Recently, I was cruising down an expressway when a pickup loaded with living room furniture passed me on the right. A second vehicle followed him, with an 18-wheeler after that.
All of a sudden the top item on the pickup’s pile let loose, a square-shaped easy chair upholstered on all sides. It fell off the truck, tumbling end-over-end behind him, heading straight for the following car. That driver stood on his brakes as my lane of traffic flew past, swerving to avoid the chair, ending up on the shoulder.
Behind him the 18-wheeler, which I saw in my rear view mirror, slammed on his air brakes producing a cloud of blue smoke as he veered into the center lane and stopped at an angle. I wondered how many vehicles had hit or bumped each other as a result, and was sharply aware of the split-second choices each driver had been forced to make.
The pickup driver continued on his way, unaware of the havoc he’d caused. If he eventually went back for his chair, the venom awaiting was surely plentiful, not to mention policemen with tickets.
As I continued driving, I thought about that freak accident and the person who caused it by not securing his load. We’ve all met people who travel through life leaving chaos in their wake, damages of all kinds. The question is, might that be me?
Am I careful to speak and do with an eye on what will be left in the rear view mirror? Have I ever gone for a laugh without considering the fall-out for every ear in the room? Have I avoided an uncomfortable social situation when I could have been a blessing? Have I backed away from a demanding conversation without considering another’s need?
If we aren’t careful, we can tumble through life knocking into people and stepping on their feelings like that bulky chair blasted helter-skelter down the highway. And what about God? Do we sometimes do that to him, too?
I wonder if leading a life marked by carelessness, tardiness and messiness might not qualify. I so admire Jesus for never evidencing any of those. He was never confused, never in a frenzy, never disorganized. He lived an intentional, controlled life, and as a result accomplished every good thing his Father gave him to do. He solved problems, touched tenderly, brought healing and spoke love, the opposite of leaving chaos in his wake.
I want to please this same Father, though I know I’ll never perform to the level of his Son. But the question “What would Jesus do?” is a good one. I know what he wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t trample over people, knocking into their feelings like a chair tumbling down the highway.
Jesus “received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17)