will be changed by it.
I’m building a twenty-six foot retaining wall in my front yard. A concrete saw rental was necessary. 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 with two minutes to spare.
While driving, I noticed a child running across the four-lane road. It seemed odd in an industrial area and the child looked young. As I passed him I quickly glanced around looking for other children or adults.
“Should I stop and check?” I thought. “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 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 to help 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.
With this season of exceptional busyness, I pray that each of us can leave 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.”
By Pete Larson
Husband to Lynn, Father of two
Executive Director of Family Fest Ministries