Sunday is a day when most Christians learn lessons from sermons that will help them to live lives that will glorify God. Yesterday was such a day for me. It wasn’t necessarily the sermon that did it for me though, it was a lesson I learned while on the way to church.
We managed to get out of the door and on our way to church with a little time to spare. We were cruising down 1604 doing 70 mph when I spotted a car on the shoulder of the road. Before you ask, yes, I was doing the speed limit. Highways in Texas are fun. I saw their hazard lights on and as we passed, I saw an older lady getting out of the car and a young lady (teens maybe) fiddling with a car jack. It looked like the left rear tire had blown out.
Immediately the thought went through my mind, “Maybe they need help?” Then the next thought came to mind. “You’ll be late for church and will get dirty.” I kept going back and forth in my mind as to what I should do. The next exit was coming up fast. Should I exit and turn around or should I continue on my way?
I passed the exit and started to feel guilty right away. We were almost to church, had some extra time, but for some reason, I hesitated. I know! I’ll pray for them. That’ll do the trick. Praying for people is the spiritual thing to do, isn’t it? As I prayed for them, the thought came to mind, “What if they don’t get that tire on right and the whole thing comes off while they are driving down the road?”
That did it. All I needed to see on the news last night is a story about the death of two ladies whose spare tire flew off, lost control of their car and were creamed by a bus full of kids on their way home from summer camp… all because I didn’t want to get dirty and be late for church. I announced to Becky, (who had no idea about the inner conflict I was having) that I needed to turn around. I explained the situation and the conflict within myself. The kids asked why we were turning around. I explained that I saw someone on the side of the road who may need our help, so we were going to turn around and help them.
Our daughter exclaimed, “Yea, we are going to do the right thing!” Uggh, dagger in the heart. At this point, I sure didn’t feel like I was doing the right thing. As we pulled up to the car, we noticed that someone else in a truck had already pulled over to help. The flat was replaced with the spare tire and both the car and truck were looking to merge into the traffic lanes. They were probably wondering what the idiot in the car behind them was doing on the shoulder of the road with his hazards flashing.
As they drove off, I was extremely honest with our kids and tried to explain to them that I didn’t want to do the right thing. It was only because of my guilt that I turned around at all. I’m not sure they understood what I was talking about.
Once we got into church, Robert, our pastor started talking about how he and his wife had to get use to their newly emptied nest at home. Their youngest left for college last week and is now on his own. Robert taught through various Proverbs about raising children. He also mentioned that he started writing a book about parenting. His proposed title is, “Parenting- From Conception To Empty Nest.” He promises that the part about conception will be really fun.
At the end of his lesson, Robert had the media folks play a song that he thought capsulized the responsibility and importance of being a good parent and role model. It is a country song by Rodney Atkins titled, Watching You. I had to suffer through the country “music” but the lyrics are awesome.
Driving through town just my boy and me With a happy meal in his booster seat Knowing that he couldn’t have the toy Till his nuggets were gone Green traffic light turned straight to red I hit my breaks and mumbled under my breath As fries went a flying and his orange drink covered his lap Well then my four year old said a four letter word That started with “s” and I was concerned So I said, “Son, now where did you learn to talk like that?”
[Chorus one] He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are We got cowboy boots and camo pants Yeah we’re just alike, hey ain’t we dad I wanna do everything you do So I’ve been watching you
We got back home and I went to the barn I bowed my head and I prayed real hard Said lord please help me help my stupid self Then this side of bedtime later that night Turning on my son’s scooby doo nightlight He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands And spoke to God like he was talking to a friend And I said son where’d you learn to pray like that
[Chorus two] He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand Yeah we’re just alike, hey ain’t we dad I wanna do everything you do So I’ve been watching you
[Bridge] With tears in my eyes I wrapped him in a hug Said my little bear is growing up He said but when I’m big I’ll still know what to do
[Chorus three] Cause I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are Then I’ll be as strong as you and superman We’ll be just alike, hey won’t we dad When I can do everything you do Cause I’ve been watching you
Uggh, uggh. Double-dagger. I couldn’t help but think about this song in light of my actions, rather, non-actions from earlier in the morning. I decided that on the way home from church I wanted to try again to explain to our kids why I didn’t do the right thing. I tried to explain to them that delayed obedience is immediate disobedience. If God is leading us to pray, then pray. If the Holy Spirit guides us to help someone, help them now. Sure, prayer is fine, but it should not be used as a substitute for complete obedience.
The thing I hope they (and I) remember most is that we should not hesitate to do good. I’m sure the ladies got home safe that morning. I am glad that there was someone else who did not hestitate to do the right thing.