I live in a small rural area. Most traffic goes right by us on the highway, but we also have a low road for the sparse local traffic. In the early mornings a few residents of the area, including my husband and me, like to walk this low road, enjoying the quiet and the exercise.
For the past few weeks, the county has been doing roadwork on our little street. They are redirecting a wash in the hope of preventing future flooding. That means the low road is closed to through traffic as they dig up the pavement, put huge pipes in the wash, and do all manner of work.
On the weekends, the walkers are free to walk through the work area since the workers aren’t there. But, during the week when they are running their heavy equipment, it isn’t safe to walk through and we have to find another route to get in our walking time. At least, most of us do.
There are a couple who are tired of waiting for the work to be done. They ignore the signs, the heavy equipment, and the workers, and walk right through the area under construction. After all, this is their road and it’s their right to walk where they want. What’s wrong with that?
I struggle with this way of thinking. To me, it seems so self-centered. Yes, I’m tired of having my usual walk area interrupted, but there are the workers and safety concerns to put ahead of my wishes. Every time someone walks through the area, the workers have to stop or at least watch carefully to make sure no one is in the way when a piece of equipment is moving. This puts the walker and the workers in danger.
I see a correlation between this small defiance and what our world has been going through with the pandemic. We are all tired of staying home. We are all tired of wearing masks. We are all tired of not seeing family or friends—of not being able to interact with those we love. We are tired to the point where some people are walking past those restrictions and putting themselves and others in danger.
Now, I get it. I really do. Masks are suffocating. It’s hard to breathe. Glasses steam up. It’s hard to talk and make yourself understood. On the other hand, I don’t wear a mask as a fashion statement, or for my health and safety. I wear one for the safety of those who might be immunocompromised. The same goes for staying home and avoiding crowds. I abide by this because I care about others, not myself. I know many agree in this respect.
“Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
John 15:13 (NKJV)
Jesus’ words to his disciples are so true. Throughout history, many have willingly laid down their lives for the good of others. But, what if He’s not talking only about a physical life, but about our rights? What if laying down my life for another means giving up my right to what I want when it means endangering those around me? What if, in doing so—in surrendering self—I am being an extension of Jesus Christ to those in my world? What if instead of demanding our rights, we think about the other person’s needs?
What if I’m becoming the hands and feet of Jesus by surrendering self in this way? And, what if we all did this—put others needs ahead of ourselves?
Consider laying down your life today. You will bless those around you.