Stop stepping over your family, Day 11
Today’s reading is drawn from Luke 10:30-37.
The woman at the other end of the phone was furious. Her husband had, for many years, handled the family’s finances foolishly, and she had just discovered a whole bunch of needless expenditures. “We’re broke again,” she wailed. “And I’ve had it with Sid,” she added.
Over the next several months I met with Sid. As we talked, I discovered that runaway spending wasn’t his only problem. In fact, the money thing was only a symptom of a much bigger problem. Sid would see something he wanted to accomplish, he would focus on this goal, and then he’d ignore everything else . . . his wife, his family, his health, his chores and his friends. He was on a personal, selfish mission and could not be distracted!
“Do you know what my problem is?” Sid finally admitted one day over cheese enchiladas. “I have a problem seeing.” “I didn’t know you needed glasses,” I replied, not having any idea where Sid was going. “No, not a problem with my eyesight,” he returned. “I have a problem noticing things . . . paying attention enough to see what’s going on with anyone else but myself. I’m so focused on tasks and goals that I’m stepping over the people who love me most.”
This is exactly the message of the Good Samaritan. The Levite and the priest were each fixated on their goal. They were focused on what they had to do: taking care of the temple and leading the people in worship. Two extremely worthwhile assignments, wouldn’t you agree? So when they saw the injured man on the roadside, they didn’t really see him. They saw themselves and their own tasks first, and since these jobs were so important, their eyes looked past the person in need.
This story is about American dads . . . . We’re on a mission, and we’ll not have our attention diverted. We are, after all, hope-filled winners in the game of life, and we intend to keep winning.
Except for one thing. All of this striving to complete our tasks is actually absorption with ourselves. . . .
The priest and the Levite had extremely important jobs. God was a full-time job for both of them. But Jesus was telling his disciples — and this includes you and me — that even God-jobs are no excuse for missing those who are lying at our feet . . . our first priorities . . . those who need us even more than the Samaritan needed help from these two. Wow, what a lesson.
By the way, Sid and his wife worked it out. They actually separated for several months, but Sid’s wife allowed him to come back to his house for dinner nearly every day. His assignment was to do the dishes. In no time, Sid’s wife fell madly in love with her man with a dishrag in his hand. She fell in love again with a man who stopped stepping over her.