Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lessons from the Road

Last week and this week (January 10-31) I find myself driving back and forth to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. I have been taking classes these two weeks as part of my studies for the Doctor of Ministry degree. (I will talk about those studies and degree another time.) Each day I have the pleasure and the pain of driving into the city. Many of you do this day after day. You get up in the morning, get the family ready, either take them to daycare or make sure they are ready to get on the bus and then off you go, into the great expanse we know as "the CITY." I am sure that you have seen all there is to see as you make that commute morning after morning and evening after evening. I will not claim to know all that much about the commuting experience as, on the whole, it has been a good and easy experience. I thank the Lord for that fact.

But you do observe a lot while you are making the commute. I am going to sharing some of those observations for whatever they are worth.

People don't observe the law. Not a surprise to you, nor was it a surprise to me. But the fact remains, people do not observe the law. What is the speed limit? Whatever I want to go. What happens if there is a policeman "clocking" me? I slow down only to speed up after I am past him. People don't use their directional signals unless they feel like it. People talk on the cell phone, holding it to their ear here in Illinois though we are told that is now against the law. People text while driving. People don't wear their seat belts. People don't have their children in car seats. In a nutshell, they do what they want despite what the law says. The lawmakers can make all the laws they want, but the people of Illinois and Missouri (and other states) are going to do what they want, when they want, how they want.

People get upset when they get caught breaking the law. I know, that is a duh statement. Who doesn't get upset when they look in their rear view mirror and see those flashing lights? Who doesn't get upset when they are asked, "Do you know how fast you were going?" Of course I know how fast I was going, why do you ask? I was in a hurry and for you to stop me to ask me that question is just ridiculous, you think to yourself. And people get upset when the policeman pulls them over, when they get a ticket, when they are inconvenienced by this experience.

People don't think they deserve a ticket. "Everyone else was driving that fast." How often that is said to the police officer, I can't imagine. No one deserves the ticket they received. What is a few miles over the speed limit? Why do I have wear my seat belt? Why? Why? WHY? That officer had no right giving me a ticket. (Now I am talking rhetorically here. I haven't received a ticket.)

People are also impatient. They do not want to wait for the person ahead of them or next to them. Each person feels that they are in a bigger hurry than anyone else or they are more important that any of the other drivers, or that their life is of greater worth than anyone else's. Therefore it doesn't matter how they drive, as long as "they" get to their destination quicker and more efficiently that the others on the road. "Get out of my way! I'm coming through!" seems to be the mantra that most drivers follow.

What have I learned? We are a selfish, self-centered people who think of themselves more than anyone else. (There are exceptions to the rule but for the most part, I believe it is true.) We are a people who feel that we are above rules and regulations, a people who deserve to have things go our way in the way we want it to go in the time we want it to happen. We don't like anyone telling us what to do or how to do it.

In the end, I have learned what I already knew - we are sinners. Do you doubt it? Just take a drive to St. Louis, and you will find yourself as a sinner in the midst of sinners doing what comes natural - sinning.

And it is for this reason that we have a Savior.

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